By – Andrew Mejire Etoh
So during a visit to an old friend over the weekend, our conversation got interrupted by a sudden ruckus outside so we went out to see. From what I could quickly surmise, a 15 year old boy had been arrested by the local community vigilante after he had been identified by a resident as one of the boys she witnessed breaking into a house in the absence of its occupants. They had ransacked the house and made away with several valuable items including an iPad, laptop, wrist watches, jewellery and cash. This 15 year old had fingered another 14year old in the same compound as my friend as one of his accomplices. His mother kept wailing and pleading, somehow I could picture the way she must have felt, the shame, the pain and the anger more especially because he dint seem to need those things. She yelled at him dont we provide for you? Are you hungry or lacking? What is the matter with you? some of the neighbours looked on with pity, disgust, while some made passive comments and others recounted similar experiences of how items disappeared from their home whenever this boy visited.
Kids are a bundle of joy. It is true raising them can be the most wonderful experience, it is equally true that sometimes, some kids make you understand why some animals feed on their young ones. Back home, I thought about my day, and wondered why this particular boy would go to such lengths for things he dint need. Perhaps, its peer pressure, or complications with teenagers that triggers rebellious and mischievous desires, or it was simply influence from the neighbourhood or poor upbringing? I cant say for certain but I was certain he is a kleptomaniac.
Kleptomania is a behaviour disorder, typically characterized by an unrestrained impulse to steal, and in most cases that impulse is not driven by need. Believe it or not, it is a serious problem in many homes today. Kleptomania can be tricky to identify in young kids. Thats because in their formative stages they might not be able to differentiate between whats theirs and what isnt. Howbeit it is very important that parents are observant enough to identify the childs character traits and tendencies and nip them off as early as possible other wise they grow with it and constitute a problem to the society. Experts agree that curbing kleptomania in children require methods such as psychoanalysis , psycho educational strategy, cognitive behaviour therapy and behaviour modification strategy.
Some parents over – indulge and protect their children while also shying away from reprimanding them after misbehaving. This shouldnt be so, offending children need to be punished and disciplined so they know it is wrong to steal. (NOTE: dont over do it and take them to the gallows like hardened criminals)
Parents should be sensitive and observant of childrens behaviour. What they bring home or take should be scrutinized properly. Moral and ethical values should be reinforced and children need to be properly taught acceptable ways to satisfy their needs and wants such as placing a polite request, contentment with the little you have, patience and understanding to know you cant always get what you want.
Setting up restitution is key; such a child should be made to return stolen items with an apology. He/she has to own up to their misdeed and be made to see it is unacceptable and there will be no room for such behaviour. So there you have it myefikos, I would love to hear your opinions and take on this issue, feel free to share your thoughts, experiences and recommendations in the comments section. Cheers