My friends cousin is five years old. She has a strange habit of hiding things that she knows are important, (glasses, television remote, phones, keys, ect.) and then refusing to reveal the hiding place. Oftentimes she claims that she didn't hide them to begin with. We have tried positive reinforcement by turning the hiding into a game and offering prizes for the person who finds it, but that doesn't seem to work. Threats of punishment do not seem to work either. I was wondering what caused her to do these things and how i might be able to handle it. I am not sure if it is just a behavioral problem or a disorder of some sort, but any revelation would be much appreciated...
While threats of punishm,ent may not be effective, actual punishment will likely make a difference. For example, let's say she enjoys a particulalr television show. Her parents can make her viewing of that show contingent on her refraining from hiding others' belongings. They can also give her a ten-minute time out when she does hide something. In addition, they might consider an evaluation with a pediatric mental health clinician to rule out the presence of an obsessive-compulsive condition, though this is likely a behavior problem without being symptomatic of emotional disorder.
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