1. He asks for a snack over and over before he has a chance to be denied.
2. She cries when she’s told she can’t wear a certain dress.
3. He pitches a fit in the mall when you won’t buy him a toy he wants.
4. She tattles on brother incessantly for rule-breaking.
5. He interrupts adult conversations loudly and regularly.
6. She has a habit of screaming when displeased.
7. He hits his mother, jaw clenched.
8. She tells her mother she doesn’t love her. Either way you want to take it.
9. He exaggerates most things, from hunger, to pain.
10. She won’t stay in bed for her nap.
All the above have commonalities. Each involves an implied request, a manipulative tactic, and the pay-off being sought.
1. I want to feel safe and secure. Give me a boundary I can count on. (I want a cookie!)
2. Don’t fall for the red herring. Show me I can trust you. (I will now throw myself down on the floor and go berserk.)
3. Guide me firmly, let me rest in your care. (I eat the cookie, pouting, and demand another.)
It is just like reincarnation or Groundhog Day, everyone is obliged to repeat the cycle until they get it right. Unfortunately, many children ‘grow up’ and leave home having never experienced simple, loving consistency.
Worse yet, some folks go to their grave, craving security, and still acting like a juvenile delinquent.