When you share children with a narcissist, a common question is, “Do narcissists use children as flying monkeys?”

Yes, narcissists use children as flying monkeys. They turn children into flying monkeys by manipulating their emotions, twisting their perception of reality, telling them lies about the other parent, using parental alienation tactics, and strategically rewarding and punishing the child. 

In this article, I’ll dive into this further by guiding you through 7 ways narcissists turn children into flying monkeys to help you better understand this topic.

1.) Asking the Child to Deliver Messages to the Other Parent

The first way a narcissist could turn their child into a flying monkey is by having them deliver messages to the other parent.

For example, imagine you and the narcissist in your life have separated.

You both share custody of your children. 

The narcissist regularly instructs your child to deliver messages to you that they could easily communicate themselves, such as changes in pick-up times.

For example, the narcissist might tell your child, “Tell your mom/dad I can’t pick you up at 5 PM. It will have to be 7 PM because I have an important meeting.” 

A narcissist using thier kid as a flying monkey.

Now, this may seem innocent. 

But nine times out of ten, the narcissist doesn’t have an important meeting; they just want to disrupt your plans.

By doing this, they put your child in an uncomfortable position as the messenger and can cause stress and anxiety. 

It also manipulates the child into participating in the narcissist’s agenda without realizing it, turning them into a flying monkey.

Suggested Reading: How Do Narcissists Use Flying Monkeys? (10 Ways)

2.) Manipulating the Child’s Emotions

The second way a narcissist could turn their child into a flying monkey is by manipulating their emotions.

For example, they might say, “I really wanted to take you to the amusement park this weekend, but your mom/dad said it’s not allowed.”

Of course, this isn’t true. The narcissist is manipulating the child’s emotions.

By doing this, they make the child feel upset, thinking that you are why they can’t go to the amusement park, even though this isn’t true. 

These types of interactions can manipulate the child into feeling resentful towards you.

Over time, this resentment towards you can become loyalty and support for the narcissist, turning your child into a flying monkey.

3.) Twisting the Child’s Perception of Reality 

The third way a narcissist could turn a child into a flying monkey is by twisting the child’s perception of reality.

For instance, imagine the narcissist has yelled at your child and upset them. 

Later, when the child mentions this to the narcissist, they deny it ever happened and accuse you of putting false memories in the child’s head. 

They might say, “I never yelled at you. You know how your mom/dad likes to make up stories to make me look bad.” 

A narcissist gaslighting thier kid.

This gaslighting can make your child doubt their own experiences and memories, cause them to distrust you, and view the narcissist as the more reliable parent. 

Suggested Reading: Why Does Gaslighting Work So Well? (6 Reasons)

So, by distorting the child’s perception of reality and manipulating their trust, the narcissist can turn the child against you.

Unfortunately, this also means the child becomes the narcissist’s flying monkey.

4.) Victimizing Themselves in Front of the Child

The fourth way a narcissist could turn a child into a flying monkey is by victimizing themselves in front of them.

For example, consider a scenario where you and the narcissist disagree about something related to your child.

Something simple like their bedtime or screen time. 

Later, the narcissist tells your child:

“I tried to talk to your mom/dad about letting you stay up later, but they just yelled at me and wouldn’t listen. I’m sorry, she/he is just so mean to us. I don’t know what to do.”

This paints you as the bad guy and the narcissist as the victim, encouraging your child to feel sympathy for the narcissist and resentment towards you. 

These interactions can lead your child to view you as the enemy and the narcissist as the ally in their lives, turning them into a flying monkey.

5.) Telling the Child Lies about the Other Parent

The fifth way a narcissist could turn a child into a flying monkey is by telling them lies about the other parent.

Suggested Reading: What Do Narcissists Lie About?

Suppose the narcissist wants to look like the “better” parent in your child’s eyes. 

To do this, they might feed your lies about you to turn them against you. 

For example, they might say:

“Your mom/dad doesn’t really care about you, they only care about themselves,” 


“Your mom/dad is trying to keep us apart because they don’t want us to be happy.”

A narcissist telling thier child lies about the other parent.

These lies can make your child view you as the enemy and see the narcissist as their ally, making them more likely to side with the narcissist in any conflict.

Therefore, by manipulating the child’s perception of you, the narcissist can turn them into a flying monkey who supports their narrative and agenda.

6.) Strategically Rewarding and Punishing the Child

The sixth way a narcissist could turn a child into a flying monkey is by strategically rewarding and punishing the child.

Meaning that they might use a system of rewards and punishments to control your child’s behavior and get them to do what they want. 

For instance, they could promise your child a special treat or outing if they agree to spy on you and report back on your activities. 

Or they might withhold love, attention, or even basic needs if your child refuses to cooperate or sides with you in a disagreement.

Here is a simple example of this happening:“If you don’t tell me what your mom/dad did today, I won’t take you to your friend’s house.” 

This kind of manipulation leverages the child’s desire for love, attention, and rewards to make them more willing to act as a flying monkey on the narcissist’s behalf.

7.) Using Parental Alienation Tactics

The seventh way a narcissist could turn a child into a flying monkey is by using parental alienation tactics.

Parental alienation is a strategy whereby one parent intentionally displays to the child unjustified negativity aimed at the other parent. 

This strategy aims to damage the child’s relationship with the other parent and turn the child’s emotions against that other parent.

For example, they might say:

“Your mom/dad doesn’t really love you. If they did, they wouldn’t have left us.”


“Your mom/dad is trying to take you away from me because they don’t want me to be happy.” 

A narcissist using parental alientation tactics on thier child.

These lies can lead your child to reject you and become a willing accomplice (flying monkey) to the narcissist.

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

Sadly, narcissists don’t view others as people with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs of their own. They view them as objects they can use to get what they want.

This goes for their children as well. Because of this, it is unfortunately very common for narcissists to turn their children into flying monkeys.

About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

If you’re ready to heal, visit The Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse to get started.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.