I recently heard something similar to this quote, “Love should always triumph over manipulation,” on a television show and it spoke to me. Unfortunately, manipulation triumphs more than love does in the parent-child relationship.
It’s not always a conscious thing, though, sometimes it is. We unknowingly usually start manipulating children at birth by not respecting their bodies and feelings. We force them to do things that their bodies are not yet ready to do such as “tummy time” or propping them up. This is so uncomfortable.
We make them stand before they can. We try to quiet their cries by shushing them, distracting them with a toy in front of their faces, and/or leave them to cry-it-out.
As they grow, we try to force our own agendas onto them even more. When they are acting their ages or doing something that is developmentally appropriate, we punish them. We spank/hit, give time-outs, and arbitrarily take things away.
This is all manipulation. Young children are often accused of trying to manipulate their parents but they are not able to think that far ahead. They’re always in the present. People who tell parents that children manipulate are usually extremely manipulative.
This can continue into adulthood. But love should triumph over manipulation. Love should think of the other person and do what is best for them. This does not mean letting people of any age walk all over us! It should mean putting others first as God wants us to do.
True love accepts all, puts others first, tries not to hurt people, tries to have empathy, and gently corrects when appropriate.