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Child Psychopaths  

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Elsa
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 Elsa
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If you have a child who tortures and/or kills animals, chances are your child is on his or her way to becoming a psychopath.

My question is, can anything be done to stop it? What?

Also, what's the basis of your answer? Thanks!

pic from movie, - "We Need To Talk About Kevin" - see https://www.elsaelsa.com/astrology/2013/01/16/pluto-moon-stigmatized-homes-and-the-mother-as-a-shadow-figure/

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Libra Noir
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I don't think there's anything in use right now that would prevent it. Maybe in the future. 

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Elsa
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 Elsa
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So what should parents do if they have a 10 year old who kills animals?  Starts fires? All the classic stuff?

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Rachel
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This would be my worst nightmare. I would try to get my child to see the consequences of his actions. If that didn't work, if he is unable to to feel any empathy, then i would try to appeal to his self-interest. Show that it is ultimately in his best interest to follow the rules of society. I don't know....  

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Elsa
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 Elsa
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That is a smart

Rachel said
"..If that didn't work, if he is unable to to feel any empathy, then i would try to appeal to his self-interest. Show that it is ultimately in his best interest to follow the rules of society. I don't know.... "

I think that's a smart answer. :)

People are loathe to grapple with this, I don't know why.

I do know of parents who have had some degree of success in getting their psychopathic children to function. What doesn't help is a society who says psychopathic children to not exist.

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curious wanderer
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Well, the mental health community no longer uses the term "psychopathic" to describe anything. For children, it's called "Conduct Disorder" and the criteria are mostly psychopathic behaviors - disregarding rules to an extreme degree, disregarding the rights/feelings of others. Basically doing what one wishes without thought or care to the consequences to others.

I think what society is uncomfortable with is the thought that these children can be born, not made. I myself, as a mental health professional who works with children, am uncomfortable with it, but I do not think it is out of the realm of possibility. Give me 100 different children who are all raised the exact same way, and I will give you - 100 different children.

As for psychopathic children that are made... I have two different thoughts. The first is about children in gangs. They really engage in some horrific behaviors. It's occurred to me that these are children of the poor and marginalized, and they've never seen respect modeled from them. Not in their communities, not in their families. They find respect in these gangs, and these gangs are the only things worthy of their respect (in their eyes), so the whole world is fair game.

The other is about Beth Thomas. She was a severely abused child that went on to display psychopathic behaviors - cruelty to animals and her little brother. I saw the fictionalized made-for-TV movie about her when I was a teen, and later learned about her in school. In a video interview with her I saw, she was the most vacant-looking child. Like an animated body with no soul.

A few years ago, I decided to find out what happened to Beth. She was cured. It's interesting to read what she has to say. She remembers what it's like to be that psychopathic child.

http://www.childrenintherapy.org/proponents/thomasb.html

 

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