Is my daughter's craftiness a self-esteem issue?




Thank you for your great advice. I'm thrilled that your message was so scriptural. I'm going to print it all out today and show it to my daughter tonight and talk about this. It sure seems we need to make some changes. I know it's our fault. I want stop her craftiness and snottiness, but I have no idea how to actually get her to listen! Does that make sense? That's why I am asking about (appropriate) consequences and such. Is this a self-esteem issue?

There are two points I would like to consider. I believe you when you say your daughter is manipulative because you stated "I know it's our fault." As a parent you can help or hinder a child from following the right path, but when a child choses to behave badly, it remains that child's choice. You might have contributed to the problem, you might not have stopped it when the opportunities arose, but ultimately the burden of your daughter's behavior is on her own shoulders. "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20). If you are going to lead her out of this bad behavior, you can't do it by excusing it.

I doubt your daughter has a self-esteem issue. In fact, I would be confident that by most measurements your daughter is loaded with self-esteem. Self-esteem is just a nice way of saying a person is prideful. A manipulator has a lot of pride in herself. She has decided that what she wants is more important than anything else, so she is willing to use half-truths and deceptions to get her way. Self-esteem is the opposite of a Christian's goal: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:3-8).

You might not get your daughter to listen immediately, but you can get her to learn. That is why I suggested that you require her to do chores or services for other people where she does not personally benefit. The experience will chop away at the root cause of her attempts to manipulate other people to get her own way.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Child Rearing and Parenting