Recently I wanted to wave a red warning flag in front of a mom at the grocery store. Her child knew the line that would get his mom every time.

“Dad lets me.”

When he spouted his claim, I could almost see the mother raising her white flag…surrendering to her preschooler’s whims. She had wanted him to walk alongside the grocery cart, holding on to her or the buggy. (Reasonable in my opinion, just saying.) Apparently this was too restrictive for the little guy who wanted more freedom.

“Dad lets me walk by myself.”

I could see her mind racing. I knew what she was thinking. (I’m not a mind reader- I’ve just been in this position.) She was pondering, “Hmmmm, I want to support my husband but I’m not comfortable with this. Well, I guess I better stay consistent.”

She gave in to his declaration of independence. And as predicted, he took off like a race horse out of the gate.

Kids want things to go their way. (Well..I guess we all prefer that.) And…sometimes they do a little manipulating to get it.

They may attempt to divide and conquer. “Dad said I could.”

When the divide and conquer game comes to play at your home do this:

 1. Say, “You’re with me now. Follow what I say. When your dad gets home we’ll discuss this and get back to you.”

2. Then be certain to discuss the situation and get back to the child.

Don’t allow your child to take charge. Be supportive of your spouse by telling your youngster you will discuss the situation with dad. By doing this, the manipulation will be lessened and your child will have an opportunity to see you and your husband work as a team.

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace

and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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