Confronting Manipulative Teenage Behavior
Many parents face the difficulty of confronting manipulative teenage behavior in their children. At Sundance Canyon Academy, we have helped numerous families learn to break the cycle of manipulative behavior. If you are concerned that your teen son’s manipulative behavior is getting out of hand, call us today to find out how our therapeutic boarding school could benefit your family.
Manipulative behavior in teens and tweens is remarkably common. It’s human nature to want to get our way and to test out which methods work best. When children learn positive ways to get what they want, it’s a win-win situation for everyone in the house. However, if children learn that negative behavior gets them what they want, home life becomes a lot more stressful. If your teen has learned how to manipulate you to get what they want, you need to take action and address that behavior.
Common Manipulative Teenage Behavior
When children are little, they start testing out which actions will get them what they want. Our response as parents lets them know what works and what doesn’t. If a certain behavior tends to work for them, they are more likely to continue that behavior in the future. This becomes problematic when the behavior is negative or destructive.
- Throwing a tantrum
Everyone expects a toddler to throw a temper tantrum from time to time. As parents, we know to expect it and we know it won’t be fun while it’s happening. As that child gets older though, temper tantrums can turn from unpleasant to scary. It could look like yelling, breaking things, punching walls, or any other angry outburst.
- Making false promises
Teens sometimes make false promises. They’ll bargain with you but won’t follow through with their end of the bargain. For example, they might promise to cut the grass over the weekend if you let them go out on Friday night. But once you’ve let them go out, they don’t follow through with cutting the grass.
This could include saying that you don’t love them if you don’t let them do something. It could also include saying that they’ll get mocked at school if you don’t let them do something. They want you to think that by not giving in, you’re making their life worse and you don’t love them.
- Playing the parents against each other
Whether you are still in a relationship with your teen’s other parent or not, teens know how to play one parent against the other. If they know that one of you is more likely to give in and give them what they want, your teen can use that to their advantage.
- Wearing you down
Some children learn that you’ll give in if they keep asking you the same question over and over. It can become draining to have to say no repeatedly! If they learn that they can wear you down, they’re more likely to keep asking.
Retaliation can be the hardest to deal with at home. If you have to worry that your teen might try to get back at you if you don’t give in to what they want, home life can become frightening and extremely stressful.
How To Confront Manipulative Teenage Behavior
There are a few strategies that you can use to help your teen stop using manipulative behavior to get their way.
Encourage direct behavior
Help your teen learn that they can get what they want by being direct with you rather than trying to be manipulative. When you’re both open to having a conversation and are willing to work together to get what you want, life is a lot easier.
Set and hold boundaries
Set clear boundaries around what is and is not allowed in your house and hold to those boundaries. If your teen starts to learn that no means no and that you won’t give in, they are less likely to keep using manipulative behavior.
Ask for help
If your teen’s manipulative behavior is out of control, ask for help. Some forms of manipulative behavior can be scary, and you might not be able to control the situation on your own. If that’s the case, contact professional counselors who can help you address the situation.
The therapists at Sundance Canyon Academy are trained to help teen boys address their manipulative behavior and learn positive ways to get what they want in life. Call us today for more information about our school.