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How can I stop my child from touching other people's breasts?

Q: My 4-year-old son has developed the habit of touching breasts of older people irrespective of their gender. He does this in a mischievous tone by verbally declaring his action. This behaviour followed after I stopped breast feeding him at the age of 1.5 years. Earlier, this problem was not so severe, but of late, it has become very irritating. He does this mainly to the people in the house or to our close relatives when we visit them. But he doesn't exhibit this behaviour when unknown guests visit us. We have tried to make him understand that this type of behaviour is not good. We have also tried beating him for this, but there is no change in his behaviour. Please advise.

A:Your child's behaviour seems to be an attention-getting device. Instead of punishing him, use behaviour modification techniques. First of all, try to ignore the undesirable behaviour. Instead give attention only to desirable actions. The child will quickly learn that some behaviour is not noticed and therefore useless. Make a behaviour chart with him, where small lists of desirable and undesirable behaviour are clearly written. For every episode of breast touching etc., he gets a negative mark, while for every desirable behaviour he gets a red star. Red stars can be exchanged with a small gift at the end of the week. Avoid labelling him as bad or dirty. Highlight his positive traits to encourage him. Hopefully you will soon see a change in him.

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