It may surprise you how many children learn to manipulate their parents after a divorce. Some parents have the attitude that their children would never do so, but it is common. They may see it as a viable avenue to get their own way. Young children do it as well as older children. The difference is the way they go about it and what they are attempting to get out of the deal.
It is understandable why parents would fall for this though. After all, they don’t want their children to be traumatized by what has taken place. They want to see their children happy and thriving in their environment. Make sure you are consistent with the rules you have set for your children though. They may come to you and say a later curfew or hanging out with friends without adult supervision makes them feel better. This is just a ploy to get you to let them do what they want to do.
You should expect your child to attempt to test the limits though. They may tell you they want to go live with their other parent when you don’t give in to them. This is going to hurt you and they know it. Stand firm and tell them you are sorry they feel that way but that you are sticking by your decision. If you can work out similar rules at both homes with your ex this issue will be eliminated for both of you.
It is true that children can have conflicts in life that are a direct result of the divorce. For example your child may have drop in their grades or changes in their attitude. While you need to understand this, they need to know that the divorce isn’t an excuse for letting things go. They still need to be doing their homework and they still need to be respecting you. They need to help out at home and do what is asked of them without problems.
Make sure you understand the difference between what your children need and when they are attempting to get one over on you. They may find your defenses are down after a divorce and use it to their benefit. Don’t be too hard on your children if you find out this is what is going on. Let them know you are disappointed though and that they aren’t going to be allowed to continue doing it.
One of the reasons why children are able to successfully manipulate their parents after a divorce is due to the parents feeling inadequate. They don’t want to let their children down any more than they feel they already have. They also have a fear that their children won’t love them as much as the other parent if they don’t give in to their desires. That isn’t the reality of it though.
Remember, we can avoid punitive and coercive control by using positive reinforcement!