Do you sometimes have the impression that your child makes you do whatever he wants? Like adults, children and babies can manipulate those around them. Find out below more about children’s emotional blackmail.
1. Children’s emotional blackmail; babies’ blackmail
A baby learns emotional blackmail at an early age. From the fifth month, he benefits greatly from his progress in the field of communication! He discovers the process of causation: "If I do something, I get this result." Therefore, the little rascal learns to cry, observes if someone comes, and starts again if necessary.
Be careful not to get systematically caught up in his game! His crying should not be attributed to teeth or hunger every time.
1.1 He tests your reactions
It is very important for the baby to feel his power over others. From his first months, when he cries in his parents' arms, he feels the emotions he provokes very well. How far to go for mom to hug me? Watch how she turns red if I tell her I don't want to take my bath! Is dad really going to get mad every time I leave my things lying around?
By his provocations and manipulations, the baby wants to test the strength and importance of your reactions! If there is none, he will understand that it is useless to start over ...
1.2 Your limits to build his benchmarks
Do not ascribe to baby intentions that are not his own and that he is probably not old enough to have. No, he doesn't want to act out of spite. Even he doesn’t have any bad intentions towards you. Baby just wants to test you and test himself. He is looking for benchmarks to structure himself. Remember that provocation is the way your kid discovers his own limits. By throwing his plate on the ground, your little one has only one idea in mind: how mum and dad will they react? It's up to you to know how to answer them.
2. Children’s emotional blackmail: child’s blackmail
Although it is difficult for the child to understand what emotional blackmail is, it is practiced since his childhood, and the type of emotional blackmail that a child does is crying. He knows how well his cry affects the feelings and actions of others. He knows that this is the best way to achieve his goal, whether this goal is to get something he likes or to attract his parents' attention. The child may also hug you or kiss you as a form of bribery or emotional blackmail to get what he wants or do something that he knows very well that you don't agree with.
This realization develops as the child grows when he realizes the extent of his ability to influence those around him and relates this to his self-interest and selfishness. You have to know that the child is watching his mother and discovering her weaknesses; if the mother ignores his crying with patience, he will acquiesce to her will, but if her patience becomes an answer to his crying, he will keep crying until he gets what he wants.
Some mothers enjoy subjecting to emotional blackmail and even consider it a kind of sacrifice, so we find them giving up what they love to satisfy those around them. Still, they do not realize that they are misunderstanding the noble sacrifice, and they make selfish personalities who only care about their desires.
Related: Eight montessori activities to entertain children in containment
3. Sulking, a form of children’s emotional blackmail
Sulking is one of the most common reactions of children when they are angry. But they also do it to get something they want. Therefore, we consider that sulking is a strategy of children's emotional blackmail. This is one of the stages that all children will go through. It is, therefore, essential to know what it is and prepare to act accordingly.
3.1 Why do children sulk?
Temper tantrums and sulking are strategies children use to get what they want. They are common in babies because they cannot express themselves. Besides, they find it difficult to recognize their feelings.
Therefore, they employ this tactic when they are feeling angry, frustrated, and sad. Other reasons a child may sulk are as follows:
- They need attention: Many children have passive temper tantrums, in the form of sulking. They do it when they aren't getting their parents' attention. And it gets worse when they don't get it or when they see that their parents are upset with their behavior. Obviously, this can be a clear warning sign that the child needs to spend quality time with his parents.
- An inability to express their feelings: There are children, and even adolescents, who cannot clearly express what they are feeling. They, therefore, resort to sulking. This is a common attitude among infants who have strict and authoritarian parents. Their sulking signals that they are unhappy and want to change the attitude of their parents.
4. Children's emotional blackmail; How to react and not let children manipulate you as parents?
Sometimes it is a small manipulation of the child, it is occasional, and there is no need to pick up. It is better to smile about it. Imagine that someone was spending their time watching you and catching you every time you did something, it would quickly become unbearable. There is no need to exercise permanent control over the child. But if the manipulations on his part are frequent, it is enough to show the child that you are not fooled, calmly without scolding him. Tell him that you understand his way of doing things and that you would prefer him to find other ways to act or to ask you in the future. Besides, why not help him to put it straight. Identifying the problem and trying to solve it with the child is very educational. But beware, children have great analytical skills: if you blame them for their way of acting when you are not clear with this question, you will quickly find yourself in the position of the watered sprinkler.
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Originally published on Live Positively.