"It Was an Accident!"
Your son knows the rule is to never touch the papers you bring home from the office, but he doodles on them anyway. When you confront him he claims "it was an accident." Resist the temptation to yell, punish, or try to force him to admit that he did it on purpose -- none of those responses will teach him to own up to his mistakes, says Dr. Sossin. Instead, let him know the real consequences his doodling has for you -- and him. You might say, "Now I have to print this whole thing out again, so I won't have time to play checkers." Then ask him to help you fix the problem or keep you company as you do it so he has an opportunity to make things right. Remember, from your kid's perspective, this probably was an accident in that he didn't understand the impact of his actions. By allowing him to experience the results of his behavior, rather than feel ashamed or defensive, you'll help him learn to do the right thing.