- Establish ground rules in your home and in your family relationships. Be clear about the kind of family you are and how you expect your children to treat those within and outside of your family. “We treat others with respect.” “We do not mock or make fun of others.” “We stand up for kids who are mistreated.”
- Emphasize caring, compassion and giving. Manipulative children can be self-centered, raise your children to care about the needs and feelings of others. You also want to model love for your child. Might your child be angry because she is not getting enough of you, your love and focused attention?
- Keep in mind that teaching your child respect for others is one of the best gifts you can give him.
- When your child pushes the boundaries – and you need to say no, mean it. Be prepared to put up with the tantrum that’s about to ensue – and stand your ground like a mature adult. This may take a few trials. Practice will help you get the hang of it.
- Be firm yet loving. Clear boundaries and consistent responses on your part not only inspire behavior better, they also create safety and security for kids and teens.
- Remember, if you give in you are fostering inappropriate behavior. A selfish, self-centered or cruel child is not who you are aiming to raise.
- Stop buying toys and taking trips to the mall for a while. Give your child love and the gift of your time. There is nothing your child wants more than you. Make dates with your child, play sports, paint, draw, sing, make music; hey, just hang out a little, without your cell phone on.
- Model the behavior you want your child to exhibit. Using bad words, calling your child names or having a fit yourself is the wrong direction.
Avoid benign neglect. Sometimes, we let our children rule the roost because we feel guilty about saying no to them. Other times we parent our children with “benign neglect” by choosing our own needs, interests and work over our children’s needs. If you are choosing work or workouts over your child own up to your contribution to their behavior.