Recently when my youngest daughter found herself in a manipulative situation with a friend, there was an opportunity to learn and grow.
I was sitting in my living one afternoon when I heard the friend say to her, “If you don’t do this, I’m going to tell your mom,” and “If you don’t ______, I’m going to leave.”
The little girl was trying to manipulate my daughter, so once she left, I pulled my daughter aside and asked her about her friend’s threats. She shared what they were about, and we talked about how they made her feel and how to deal with them. I said to her, “The next time your friend comes to play, and she threatens to leave or tell on you, I want you to say, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way, but if you have to go or tell, you can do that.’”
My daughter is only nine, so I figured it would be a while before she felt confident enough to use this strategy — my goodness, I still struggle to use it in situations like that.
A week later, her friend came over to play again, and after she went home, my daughter came to me and said, “Mom! I did what you said, and it worked! She told me she was going to leave if I didn’t ______, and I said I was sorry she felt that way but that she could go if she really wanted to. She left, but a few minutes later, she came back and didn’t make any more threats!”
I was stunned that my nine-year-old handled the situation with such grace and fortitude. What a gift to have learned such a lifelong lesson at such a young age!
People can’t manipulate you if you don’t let them.
Read the whole article over at (in)courage today: For Those Who Struggle With a Manipulative Relationship
Love, Sarah Mae
Related: The Complicated Heart on Instagram