I recently found myself in a discussion with several women about how to treat our grown daughters. One of the women complained that her daughter was manipulative. This made me pause to think about how I felt about this. That seems to me to be a word that many people use about parents or children along with the phrase ‘passive- aggressive’. So here are some of my thoughts on this emotional issue.

First of all, ALL CHILDREN ARE MANIPULATIVE!!! (That is one of their charms) Babies get mother’s milk by being manipulative, They get hugs and snuggles that way…..And in some families they are taught to continue what seems to be consciously manipulative ways of fitting into their family. But some behavior seems less purposefully manipulative than other types, depending on the sex of the child and their innate personality.

Many continue manipulative behavior even as they grow up, often because they have MANIPULATIVE parents …or one parent who is that way.

Parents who complain about their children being manipulative are really missing the point of parenthood. Of course our children sometimes try to get their way, to bend us to their will, but parents do that too. And some of them do it to excess.

Don’t be one of those. Do not become “stubborn ” about your opinion about who is “right” in a particular case. You will be a lot happier if you let these things go. Your daughters will be a lot happier. Why not opt for happiness? (Being right can sure be lonely.)

Don’t stay and listen for one more minute to someone who would encourage you to disrespect your daughter because “it is my right” to do something that would cause her to feel her wishes are not being listened to and implemented.

You must “give a little” or a LOT in order to keep the peace and to show your daughter the UNCONDITIONAL love that a mother normally has for her child. Growing or grown daughters are women in their own right. It may be hard for some mothers to acknowledge this. Perhaps because it makes them feel old or perhaps because they cannot let go of the perceived authority of parenthood.

I am 69 years old. My mother is still alive and she can still make me feel small, or mean, or spoiled ….or whatever she wants to make me feel. Lucky for me she is a very NICE mother and she does NOT use her power to hurt me.

(Even so ….sometimes I do get my feelings hurt because the relationship between mother and daughter is so intense.)

These things need to be discussed between mothers, daughters and grandmothers because the sweetness of a good relationship is too important to risk. Never let lack of communication come between you and your closest relatives. Even if they do not respond. It never hurts to let them know you love them.

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