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Is my child getting into a habit of stealing and lying?

Q: My only son is 5 years and 7 months old and is studying in 1st standard. He is a lovable child and is good in studies. Due to my transfers, this is his fourth school, viz., pre KG, LKG, UKG, 1st std all in different schools. He was scoring 99-100% until last year but now seems to have a drop in scores. But I do not feel this as a problem, because he is able to learn and understand his lessons well. Now the problem is with two incidents. Two months back he used the money given for some school expenses for buying chocolates. On knowing this we punished him and also counseled him. Yesterday he took 5 rupees from his mother's purse without her knowledge and bought chocolates for one rupee. We have been buying whatever he wants but avoiding giving money to him, I do not know why he does this? Is he getting into a habit of lying and misusing money? Kindly explain if this is a major problem and would it have any ramifications in future as an adult.

A:A child of 5 years does not have sufficient moral development to know that using money for chocolates is wrong. Your interpretation of his behaviour should include the fact that at this age instant gratification is rather important. As a parent, you must certainly explain to him the limits of behaviour, as well as the reason for your disapproval and punishment. Try not to use punishment frequently as a disciplinary method, as punishment has limited and temporary effects. Talk to your child and try to work out a mutual decision about desirable actions, including use of money given and eating chocolates. Try understanding whether the frequent change of school has affected him emotionally. In case the stealing behaviour persists, you may consult a child psychologist.

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