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Question
Posted by: Anon | 2010-08-05

Boy seeking attention?

Hi there, I have a 4-yr old boy who has been acting strange lately. He takes things (from my cupboard, my daughter (6)''s room, my husband''s office, wallets, watches... anything) and hides it. Most of the time he breaks it first (like a cellphone the other day) and then hides it under his bed. He denies it (he actually bursts out in tears promising it wasn''t him!) only for one of us to find the item a few days later in his room. When confronted, he lies about it. What to do? My husband and I have spoken to him nicely, we''ve given him a hiding, time-out sessions, taken favourite things away from him but nothing seems to work. Pls help me. It''s been going on since the holiday which he spent at my mom''s house and is driving me crazy forever looking for things.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

This can be a deeply annoying phase, but if one is, very reasonably, unwilling to wait it out ( especally as you have already tried several rational ways to deal with it ) taking him to see a child psychologist or child psychologist could be very helpful, to work out why this is happening - and why NOW.
You say he's beein doing this LATELY - what else has happened in his world and his life around this time-scale ? Have there been changes in your family way of life, in the cast of characters at home ? Has he been to a play-group or pre-school ? If so, has anuything happened there ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Anon | 2010-08-06

Dear Prof Simpson and Purple,
Thank you so much for helping me. I am sitting here in tears as I''ve just found he had broken an antique necklace that my grandmother left me along with another new piece of jewellery. He hid it behind a chair in my room and the cleaner found it today. This has been going on for about 3 weeks. Everything at home is still as usual although him and his sister(6) did spend the last 3 weeks in the school holiday with my parents while we were working. They were spoilt rotten and my folks absolutely adore them as they are their only grandchildren. Maybe he can''t deal with the ''back to normal'' life again after he received 24/7 attention from his granny? That is all I can think as he loves his playschool. He only goes 3 times a week (as we are on a farm and the school is too small)... can he be bored? Thanks

Reply to Anon
Posted by: Purple | 2010-08-06

Also remember that asking a child under about the age of 8 " did you do this"  when you know perfectly well that he did and he knows perfectly well that he did is actually an invitation to lie to get out of trouble. If you ask " why did you do this"  you will get a different answer and there is far less fighting involved. Until about 6 they don''t really have the mental capacity to " own up"  to things.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-08-05

This can be a deeply annoying phase, but if one is, very reasonably, unwilling to wait it out ( especally as you have already tried several rational ways to deal with it ) taking him to see a child psychologist or child psychologist could be very helpful, to work out why this is happening - and why NOW.
You say he's beein doing this LATELY - what else has happened in his world and his life around this time-scale ? Have there been changes in your family way of life, in the cast of characters at home ? Has he been to a play-group or pre-school ? If so, has anuything happened there ?

Reply to cybershrink

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