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How do I cope with my child's questions?

Q: My son is now 3 years and 4 months old. We have tried to instill good moral values like sharing in him. When other children of his age come to our house, he shares his toys with them. However, when he goes to their house, they don't allow him to play with their toys. It pains us to see our child crying, not because he wants the toys but because he wants to play with the toys along with his friends! I somehow manage to pacify him. Now, he has started asking questions like why should I give the other child my toys when he doesn't give me his! I find this very difficult to answer. On similar grounds, we have taught him that it is bad to litter. We take the pain of storing the trash and deposit it only in the garbage bin. But seeing other people littering openly, he has started asking questions like why can't I throw my chocolate wrapper here. Another example is running around in restaurants. We tell him not to run in restaurants but he props up the same question when he sees other children do it. Please suggest an appropriate way of handling this situation?

A:You must be congratulated for teaching the right values to your young son. I think you will have to continue to be consistent in your instructions. You can explain that children who litter or are selfish are not liked (even though they may get away with it). If he has to be a person that others like and seek out, then he has to do as you say. Even as the child grows older, surely the same kind of situations will arise. We would not advise our child to cheat in an exam, even if a student who did, got good marks. Someone defined the word conscience as something your mother told you before you were six years old. Surely, you would not wish to surrender this important function in the life of your child. All the best.

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