Skip to comments.Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?
Posted on 05/13/2012 12:12:29 PM PDT by KantianBurke
One day last summer, Anne and her husband, Miguel, took their 9-year-old son, Michael, to a Florida elementary school for the first day of what the family chose to call summer camp. For years, Anne and Miguel have struggled to understand their eldest son, an elegant boy with high-planed cheeks, wide eyes and curly light brown hair, whose periodic rages alternate with moments of chilly detachment. Michaels eight-week program was, in reality, a highly structured psychological study less summer camp than camp of last resort.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I have to believe that some children are simply evil. It made me think of “The Bad Seed”.
Twaddle. All of us knew kids like Michael while we were growing-up. They were kept in line by stern dads. Few continued their bad behavior into adulthood. But today, every little kid is precious to Liberals whether they want to gut and eat people or not. They are todays Occupy savages darlings of the Liberal press.
I have a by-marriage family member who fits that description to the letter. The Master Thespian performances are most sickenly displayed in the presence of People With Money.
She is a saleperson for a nationwide corporation, and is consistantly ranked #1 in sales out of everyone from all the affiliates.
Yes, mental illness never strikes Christian families. /sarcasm
where the successful ones are republican presidential candidates and the stupid ones end up in jail. Really stupid liberals.
This is the New York Times. Face it, people who read the NYT are ignorant and limited. Proven time and again.
where the successful ones are republican presidential candidates and the stupid ones end up in jail. Really stupid liberals.
This is the New York Times. Face it, people who read the NYT are ignorant , parochial and limited. Proven time and again.
I think the parents’ first duty at this point is to protect their normal children.
This kid's glib response re: his mother's not thinking her actions through clearly...is not a kid's response.
Just a suggestion...but someone else (NOT A CHILD) is speaking!
Have seen enough evidence of possession (anecdotal and otherwise) to recognize the warning signs!
I don’t deny the physical structure of the brain or mental illness, BUT. . .
to you and to other posters who seem to just want to reduce this boy’s problems to the physical, genetics, etc. -
where does evil enter in?
Is there such a thing as evil in your opinion? What is its source? How should it be dealt with?
There is no doubt that he is clinically pyschopathic (2 standard deviations in definition above others who are described as clinically pyschopathic).
Blaming the parents for the child's behavior is certainly rational in terms of a search for causality.
But the problem is not who caused it...but who has it.
Michael has it!
I thought of that when I read that same comment from the boy. Just a frightening situation for the parents and other kids.
I’m in your camp. I can’t believe everyone is saying, “Oh, I was a bad kid, too. I grew up. I got better.” Did you READ the article?
As much as the parents may love him, this is not just a “bad kid.” They are endangering the lives of their other children. This kid needs to be taken out of the home for their safety.
If he’s going to be saved, it’ll take more than parental love. He needs the same sort of round-the-clock professional help he’d get if he had a terminal disease.
This sort of thing doesn’t get better.
People do evil things of course but science is showing there is a medical reason for much of it. 500 years ago people thought mental illness was caused by demons and goblins. Now we know it is a brain chemical imbalance in most cases.
You can still be religious and believe in evil but should accept modern science. Science and religion can and should/must go together.
The evil is the the brain malfunction IMO. I'm not saying this is 100% the case for all people and not letting what people do as evil off the hook.
This kid needs to be taken out of the home for their safety.
And put WHERE?
Foster homes? Even theraputic trained foster homes wont be a help here.
There are no longer any state institutions tht can help him.
I thought the same thing. That response was not that of a child.
Whether this was supposed to be sarcasm I cannot tell — but as he’s carried things to the point of hurting his own self, it does not look like his internal calculus weighs pain very heavily any more. This is not your normal coward. This is twisted.
It could be a parrot of something the parent or others have said.
Anne is a strict disciplinarian, she said, particularly with Michael, who she worries would otherwise simply run wild. She mentioned an episode of Criminal Minds that terrified her, in which a couples younger son was murdered by his older brother. In the show, the older brother didnt show any remorse. He just said, He deserved it, because he broke my plane. When I saw that, I said, Oh my God, I so dont need that episode to be my life story down the line. She laughed awkwardly, then shook her head. Ive always said that Michael will grow up to be either a Nobel Prize winner or a serial killer."
I can't imagine how awful it would be to have a child like that. Reading the article, he doesn't seem like a bad child - he seems evil.
I’m a teacher & witness kids like this too much. What is scary is that parents have NO idea that their kids are in a room w/these types of children & in danger because of their violent tendencies.
Violent children should NOT be mainstreamed.
The Childhood Psychopath: Bad Seed or Bad Parents?
In 1979, sixteen-year-old Brenda Spencer received a rifle for her birthday. She used it to shoot kids at an elementary school near her San Diego home, wounding nine and killing two. A reporter asked her later why she had done it. Her answer: “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”
According to Canadian theorist Dr. David Lykken, psychopaths are set apart. They differ in temperament from other children and are at greater risk for delinquency. He has looked at the statistics on juvenile crime and concludes that only a few children with antisocial tendencies were born with such a predisposition. They are fearless and probably have a weak behavioral inhibition system. However, Lykken contends that most antisocial behaviors in children are caused by poor parentingabsent fathers and inadequate mothers who fail to properly socialize their child. Perhaps the child frustrates them or perhaps their parenting skills are subnormal. Either way, the child acts out. Lykken calls these children sociopaths and he believes that we can decrease their numbers with better social skills. He does acknowledge the twin studies that support the view that criminality has a substantial heritability factor, but claims that traits like fearlessness, aggressiveness, and sensation seeking, all of which contribute to antisocial behavior, can be properly channeled toward better things. It is up to parents to do this, and where parenting fails, the child with those traits may express them through violence. In other words, in his opinion, even the child most prone to psychopathy via inherited traits can be guided through good parenting toward using those traits in prosocial ways.
“All” of us?
I never met one, and was pubskewled from the word go.
I met a few slackers, and a few bullies, but even the most diabolical one (and I’d name and shame him if I could) still would not hold a candle to the subject of this account.
The sole one I know who did get into serious trouble (killed someone as it turned out) was an oddball who lived across the street but wasn’t all that known for cutting up. Maybe the most obnoxious thing he did was to play rock music out of his bedroom window, for a few minutes during the day. (I answered him with the theme from “Batman.”) And shot off illicit fireworks with my brother. I.e., near normal for a rambunctious kid. All that changed when he got involved in illicit drug deals, and he shot somebody.
As a troublesome child myself (many years ago)...I am thinking that they should dig deeper than superficial (and politically correct) science.
This child seems to be a victim of metaphysical manipulation. Not certain of course...just helpful hints.
former elementary-school teacher with a degree in child psychology, Anne admitted feeling frustrated despite her training
Most of what we consider evil is undoubtedly physiological in nature. With advances in science, especial the advent of the FMRI in psycho/neuro studies we have learned that a lot of what we once believed were simple self-control issues are much deeper.
Even something as benign as gambling has proven to be largely physiological. When shown pictures of slot machine windows, those predisposed to compulsive gambling (even those who have no gambling experience) show the same activation of pleasure centers in the brain when shown near misses as when shown winners. Normal brains only show activity in the pleasure centers when shown winners.
Studies of cold blood killers, meaning those who kill for pleasure or profit without anger, rage, or fear have shown completely abnormal brain activity when compared to normally inhibited people.
To answer your question about evil? No, I don't believe in a spiritual evil that invades otherwise normal people and makes them do bad things.
This kid is speaking above his grade IMO (and yours)...time for a thorough exam.
Mind vs. body is a fascinating topic. A metaphysical world wouldn’t necessarily negate any of the scientific findings you are talking about. If there is a spirit that can “use” a brain, then you might see that brain used differently just as a piano might be played differently in different styles of music. In fact I do firmly believe in such a world, but also that God has not given mankind extensive means of performing independent research about it, perhaps because that would be too dangerous.
Well said, and 100% correct.
It sounds like someone needs a good ass whipping.
If you would promise adherence to intellectual honesty, I can prove that God exists and Jesus is His son.
Why would I waste so much time...because you will thank me forever.
I don't need your thanks...but you will appreciate it greatly!
We who love Yeshuah serve Him always...and serve all those who He loves...in this case...you!
That’s what used to be done in insane asylums before the more modern and humane “moral treatment” came into vogue in the nineteenth century... back when what we call psychiatrists today were known as alienists (no kidding). It didn’t do very much to help the situation, to all accounts. This is to all signs a nut of that caliber. Save the righteous indignation for the willfully misbehaving, totally indulged non-nuts.
“Most of what we consider evil is undoubtedly physiological in nature. With advances in science, especial the advent of the FMRI in psycho/neuro studies we have learned that a lot of what we once believed were simple self-control issues are much deeper.”
I am going to disagree with you there. God makes no such delineation in His Word.
Am I to believe that God sends people to hell for having a physiological problem?
“I would spend a vast amount of time proving to your satisfaction that evil exists in the metaphysical...and physical world.”
So where do germs fit in to all this? They only infect those who you deem as being naughty?
Evil is evil!
I am open to germs...are you open to metaphysical influence?
Smile. Although you are sure to dislike this answer, that is the very question that eventually freed me from superstition, and most recently I might add.
Future Harvard Law professor?
God judges souls, not bodies. And only God has the true X ray vision, so to speak, that can tell what is due to a soul and what is due to a body. In the meantime that should prove no deterrent to the best medically scientific efforts of humanity to assist bodies to function better — nor to the efforts of moral teachers that instruct souls about the choice to make the best or worst of the environment they have to deal with.
You didn’t answer my question.
Superstition is not synonymous with a supernaturalist world view. All major religions are aware of practices and beliefs that are below the dignity and reason believed to be held by their deities, that they would regard as superstitions.
Bath water is a great thing to throw out. Babies, not so much.
Please clarify and I will try!
Do germs infect only those who you deem are sinful?
Sounds like an imperfect, but still useful analogy to me. Germs don’t choose the sinful, but people with poor hygiene might pick up more germs. There are spiritual analogies to hygiene.
I am sinful...I did not deem it so...but I have accepted the redemption of that sin.
We are all sinful...and our redemption is readily available!
And it isn't ordinary...it is sublime! It is eternal!
Your Father and Creator loves you (and deep down inside you know that he does)...just ask Him...He will answer in the most profound manner!
He loves YOU!
That’s very strange.
Now, the family in the Times story sounds pretty normal, although the part about the husband being thought of as “loco” in his youth was noteworthy. Esp. when it talked about how these tendencies can be hereditary.
I wondered about what would it have been like had the kid remained an only child. Maybe these tendencies never would have emerged, but perhaps they still would have been there.
Only children can get away with a lot of stuff I think. I mean I had an only child, but I grew up with 2 brothers. If you have siblings, you know, sometimes they rat you out.
I’m pretty sure my kid pulled stuff on me that she wouldn’t have been able to had she had siblings.
Well, I felt bad for that family, it’s concerning for the younger kids, that’s for sure.
“Smile. Although you are sure to dislike this answer, that is the very question that eventually freed me from superstition, and most recently I might add. “
I guess you are calling Christianity superstition? I am not certain. If so, while I am sorry about your answer, you are not the first atheist I’ve ever encountered!
I was an essential or a sincere atheist the first 21 years of my life, so, nothing really shocks me. My mom raised me so.
I do believe (obviously) there there is real evil in the world, and that God judges it, and that no brain scans will justify us before Him.
The interesting question to me is, what of our behavior is our own sin and what if anything is the fault of a chemical lobotomy or similar?
Now, a lobotomy, or a car accident, or the deprivation of oxygen, etc., can affect your mind considerably. You may become confused, irrational, or retarded. But can these things make you be evil? I posit the answer is “no.”
“God judges souls, not bodies. “
Indeed, and the question before us is, are the actions and speech of the ‘enfant terrible’ in this story due to his soul or his body?
I don’t totally know, of course, but I do know that there is such thing as evil and some of us are more evil than others. Also, some of us hide our evil better than others.
I am loathe to put evil behavior down to simple physical factors; God does not.
There are foster parents without other children in the home willing to take in kids like this.
And if a parent goes before a family court judge and gives a damn good reason — like this kid’s psycho behavior — for wishing to surrender custody to the state, a judge will go along with it.
And even if such a home isn’t really a “help” to the boy, at least he’s not gonna be able to hurt his siblings.