The Six Kinds of Testing and Manipulation

We love our kids, but they can be very good at pushing our buttons! Especially when they want something. 

In this video, Dr. Phelan talks about:

  • The 6 kinds of testing a manipulation
  • Why kids are doing these things
  • How to keep your cool when your kids push your buttons


What are the six kinds of testing and manipulation?

There are six strategies that kids use to get what they want, which Dr, Phelan calls testing and manipulation but is otherwise known as pushing our buttons! Kids may do one of these six things to put emotional pressure on you and get their way. These “tests” include badgering, tantrums, threatening, martyrdom, buttering you up, or even physically destroying things around the house.

Why do kids keep doing these things?

There are two things parents do that reinforce these behaviors in their kids. The first thing is letting your kid have their way when they use one of these tactics. You’ve just proven to them that it works! Secondly is revenge. If a kid is badgering their parents and the parent yells at them, or has an adult temper tantrum, this reinforces that temper tantrums are an effective manipulation tactic.


I hope this video helped! For more parenting advice, check out 1-2-3 Magic  and our resources on tantrums and meltdowns.

October 29, 2021
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