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Crack Your Manipulative Teen Daughter's Code

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This is a simple, two-step program for parents to learn how to detect and respond to their teen daughter's manipulative behavior.

Step #1: Acquaint yourself with her handbook. It looks something like this:

Rules for Manipulating Your Parents

1. Deny all knowledge and involvement of any charges against you. Sounds like: "I wasn't there", "It wasn't me", "I don't know anything about it".

2. Blame someone/something else. Sounds like: "[brother] Ben did it", "the cat/the wind/the random neighbor kid did it", "I don't know how that could've happened."

3. Feign illness. Vague symptoms like headaches are an excellent way to disorient your parents without having to produce actual medical symptoms.

4. Compliment your parents; they'll never see it coming and it will disarm them immediately. Sounds like: "Mom, you look pretty today-seriously!"

5. Smile and look cute. Big eyes are key here.

6. Suddenly start being helpful; grab a broom, a plunger, open the dishwasher. Just look busy.

7. Do a crappy job at any task you are explicitly asked to do; they'll never make you do it again.

8. Act like you didn't hear them. Invest in some good earbuds so this excuse seems plausible.

9. Hide bigger crimes in smaller ones. Your brother/mother/father will notice the gum you just stole from them before they realize you also grabbed their $10.

10. Excuse oversights by saying you were doing your homework and just forgot.

11. When you want to wear something that won't meet parental approval, wait until they are in the car so they won't notice. If this strategy can't be employed, wait until the absolute last minute before leaving the house so there will not be enough time to change.

12. Guilt them. Sounds like, "Why do you hate me?" "You like Ben more than me." They'll feel sorry for you and cave in to your every wish.

13. Say "I love you" out of the blue. This helps build credibility for future swindles.

14. Seek alliances within the family. This principle is not just effective on Survivor.

15. Maximize your relationships with extended family members when your parents have somehow caught on to you. Remember that grandparents are an especially easy target for exploitation (think gum, cash, gifts, favors, privileges).

16. Change the subject. Sounds like, "I love it when you make this meatloaf for supper!"

17. Last resort: cry and say you're sorry. It's critical that this sound sincere. Who can yell at someone who is crying? An unsolicited hug won't hurt either.

18. Play your parents off each other. This is an oldie, but goodie.

Golden rule: Believe all of the aforementioned rules as gospel; if you actually believe it, it must be true.

Step 2: Once you've mastered your daughter's handbook, call her on her tactics by number as they appear. This will fortify your parenting, but be mindful that she will regularly add new rules. Remind yourself that these are ultimately signs of intelligence and will make her a strong, savvy woman someday. Love her. Remember that this too shall pass. Keep wine on hand for the worst days. And most of all, imagine the fun YOU will have someday watching her decode her own daughter's handbook.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

5 Tips For Dealing With Defiant Teens
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