Is your Child ‘Manipulating’ You? Here’s How to Deal With ItWe consulted with a preschool teacher to find out.CREATED WITH ENFAGROW A+ FOUR
It’s not uncommon to see children acting out when they can’t get what they want.
Bloss Villafuerte, a preschool teacher and a child development coach for parents and teachers, says children often do things like cry or throw a tantrum to coax their parents into giving in to their wants.
“Ang tendency is they feel like, ‘If I cry, then mommy or daddy will give me what I want,’ because, of course, most parents don’t want the child to cry,” Villafuerte explains.
Younger kids sometimes resort to hitting or stomping their feet, too, since they can’t express themselves verbally yet. “Their intention is not to hurt but rather to express what they want,” she clarifies.
To prevent such behavior from escalating, Villafuerte offers these tips:
1. Establish your authority but stay compassionate.
Villafuerte says parents need to balance out warmth with demand instead of just saying no all the time and implementing strict rules, which can lead to misbehavior.
“The child has to [know] what these rules are for. The child [needs to] understand na there’s a purpose as to why [rules are being set], that it’s out of their [parents’] love and concern,” she says.
Moms and dads can also assess the situation to see if they can encourage the child in a more creative way to behave better.
“Especially for the younger ones, some things that can be tried out would be plugging in a little bit of fun or playfulness in whatever the parent wants them to do,” Villafuerte recommends.
2. Be consistent when setting rules.
Villafuerte has observed that parents set specific rules but don’t always adhere to them. To avoid confusing the kid, moms, and dads–and their kid’s guardians–must follow through when they’re establishing certain rules.
“It’s really more of honoring what you tell the child,” she says.
To explain further, she describes a scenario: “For example, if a child isn’t using a toy properly–kunwari binabato lang, or let’s say for example they’re using it to hurt others–the parent can say, ‘Okay, if you’re not using this toy properly, then we can just pack it away.’”
“Kailangan ‘yun talaga yung gagawin ng parent or nung guardian. It’s not that you’re just saying that, but they really see na, ‘Oh, if I don’t use this properly, I’m also gonna miss out.’ You have to be firm in that sense,” she says.
3. Give the child a choice.
According to Villafuerte, doing so empowers the child and helps parents manage his or her behavior.
“In a way, it’s still to the parent’s advantage [because] it’s really one of the things that you want them to do. But the child feels na, ‘Ah, I can be the one to choose,’” she explains.
“Early childhood education is essential for kids because it exposes the child in the social context already, where they can practice those values,” Villafuerte says.
“Having a good heart and willingness to help others, you learn it by being surrounded by others,” she adds.
Enfagrow A+ Four believes in nourishing and raising kids to become not only academically intelligent but also caring and understanding enough to use their intelligence to help others. As such, good values and social skills must be taught at a young age because these will help build children's character as they grow up.
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Bloss Villafuerte is a preschool teacher and Directress of Smallville Montessori in Circulo Verde. She is also a Child Development Coach of Happy School Program (for parents and teachers). Bloss is not affiliated with Enfagrow A+ Four.