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Manipulation Between Children and Parent.

Updated: Dec 1, 2018

Borrowed and added insights to be aware of are in the following list of the dynamics that occur with some children and their parents.

We teach parenting and help children learn to interact with their parent.


  • Children may attempt to manipulate one or both parents. If the parents are married, then they may play one against the other; act as if the other parent gave permission when the parent had not; act as if the other parent was not their favorite parent to warm up and to use a parent; attempt to triangulate with one parent against the other. Parents must be a strong team, informed as to what the other parent may or may not have permitted or said prior to any decision; and parents must agree upon what may have already been said by the other parent in front of the child even when both parents may need to reassess the situation and revise the decision in private.

  • Children of divorced parents will have not only the typical areas of conflict with parents, such as the type of peers, doing homework, acting out at school or home, talking back, disrespect, disobedience, low motivation, and the want for more freedom that they have not earned, and when they are not ready to handle such responsibilities; but also will have added stressors that are common only to children who are in separate parent households. These children may continue to stress over the want for their parents to get back together and can be easily confused unless strong boundaries of the resolve to remain separated is not apparent or enforced by both parents. Further, sometimes due to dysfunctional parents (drug abuse, domestic abuse, alcohol abuse, incarceration, promiscuous conduct that allows children to witness sexual behaviors via internet, video, or from within the home; or due to poor judgment of the parents, as well as, the parents inability to support their children or to provide child support to the primary parent) are relinquished of their parental rights, or limited in these rights while the parent is rehabilitated (following court orders to gain the help and income needed) which tear the children from a parent that they love and want to be with. This will often lead to blaming of the parent who now has the children in their care. These children are often filled with anger and fear and often act out with the custodial parent, and may have more difficulty in school and other social forums. Children could report alleged abuse that may or may not be true. They may become more defiant and even rude with their parent. They may become destructive of expensive things. The parent is then most hurt and frustrated with failed attempts to dispel the anger and to attempt to reach their children. this often leads to the parent becoming more of either the authoritarian or more of the submissive parent which only exacerbates the problem. As they both pull and push against each other, the relationship erodes further. The parent that was denied custody or access is dealing with extreme loss and grief, anger, depression, and fear as they blame the system or the other parent (or both) and my act out with more abuse of substances and negative behaviors instead of working the plan to regain custody. This parent may also be instrumental with the children to drive more division between the children the their custodian parent.

  • If children continue their dysfunction and become delinquent, unruly, and/or truant then these children become wards of the state since neither parent is deemed able to control them.

  • It is crucial that parents who are divorced-work together for their children's well-being despite the differences between them. They must support the other and remain firm in cultivating respect for each other and self as they patiently understand where the anger and fear is coming from and seek counseling for their children who are in the fall out. Parents who are court ordered to have 4 hours of parenting may need more aid during these times due to the trauma that these issues do to their children and selves.

Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC

Based upon all of this information that has been written and taught in class and session; What are you seeing in your family? What areas do you need to work on to aid in healing and in your learning and also being able to teach LIFE SKILLS and improve CHARACTER? Have you found this information to be helpful and if so-how?

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