The answer to this question may seem like a no-brainer to you–of course manipulation is wrong you are thinking. But first, let’s examine one of the most commonly accepted definitions of manipulation.


1. to manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner: to manipulate people’s feelings.

(Kudos to

In order to control, influence or discipline a child, parents use manipulation. Here’s an example with my own child. At 9 am, James’ first naptime of the day, James did not want to go to sleep. So I held him in my arms, whispered to him that he had sleepy eyes and softly ran my finger down his forehead and nose repeatedly until he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer. In essence, I have brainwashed my child by developing and teaching him cues that influence him to go to sleep. (A lactation consultant I met 4 months ago taught me how to do this.)

While this manipulation is a very useful thing, is it morally right? Admittedly, by definition, it is unfair. Is it necessary? Is it good? Is is bad? What are your thoughts?