6 Ways Your Teen Is Playing You
How to stop the manipulation and rebuild your relationship with your teen.
"Teenagers think if they don't tell you the truth," Kaiser says, "they have a better shot at getting what they want."
White lies or lies of omission are common. For example, your child may be upfront about going to her friend's house but leave out the fact that her friend's parents won't be home and there will be alcohol there.
As kids get older, the lies become more sophisticated and, therefore, more difficult to identify. Plus, Kaiser says, teens begin to collaborate with one another on fabricating stories. "They'll both agree to tell their parents they are going to Karen's house when they are really going to Tommy's," Kaiser says. If either kid's parents call the other's, their story will be corroborated because they both told the same lie. "Since the friend's parents back it up, they get away with it," she says.
Stay vigilant about knowing where your child is going and with whom in order to minimize lying. And when you catch a lie, strike immediately. "Let your child know that lying is not acceptable and, for this offense, you're taking the TV away for a day," Kaiser says. "If it happens again, take it for a week. Kids need to know that a repeat offense has bigger consequences."
Many teens provoke their parents by doing something hurtful or simply not following through with things expected of them -- like cleaning their rooms -- just to even the score for not getting their way. Although it's a tempting response, yelling and screaming won't work in these situations, Klapow says. "You don't treat your teenager like a toddler, but the same principles apply. Don't attend to the tantrum."
Calmly let your teen know that this kind of behavior is not acceptable. If she persists, it's time again to reinforce that there is a consequence for such behavior.
Begin restricting what is most important to her -- phone, TV, video games, times with friends -- and then follow through.
Kaiser offers a tip for parents who have a tendency to give in before the punishment is up. "Send the cell phone to another house," she says. "Call a friend and ask them to hold the item. That way you can tell your child, 'I can't give it back to you because our friend is holding it until Friday.'"
4. Emotional Blackmail
Ask parents what they most want for their children and many will say "to be happy." That's what makes emotional blackmail --. "I'll be sad until I get my way" -- one of the more challenging manipulations for a parent to recognize and counter. Klapow says parents should ask themselves a very important question: "Is it my job to make my child happy or prepared for the world? And what will my actions do, depending on which way I go?"