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How should I deal with my son's behaviour?

Q: My son is now eight years old. He is very good in his studies. There are absolutely no complaints about his behaviour at school. However, both my wife and me have detected one behaviour in him, which we want to change. He does not seem to bother or care when someone gets injured or meets some accident. Instead, he starts laughing when the other person seems to be in pain. Recently, one afternoon my wife was boiling the drinking water and accidentally some of it spilt on her left hand. She was screaming in pain. I was in the bedroom fast asleep, and could not hear her voice. My son was sitting in the hall and watching TV, and he did not bother to see why his mother was shouting. When my wife asked him to call me, he instead went to the kitchen and saw my wife trying to cool off the injury with the normal tap water. Then he resumed watching TV. Both of us have just completed car-driving training. Yesterday my wife took the car out of the house. Accidentally, she banged the car straight on the gate and the left side of the headlight got slightly damaged. My son immediately started laughing once he saw his mother bang the car instead of feeling sorry for her. We are worried how to correct this behaviour. He seems to have a sadistic tendency, and so far I have tried to reason out to him that this is a bad habit and he should not behave in such a way. I don't know how he developed such an attitude. Please guide us how to deal with our son.

A:Children do have different temperaments and these are not always related to the way parents bring them up. For a child who does not automatically feel sympathy for the pain of others, you may have to specifically explain situations to him. Let him touch a metal glass with very hot water and feel that the heat is not easy to bear. Explain that we have to feel as others do. We have to help others in ways that we would like to be helped. By example and direct teaching, you may have to ensure that your son cultivates sympathy. Sometimes children laugh when they are embarrassed. It might spring from helplessness rather than indifference. Spend time talking to him and let him tell you about his feelings. Joining the Scout movement will give structure to being helpful and considerate. See if that is possible.

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