Can a child be a psychopath?

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by Miakoda, May 15, 2012.

  1. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I have a cousin who we think is a sociopath. He's in his mid twenties and is in a gang, has been for a while. He's been arrested several times. He has a little 6 year old nephew who is terrified of him and refuses to enter his bedroom (the grandmother tried to let him have the room because my cousin no longer lived there but the boy was too scared to go in). My cousin seems jealous of him. I remember as a kid we were going to have him over once (he lives in another state) and my grandmother came over and told all of us to hide our money and valuables. I was scared but when he was here I thought he was one of the nicest people I'd ever met, VERY polite. He carries weapons all of the time, there have been drive by shootings at his mother's house, it's a mess.

    My mom said that they could all tell he wasn't right even as a small child. He threatened to stab his mom to death when he was like 5 or 6. I definitely think it's something you can be born with, something in the genes.
     
  2. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    No. When you start digging on those cases you find out there's a whoooooooooooooooole lot more too them than 'bad kid kills kid'.

    The bulger case for example. That case changed the way the public viewed child killers, but for all the wrong reasons.

    You can trace every act back to a root.

    And dont forget development starts in the womb. So technically bsbys can be born disadvantaged, but there's a cause and circumstances that result in the adult or child behaviour.
     
  3. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    I do think some are born, but more often, I think they are made. When they are "made" I do think there is hope in getting them back, moreso than when they are just born that way.

    There was a story on the radio awhile back about the test they give to determine if one is a sociopath. The problem is, if you fail, thats it. There was a man who in his teens, in a very tumultous time in his life mugged a man (with several others as well). During the mugging, the victim was shot and killed. The victim also turned out to be a police officer so it got heated fast. Somehow, even though witnessed all disagreed about who pulled the trigger, this one boy was found to be the only guilty one. (AND dont get me wrong, he definitely IS guilty).

    He was given the test and came back as a sociopath. HE got life in prison, no chance ever of parole because of that test. However, everyone involved with him wants him out now, say that he has changed so much (Its been like 40 years).

    I think that people, in horrible situations, in self preservation actually do shut down their empathy, their compassion, even their conscience to an extent. TEst them then and they get labelled a sociopath forever condemned. However, I also KNOW that many, or probably most, can heal, can get better, can go on to live normal lives if they get help

    I guess one could argue that he is conning everyone, that he has not changed. But I dont know, while those type of people do definitely exist, I think more often people really can heal
     
  4. sparks19

    sparks19 I'd rather be at Disney

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    My neice is one of these kids. From the time she was a year old sitting in the car seat next to her brother she would TORTURE him. Not regular brother sister fighting. She wanted to HURT him. She would do violent things to him just for fun. She would torture their pets. her parents caught her multiple times hurting their dog for the pure sport of it. She would manipulate her parents to get her brother in trouble. One time she was caught by one parent in another room smacking herself on the face until she had a big red welt and then ran to the parent blaming her brother. She would hurt HERSELF to spite her brother.

    Now she is an "adult". She is 18. She has an infant son that is so badly neglected that at 8 months old he can't even SIT UP and not because he has anything wrong with him but because she neglects him. childrens aid has been involved from the start with her baby and I can't fathom why they haven't removed him. They have told her parents that she is not to be left alone with that baby. She's been investigated for leaving her baby home alone while she goes out to "party". She is apparently taking oxycotin but for me this is just hearsay so I can't be certain on that.

    She is VIOLENT. She moved out into an apartment and was evicted within the first month after she destroyed the place. she put holes in all the walls with her rage, she abuses her boyfriends and I wouldn't be surprised if she's laid hands on that baby before.

    She's been diagnosed as bipolar and narcissistic personality disorder. The police KNOW her. she calls them anytime anyone ticks her off and claims they are abusing her... she's been doing this since she was a little girl. Now the police show up and say things like "Are you off your meds again? you NEED to take your meds". They've charged her before with abusing the 911 system and other things.

    She was not abused as a child. She was the one that could do no wrong because she was SO good at manipulation from such a young age that she was always the victim and her brother was always the one punished.

    I fear that if they don't remove that baby he's going to die at her hands.

    I think genes play a big part. My sister in laws family has a pretty long history of mental illness. her and her three sisters don't seem to be overly affected by it other than some depression issues but the boys seem to get the worst of it. In and out of jail all the time.

    I don't know what I would do if I were the mother of a child with this issue. I think the biggest issue is my brother and his wife NEVER got her any kind of therapy or help. they just couldn't see her issues.
     
  5. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    I think genes can affect resilience to a degree, influence predisposition to mental illnesses, maybe even determine if someone is happier than someone else.

    I don't think you're born a killer though. I just don't think its that easy. I think its bad luck. Bad genes, bad experiences.

    And remember... What we perceive as a good upbringing could be a very different experience for the person living it.
     
  6. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    And to be fair, we dont always (or ever really) know what really happens to someone else. Sometimes one family member is abused when the rest arent, either by a parent, family member or random person.
     
  7. sparks19

    sparks19 I'd rather be at Disney

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    It's true that you never really know but you get a good idea when they lived with you and you can see it happening right in front of your face. My neice was always the ABUSER. When she got old enough she started abusing her own mother.
     
  8. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    I really am willing to bet my own face, head, and other important parts of me on there not only being a cause, but a solution.

    I work with these scenarios day in, day out.

    The only problem is, that if you don't intervene early enough its nigh on impossible to change. But not totally impossible.

    I have worked alongside a clinical psychologist with 30 yrs experience of adults and children, who often display these kind of traits. On cases where kids are on the brink of being dangerous.

    She practically knew the kids history without even seeing the files just because of the behaviour displayed. There's a pattern.

    If you don't think there's a pattern, its just because you haven't seen it. Yes, genes may play a part in the resulting person, but I do not believe in soley nature OR nurture.
     
  9. Grab

    Grab Active Member

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    Ugh, I was re-reading about that case recently and I'd forgotten how horrifying it was. Perhaps it struck me as more horrid due to my kiddo being close to that age. Blah
     
  10. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    I don't know if children can be a true psychopath. I do know that some people are born angry and stay that way. I grew up in a household ruled by an excessively angry child. It was hell until she moved out.
     
  11. sparks19

    sparks19 I'd rather be at Disney

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    Oh yeah...t hey should have had her in therapy WAY WAY early but they were totally blind to what she was doing. they were SO hard on the brother and she manipulated that to make it even worse on him and they were so easy on her. She got away with everything. She was just very good at manipulation from an early age.

    Now she's 18 and they can't MAKE her do anything and she sees nothing wrong with her behaviour and doesn't WANT to change so there is the new problem. If they had gotten her therapy early on she would be better off but now as a legal adult she doesn't see anything wrong with what she does.

    Growing up the brother had ADHD... REAL ADHD not the kind schools want to push on every kid that comes through the door. He was... a handful. At the beginning my mom had those kids almost every weekend and then eventually they all just moved in. Mom and dad couldn't agree on how to raise the kids, neice learned from early on that she could manipulate that to her advantage. She learned from an early age that if she didn't get what she wanted she could call the police and make claims and make peoples lives a living hell.

    it was awful. At 18 she still does this only know the police know her and what she does and that she is supposed to be on medication.

    her parents have given her an ultimatum now. she has a week to get back to the doctor and get her meds that she is supposed to be taking or she is OUT and baby is NOT going with her. Childrens Aid is backing them on this one. she is not ALLOWED to be alone with her child because she is a danger to him :(

    If she would take her meds she could possibly lead a normal life but she refuses and unfortunately her parents let it go too long and now they get no say in getting her treatment. but I absolutely believe there are cases where you can nurture a child to the nines and they can still have these tendencies.
     
  12. sparks19

    sparks19 I'd rather be at Disney

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    This is a pretty accurate description of my brothers household with my niece living in it as well. She was born angry and she stays that way. Meds and therapy could help, could have helped more at a young age for her but when people are good a manipulation it makes it hard to see them for what they are... especially when they are your own children.
     
  13. drmom777

    drmom777 Bloody but Unbowed

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    I saw a really scary kid in the ER the other day. He fits this description very well, and is the most earnest, plausible liar I have ever met. He has had recorded incidnets since age three.

    This is a kid from two drug addicted parents who have been in and out of jail his whole life, and who was raised by an aunt. He has reasons to be the way he is, for sure, but most kids in those circumstances do not wind up this way. Thus the theory that it takes nature and nurture both to get to this point.

    The big argument with this kid was that the family wanted him hospitalized, and he had no acute problem that could possible be helped by hospitalization. A big argument ensued, and we had to call child services to help work it out. Since all remaining relatives are afraid to have him at home, he has been temporarily sent home with the least resistant one pending placement in some sort of group home. It's very sad and disturbing.

    And, incidentally, I hate child psychiatry. I could never do it. I don't understand how people can deal with all of this misery day in and day out for years. I think after three weeks, I might need counseling myself. Horrible, horrible stories, and bad tools to try to help them with.
     
  14. filarotten

    filarotten Moderator

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    My feelings exactly!
     
  15. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    Horrid. And very complex. The media made the public into an angry mob with little regard for facts, and demonized the youth of Britain. I'm not condoning the children, I live in Liverpool so know how it hit the community, but the aftermath has been horrendous in terms of the way people view teenagers, and that has resulted in many social problems.
     
  16. Bailey08

    Bailey08 New Member

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    I was talking to a psychiatrist friend about this, and she has seen kids that act like this -- they truly act evil. Not impulsive and angry, but calculating and manipulative, and just plain scary. And they didn't have a huge childhood trauma or abusive parents, etc.

    Hell, read the article I posted. There's no indication that the parents of the nine year old are abusive. Their other two boys are fine. In fact, their younger kids are the ones I feel the most sorry for. IMO, they need to get that older child out of the house before he further damages his younger siblings.

    Anyway, apparently there is a good amount of research being done on this in an effort to better understand sociopathy and hopefully develop better treatments, at least for kids. For a long time, there was nothing.

    It's so deeply disturbing and sad.
     
  17. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

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    Before I had kids I believe a lot in nurture. Now, having two kids, I believe much more in nature. Nurture matters, of course, often in curbing nature... But nature is there first and foremost.

    Both my kids are difficult, in their own unique ways. I'm constantly fighting to nurture their difficult natures into good citizenry. My son has been diagnosed with Asperger/Autism, ODD, ADHD, and anxiety. Further testing places him a bit differently, still Aspergers (though incredibly mild on the spectrum), but only ADD, and not ODD. Anxiety is still there. In earlier times he'd not have been diagnosed, and I expect he'd be treated far differently by the schools... If I had parented him differently I suspect I would have had a child suicide on my hands by age 8. It is a constant fight, but I adore him. He's the sweetest, most loving boy ever. But I cringe at what might have been without careful nurture.

    My daughter is totally different. My son may not be ODD or ADHD, but my daughter fits the bill far more... She is manipulative, deliberately oppositional and defiant (even as a baby - before nurture could have had any real play in things), goes out of her way to annoy or irritate, lies, and generally is incredibly difficult. She also has a very short attention span, not being able to sit through stories or movies that her peers have no difficulty with. Now, as she's growing older she is greatly improving (thank goodness, I was really starting to despair). But still a real challenge to parent. Thankfully I don't think she has the self-harming potential her brother has/had. But I could easily see her becoming the popular girl in class who tortures the less popular kids in her spare time... I work constantly to help her become more aware of different kinds of people, of how you should treat others, the need for good manners, of why truthfulness is better, etc.

    If my kids were raised in a home that didn't believe in really intervening... well I'd really be concerned for their long-term potentials. I'm far from a perfect parent, and am sure I cause as many problems as I solve. But I think my parenting makes a real difference.

    So if nature is bad to start with, and nurture doesn't correct it (such as sparks19's neice), I think that some people just have no chance. A perfectly decent parent for the average child could miss the signs of troubles in a child with a bad nature. And even with nurture, I think some kids' problems might be too much to guide to a healthy living.
     
  18. sparks19

    sparks19 I'd rather be at Disney

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    I think this is a good way to put it.

    I don't think nurture always CREATES these issues but I think it can do a lot to HELP these issues (or make them worse) but I think the issues can already BE there with or without the nurture aspect. I think it is absolutely possible for it to be nature for them to be such a way and nurture can help or hurt from that point.

    My brother and his wife aren't nessecarily BAD parents but they were ill equipped to deal with the hand they were dealt with their kids. The first one was so difficult that the second one kind of flew under the radar... she was much less difficult on the surface but created a lot of problems that went unnoticed because they weren't as "in your face" as the first childs ADHD issues.

    Just like with Hannah. she is a great kid. easy going, laid back, pleasant, etc. I'd like to tell everyone that it's because I'm super mom lol but I know better. it's just her NATURE to be this way. I didn't make her this way (well I guess I kinda did since I actually MADE her LOL). her personality isn't a result of my stellar parenting or anything lol. She was born with this personality. How I parent her can certainly help or hurt (and there is definitely a little of both going on lol) but nature is the main component.

    people always say that children are naturally good. No... not really lol. You don't have to TEACH a child to do bad things like lying and such other things. They know how to do it all on their own. It's up to us to teach them that it's WRONG to do those things but we don't have to teach them how to do wrong, it's already in human nature to know how.
     
  19. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    One of my cousins has a kid that I swear has something going on with him. I don't know if he's a psycopath but he has seemingly no conscience. He is always in trouble for fighting with other kids and he is horrible to animals, just trying to cause pain for the sake of causing pain. He is very cold and detached, not just normal sullen kid, he's just blank. He did almost die when he was born and the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and cut off his oxygen. He was brought back but I do wonder if the lack of oxygen to his brain had some sort of affect on his inability to empathize.
     
  20. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I definitely think some children are naturally good. lol. When I worked as an early intervention specialist I was always humbled by the incredible kindness demonstrated by children in the worst situations imaginable. One little child, their face had been mutilated by someone in their family, mom was a violent drug addict who murdered their little sister. That kid was the most incredibly sweet, kind, gentle, compassionate and loving child I have ever worked with. I've seen more than one child whose home life did nothing to teach them those character traits, yet they had them in spades.
     

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