As her six year old daughter, Anya, returned from school, PR Executive Neeti Jain noticed she had a certain guilty air about her. It was soon clear why. The child was hiding her classmate’s favourite crayons in her bag. Even as Neeti was shocked and very angry with her, psychologist Rajeev Chugh advises parents to relax. “Children pick up things because they like them. It doesn’t mean they become criminal…even if it’s a pattern.” Shouting is not always the answer. Here’s how you can ensure your child learns that stealing is bad.
Confront: Calmly ask the details and give your child a chance to explain. If you become angry, the kid is more likely to bottle up and lie.
Calmly disapprove: If after confrontation, your child has come out with the truth, then he will be feeling guilty at this point. Respect his honesty and calmly tell him that stealing hurts people and he can lose friends because of this.
Teach rules: Small children have immense sense of fairness. Once you teach them wrong from right, they will never repeat such mistakes again. Let go of first offense with a warning, but tell him you will punish him for a repeat offense.
Make him apologise: Neeti made her daughter return the crayons. “Anya was terrified but after that she has not stolen again,” she says.
Consult a doctor: If your child steals repeatedly and doesn’t understand rules, it could be rooted in a deeper problem such as a mood disorder and attention deficiency disorder.
Remember, disciplining children is important but it is vital to do it with love and care!