Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Is your Child Lying or Stealing? Learn to Deal with It

Let’s get it straight right away. All children lie or steal at some point of time. Only the frequency may vary. Parents needn’t worry if the child lies, but must take care to explain that one must always speak the truth. And by doing that the child’s parents can find a solution to the actual problem.

Every child must be taught that to lie isn’t accepted behaviour. And if one wants to be loved and cared for, one must always speak the truth. Rigid rules and over expectant parents are often the cause for persistent lying in children. It’s very difficult indeed for a child to confirm to every rule. So whenever he flouts a rule, he resorts to lying fearing a reprimand by the disciplinarian father. So it undoes what a parent actually wants of the child.

Its wise for parents not to confront the child, “Don’t lie. Tell me why did you lie….. will you lie again”. That’s a typical reaction of an overanxious parent. Do not instill guilt in the child over small matters. His character hasn’t been damaged because he lied once or twice. And the same time don’t let the child feel it isn’t wrong. Encourage him to express his actual problem. And in earnest see the solution. Just make him feel it’d be a lot better if he didn’t repeat that.

Some parents may laugh over an incident where the child lies. That could be a tragedy. Do not send wrong signals. Above all, you don’t lie to each other or to the child over anything. Speak the truth. Remember, the truth frees us all.

Stealing
Just another common behaviour problem associated with slightly grown up children, say about seven years onwards. As children begin to grow up, letting go of the hem of the mother’s dress, they learn to be individuals with thoughts of their own. And things of their own. Picking up signals from those around, children begin to identify things as their own and somebody else’s. They develop a deep attachment for certain toys and definitely pride too.

It all starts with toys. Toys draw the admiration of friends and give endless joy. And hence, the occasional ‘stealing’ of a neighbor’s toy shouldn’t shock the parents. If ever they discover this they could politely hand it over. Cool your nerves. Don’t reprimand or spank the child. This is a normal thing that happens universally.

Let not the child feel he’s done a grave crime or broken one of your Ten Commandments. Be tactful in explaining that the toy belongs to the other child. And that he can play with it when they are together, but shouldn’t bring it home. Moreover, tell the child he too has a lot of toys and he could share it with friends. Although sharing isn’t a habit acquired easily. Slowly but persistently (and certainly not forcefully) the joy of sharing can be put across. But never ask a child to share something he isn’t letting go easily.

A child must first of all enjoy possession of his toys, before hi is willing to share. And as parents you must understand this.

In older children, stealing (let’s say of toys) may be creep in as a result of deprivation of the same at home. Or because that toy card, game , pen or ball is the cynosure of all kids in the neighborhood. The resulting envy may force the child to ‘steal’ the toy, at other times, older children do a ‘heroic act’ stealing chocolates or smaller items from shops,. This is more of a ‘gang act’ as several children go to the shop to buy and one of them ‘does the act’.

Don’t bring the roof down if your son is caught red-handed. You may have to call upon all your patience to handle this. Embarrassing problem. Gently tell the child that he could have always asked you if he needed that. And you cold have bought it. Put it across that its not accepted behaviour to do this. Tell the child you’ll be very happy if he didn’t repeat the mistake.

Chronic lying or cheating, however needs to be treated seriously. Probe deeply into causes and fix the problems at the start. Usually deep-seated anxieties could result in this, say child psychologists.

Points to ponder
Your child will learn a lot from your behaviour, choose how you want him to grow up.
Improving your personality has a bearing on the child
Set an example and the child will follow suit
Write down clearly how you’d want your son to be
At home
At work
At social life
Points to ponder
Character and values are vital to happiness in life
Attitude is key to success
Relationships are critical
Behaviour problems

Never forget that
a. Its unwise to confront the child with a behaviour problem.
b. First, confirm that he has made a mistake.
c. You must first follow the rules.
d. Threatening or spanking should be the last resort.
e. Rewarding good behaviour ensures repetition of the same.
f. Children love to please their parents
g. Love, care and understanding alone can help your child.
h. Degrading your son in front of other children will only worsen your problem.
i. Complaining to others will affect his self-esteem.