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(1ht) my 4 yo dd has picked up some manipulative tendencies and uses them on her brother. I'm not exactly sure how to curb it because I realize where it came from. Let me explain - often when asking the kids to refrain from doing something, I say something along the lines of "if you do X, Y will happen and we won't be able to Z anymore"... like this: "please stop standing on the bin because it will break and then we won't have it to keep toys in anymore", that kind of thing... Dd has turned it into a way of trying to control her brother that goes like this "if you don't do what I want, then I'm going to withhold Y from you." i.e. "if you don't put on this scarf then we won't be able to play trains anymore" (lord only knows why it was soooooo important to her that Ds wears the scarf). i've been trying to explain how speaking like that doesn't really make people want to play with her... it's completely going over her head. And of course, I think she thinks it's the same as the kind of explanation I have done since they were babies.<br><br>
Any suggestions on what I should do? I think I should probably stop explaining the way I do, but then how *do* I explain things? I want the kids to understand that there's a reason I'm telling/asking them to do or not do things...<br><br>
And also, how do I curb this obnoxious behavior from DD in a positive way?
 

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It sounds like when you explain something, that you're explaining what will happen because that's the way materials work...you stand on something fragile, it will break. She's using a similar way but to threaten her brother. If you don't do what I want, then I won't play with you. Unless you've also done that with them, then it's not the same thing. Perhaps try to check her understanding of your explanation if she thinks YOU are going to cause the bin to break, rather, than the bin would break because that's how materials work. Maybe she is viewing your explanation as a threat, so perhaps you need a demonstration for her...with some similar materials but that are inexpensive and easy to clean up. I think kids don't always believe what parents say without viewing it happen themselves. You could also try role playing games using explanations vs. threats, so she can see the difference for herself, and then ask her how a threat feels. But at the end of the day, older kids are usually going to try and get younger kids to do something with the only tools they know...whether it's "fair" or not. So perhaps, you could model for her how to be honest about saying what she wants without threats. "I'd like for you to wear this scarf, because I want to play dress up. We could play dress up together." There are a few Caillou (PBS program) episodes where Caillou wants to play with his sister, or the cat and finds out how to do that so everyone feels good about it...perhaps it would benefit her to watch them?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I've done it manipulatively a couple times. I went through sort of a "dark period" w/PPD for a while. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Regardless, I don't know how to fix it.<br><br>
I'd love to think the calliou episodes would help, and she loves calliou, but both my kids get SO whiney when they watch Calliou that I'm not sure it's worth it.
 

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you know something mama i am really blown away by how smart your dd is. she used something she is familiar with and then turns it around to suit herself. gosh she is totally developing survival skills in the world.<br><br>
arent we all about how to get what we want.<br><br>
i would cut her some slack. seh is only 4 trying to figure out the world.<br><br>
what you can do instead of trying to change her words or draw attention to them, ask her why doesnt she try a different way and see if it works better. for instance why doesnt she say will you put on teh scarf for a few minutes now and play with me and then i will play train with you. kinda negotiations. so she sees both gain instead of only one.<br><br>
mama (((((HUGS))))))) it is human nature to be manipulative. you are not new to it. most of parenting imho is manipulative. you have to struggle really really hard not to be. i have learnt to make two kinds of sentences. one a request and one a command. and i make sure they are what they are and that a command does not come across as a request. request is one where she has the option of saying no or yes. but command is when dd has to do it and there is no option of saying no. do you know how easy it is to form our commands like a request and then get mad coz they are not listening to us.<br><br>
i wouldnt worry too much about this. she is trying to figure out teh world. if you can see it that way then you can focus on the positive and figure out a way to help her. however if you keep seeing it as 'manipulation'(how i hate this word where chldren are concerned) then you will be focusing on the 'bad' all the time. kwim?<br><br>
it is all in teh way we see things. that's how i taught my dd how to share. made suggestions. instead of grabbing that toy out of the hand why dont you give her something in exchange. if she holds on tight still then she is not ready to part with it and you can play with something else for the moment and then try again.<br><br>
little things like these make a big difference.<br><br>
i have had a lawyer in the house since she was 2. everything, everything has to have an argument and a counterargument. i look upon it as life skills that she is developing and usually take it pretty seriously and make her logically think.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Yeah, she is pretty smart. Which makes things difficult for me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> and it's something I'm trying to figure out how to deal with. It just makes me so sad that practically every sentence out of her mouth is trying to control.<br><br>
OH... and the trains game? That's what she wanted him to wear the scarf *for*... and Ds is 2.5 and in a phase where you have to use reverse psychology for him to even give you the time of day, so she was doing a bit of that on him, too... he didn't want to play the trains game (where they both pretend to be trains), at all, really... it was sort of a double manipulation/whatever you wanna call it, I guess?<br><br>
I've been working on helping guide the kids through negotiations, so to speak. It's just sort of gotten me a bit emotionally drained, I think...
 
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