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6 Ways Your Teen Is Playing You

How to stop the manipulation and rebuild your relationship with your teen.
(continued)

3. Retaliation continued...

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?"

The world is not just about being happy, Klapow says. "It's your job as a parent to help your teen learn. It's OK for your child to be sad when his behavior impacts the way he lives in the world or the lives of others."

Focus on what you're asking your child to do while ignoring the emotions. If he tells you you're ruining his life by making him do homework before he can go to a party, Swanson suggests saying to your teen: "I understand that you think I'm ruining your life because you have to do your homework, but you still need to do it before you can go out."

Swanson says that if you can consistently keep your poise, over time your child will stop using emotional blackmail as a form of manipulation.

5. Shutting Down

What parents haven't seen their teen quiet, sullen, and refusing to talk? Kids use shutting down and not responding as a strategy, Swanson says, because they think it will make your request magically go away.

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