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Top Three Ways Teens Manipulate Parents: Part I
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Friday, January 09, 2009

Recently, I had the opportunity to have 15 teens from a Drug and Alcohol outpatient program tell me what were the most effective ways to get their way with their parents. Their answers might surprise you. This article is presented in five parts:

Part 1 – How Teens Manipulate
Part 2 – Approaches to dealing with Lying
Part 3 – The Guilting of the parent
Part 4 – An approach to the teen that does good things temporarily.

Part 5 - The Top Three Ways Teens Manipulate Parents: Conclusion-Part V

Part 1 – How Teens Manipulate

First of all we divided the teens up into three separate groups. Also, one parent sat in each group. We did not allow a parent to sit in a group in which their son or daughter was already sitting. Each group chose a group leader. Next, each group was given the task of deciding the top three manipulative techniques that help them get their own way with their parents. They were asked to form a group consensus, and we explained that a consensus is not taking a vote. It is debating and convincing each other so that the entire group agrees. The parents were not in the group to supervise, but to give their two cents and to function as a group participant.

After about 15 minutes each group had finished. After each small group gave it's report, the entire group engaged in group discussion to sort out the differences in the results. Funny thing is that there were not much differences. Each group more or less came up with the same three. Two groups came up with exactly the same list and one group had an almost identical list but in a different order. The following is the summary of our results.

3. Acting Really Good: The Third most effective technique is to begin to act responsibly. Convince your parent that you have really changed. After a while you will get what you want from them and you can go back to being irresponsible. One group added that while you are acting really good you can continue to sneakily be involved in the same unapproved activities.

2. Making a parent feel guilty: The Second most effective technique is to guilt your parent. Make them feel like it's really their fault or in some way make them feel that the reason that you have problems is because of them. We got examples of this from the teens who seemed to take pride in being able to push the right buttons so that their parents felt so bad that they just gave in. For example, tell your parent that they have lied to you in some way. You might have to stretch the truth a bit as to exactly what they said. If they think they lied they will try to make it up to you. Another way to make your parent feel guilty is to give them the silent treatment. They don't even have to know what they did at first but they will keep trying to find out and they will keep trying to make you feel better in any way that they can.

1. Lying: All the teens agreed that lying is the best way. One teen even offered some tips on how to be convincing when you lie. Stay calm he said. Look them in the eye. Just keep repeating the same story. Lots of discussion followed this as the teens talked about how quickly they could get their parents to believe them even if they had just gotten busted for lying. One of the bad things that can happen is that if you do this to much your parents might not believe you any more, even when you are telling the truth. Most of the teens in group agreed that lying is essential and that you have to be good at it.

(This is the conclusion of the first of a four-part series on Parent Manipulation. You can find the complete series and more information at http://gopsst.org/ in the next part we discuss How Can We Deal with Lying as Parents)



Anonymous said...

This is so true, just an another way to keep us off balance. It just amazes me how our teens can keep their lies straight but have trouble knowing what they did yesterday???

Anonymous said...

My daughter, although 18, is a senior in high school scheduled to graduate in June 2009. She has begun using this school year and is in extreme danger of not graduating. She has also stolen from some classmates, been caught, and is now facing a court hearing and some hefty fines. My question is, is this forum for parents of adult children (at least what this country considers adult children - I have my own opinion on what, exactly, the legal age of adulthood should be)?

Anonymous said...

We would say we are more of a forum for parents of teens and max out at age 21. There is not much of a forum on the website (we would like to change that) but we invite you to attend any of the meetings shown in the calendar.

I think you would really gain a lot by attending a meeting before your daughter's court date.

Anonymous said...

As a teenager, some of your parents are just incorribible. I'm a senior in high school I've got straight A's and a full scholarship to college and they still treat me like I'm fucking 5 years old. I have yet to drive to school, and yet to have a decently appropriate curfew. My older two brothers are the deliquents in the family! Why the hell am I taking the fall?! And parents wonder why their kids hate them so much

Lorrie said...

I have found that my son is very good at manipulation. He had admitted to me one time that if he wants to get his way, he waits until I am in the middle of something else or I am at work because he knew I would be distracted enough that I just might give him the answer he is looking for. He also knew that I would not argue my reason for saying no to him when I am at work so it was just easier for me to give in.

Anonymous said...

anonymous - maybe you have A's and a scholarship because of the 5 year old boundaries your parents set. You can thank them later

Anonymous said...

Anonomous - I think its great that you have excellent grades and earned a scholarship to college. That, however, does not mean that you "earned" the right to use your parent's car to drive yourself to school or to set your curfew while living in their house. Understand, it is THEIR car and THEIR house. When you have your own car and live on your own, you will be free to make those decisions.

With Grace said...

Anonymous-I am just finishing my sophmore year in college and believe it or not everything your parents are doing is because the love and want to protect u. I am the youngest of three. My older brothers gave my parents a segnificant amount of difficulty including going to juvinial detention. My parents tryed there best but it happens. So once they got to me they kind of gave up and let me do my own thing but they also thought I was the "good kid". And I was a great kid 3.5 gpa, choir Presidant,in all A.P.classes, varsity cheerleader and I was a vary good Company Ballet Dancer till I started smoking Marijuana in high school and i would steeling my moms vicoden now and then, which I still kept good grades well doing. However I started going to college partys staying out way later then a high schooler should. And thats When I found Heroin which changed my life forever. My Sr. year from being dope sick I skipped an entire 9weeks worth of school all together and I almost dident graduate my final gpa was a 1.9. I was also kicked out of the ballet company losing my life long passion. Also It did more harm to my family with everything I put them threw...Now if only I wouid have had a curfew or a nagging mother I may not have ended up An Addict. Though I have been in recovery since dec/10/2010 I still have to live with the repercussions and this never ending war because addiction never goes away. You have no idea how lucky you are that your parents love you so much and they just want to protect you so you dont make mistakes and go down the path that myself and so many other young adults have

Anonymous said...

with grace - wow, thank you for telling your story. I am printing out your comments and sharing with my daughter. wishing you the best and sending lots of good vibes -


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