Children learn from a very early age how to play their parents just so they get what they want. Children tend to learn very quickly how things work with their parents, particularly if their parents are having problems.
They learn that just because their mum might say ‘no,’ doesn’t mean their father will. They also learn that if they were to ask for something, that something will usually appear. A child may adapt their request to that of each parent so that they increase their chance of acceptance.
It doesn’t take children long to realise the advantages of playing one parent against another so that they get what they want. Through their ‘knowing’ both parents, they will adapt to their parent’s circumstances, in order to extract what they want. Children tend to know the parent that gives in and may choose to focus their energy on convincing that parent instead.
Sadly, where there is miscommunication between the parents, a child will often use one of their parents to again extract what they want. For example, one parent may approach a child and get them to agree to their plan without speaking to their spouse. Although this is quite common it is not recommended, as it teaches children that it’s okay to manipulate and that it’s acceptable behaviour.
Parents must stand firm where children are trying to pit each parent. It’s important parents focus their attentions on each other and work as a team, otherwise they’re sending the wrong message out to their child.