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How do we handle our son who steals money?

Q: My 17-year-old son steals and lies a lot, is poor at studies and it is very possible he will fail his exams this year. My wife and I cannot take his lies; it is a very trying experience for us. We have tried psychological counselling for more than a year, but to no avail. We are reasonably well off, and he has a laid back life with goodies coming to him, but in a regulated way. We were in a joint family till recently. I have one daughter who has Hydrocephalus from birth. She has been operated eight times in the past 12 years of her life. She is two years behind in her education. But she is not the problem child. What can we do to handle our son? Please do not give us routine answers such as be strict, talk to him (I have), love him (we do), etc.

A:You seem to have arrived at the breaking point of exasperation, with your son's behaviour. You have asked for help with your son, without even mentioning which city you live in. Thus, I cannot suggest any name. You may need to consult a Psychological Counsellor, because only a trained person can help. If one psychologist did not help much, a change of advisor would be necessary. After his exams, put him to work somewhere as an apprentice in a mechanical workshop. He will have time to think about where he wants to go. Working with his hands will be a good discipline. At any later time, he can take his exams again or go through the Open School system. You will have to find out if he is doing badly in studies because of lack of ability or lack of interest. The two conditions will require different approaches. Instead of being concerned about your image in society, you may have to spend time trying to find out why your son would tell a lie or steal money. I think a face-to-face meeting between him and an expert would be the beginning.

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