Issue: Possible Manipulation

Two brothers aged 5 and 6 arrive at school with clear belt marks on their legs, both alleging that their mother (a single parent) struck them in the morning for not getting ready for school on time. Their mother is called to school and denies the allegations. The police take the children into police protection for their own safety as there are no other family members who could care for the children. Mother states that you are “evil” and tells you that as you have taken her children away from her she is going to kill herself, which will leave the children with no one and everyone will blame you.


Do you:

  1. Feel concerned and worried that the mother will take her own life and question whether you have made matters worse for the family.
  2. Feel manipulated by the mother and refer her to adult services for additional emotional support over the weekend. You continue with your current care plan as you deem this to be in the best interest of the children.
  3. Feel confident and defiant that mother is bluffing and continue on your course of action.
  4. Feel rage that mother is manipulating you and now are even more certain that she cannot care for her children in the short or long term.

As a social worker there are times in which you may suspect that people are trying to manipulate you, it is important to balance discernment with an open minded approach whilst keeping the needs of the child as your main focus.