I just read a very interesting article about manipulative kids. http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5167054. I have a world class expert in the form of my daughter so it’s good to get a head start on tactics for defusing situations.
The article suggested that first (step 1) you write the playbook. This lists your kids behaviours and descriptors. Then you share it with them I suppose, if you want to.
In step 2, as they display the behaviours you name them (refer to the playbook). Then you simply don’t engage. It a form of keeping control and teaching them over time how to break patterns. The observing and naming being all that is required at first.
The article doesn’t explicitly state it, but it does imply that there is nougt much you can do about it while they are young. It’s the sign of a clever little smurf using the path of least resistance. And who wouldn’t.
Here is my first draft at a playbook for manipulative behaviours I have seen in my house – my kids and others:
1. The Timely Slave Master. Treating your parents as slaves by expecting them to do tasks for you when you are eating or doing homework so they feel obliged to serve.
2. Feigning illness. Vague symptoms like headaches or growing pains are an excellent way to disorient your parents without having to produce actual medical symptoms.
3. Dramatisation. Creating a drama out of a ordinary circumstance typically involving some personal fear for safety to trigger your parents anxiety response
4. Persistence: asking for something repeatedly until your parents just cave in rather than hear you ask for it again
5. Insisting on equality. Insist that you should be treated as an equal with your parents (ironically this is usually done with childish behaviour), until they cave in for fear of being unreasonable.
6. Guilt them. Sounds like “you don’t love me” or “you don’t want me to have any friends and have nice clothes” until they cave in to your demands
7. Play your parents off each other by withholding information from one and sharing with another.