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Sat May 12, 2012, 10:38 AM

Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?

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. Michael’s eight-week program was, in reality, a highly structured psychological study — less summer camp than camp of last resort.
<snip>
By the time he turned 5, Michael had developed an uncanny ability to switch from full-blown anger to moments of pure rationality or calculated charm — a facility that Anne describes as deeply unsettling. “You never know when you’re going to see a proper emotion,” she said. She recalled one argument, over a homework assignment, when Michael shrieked and wept as she tried to reason with him. “I said: ‘Michael, remember the brainstorming we did yesterday? All you have to do is take your thoughts from that and turn them into sentences, and you’re done!’ He’s still screaming bloody murder, so I say, ‘Michael, I thought we brainstormed so we could avoid all this drama today.’ He stopped dead, in the middle of the screaming, turned to me and said in this flat, adult voice, ‘Well, you didn’t think that through very clearly then, did you?’ ”
<snip>
In many children, though, the signs are subtler. Callous-unemotional children tend to be highly manipulative, Frick notes. They also lie frequently — not just to avoid punishment, as all children will, but for any reason, or none. “Most kids, if you catch them stealing a cookie from the jar before dinner, they’ll look guilty,” Frick says. “They want the cookie, but they also feel bad. Even kids with severe A.D.H.D.: they may have poor impulse control, but they still feel bad when they realize that their mom is mad at them.” Callous-unemotional children are unrepentant. “They don’t care if someone is mad at them,” Frick says. “They don’t care if they hurt someone’s feelings.” Like adult psychopaths, they can seem to lack humanity. “If they can get what they want without being cruel, that’s often easier,” Frick observes. “But at the end of the day, they’ll do whatever works best.”
<snip>
The benefits of successful treatment could be enormous. Psychopaths are estimated to make up 1 percent of the population but constitute roughly 15 to 25 percent of the offenders in prison and are responsible for a disproportionate number of brutal crimes and murders. A recent estimate by the neuroscientist Kent Kiehl placed the national cost of psychopathy at $460 billion a year — roughly 10 times the cost of depression — in part because psychopaths tend to be arrested repeatedly. (The societal costs of nonviolent psychopaths may be even higher. Robert Hare, the co-author of “Snakes in Suits,” describes evidence of psychopathy among some financiers and business people; he suspects Bernie Madoff of falling into that category.) The potential for improvement is also what separates diagnosis from determinism: a reason to treat psychopathic children rather than jail them. “As the nuns used to say, ‘Get them young enough, and they can change,’ ” Dadds observes. “You have to hope that’s true. Otherwise, what are we stuck with? These monsters.”
<snip>
much more:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/magazine/can-you-call-a-9-year-old-a-psychopath.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

This kid is scarier than hell at 9 years old.

This entire article is worth reading. it is chilling, and it tries to offer some hope. The idea that someone so young could be a psychopath isn't a universal belief. However, ignoring the problems some kids really have ultimately comes at an enormous cost however how they are labelled.


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Reply Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath? (Original post)
Are_grits_groceries May 2012 OP
no_hypocrisy May 2012 #1
cali May 2012 #2
Lionessa May 2012 #8
roguevalley May 2012 #15
Lionessa May 2012 #18
roguevalley May 2012 #76
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #3
slackmaster May 2012 #4
HappyMe May 2012 #5
cali May 2012 #9
HappyMe May 2012 #11
Are_grits_groceries May 2012 #14
BlancheSplanchnik May 2012 #64
Taitertots May 2012 #30
cali May 2012 #56
Taitertots May 2012 #58
LadyHawkAZ May 2012 #61
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #69
LadyHawkAZ May 2012 #72
DevonRex May 2012 #77
LadyHawkAZ May 2012 #78
DevonRex May 2012 #79
DevonRex May 2012 #81
LadyHawkAZ May 2012 #83
TheCruces May 2012 #85
DevonRex May 2012 #88
TheCruces May 2012 #92
Lionessa May 2012 #6
XemaSab May 2012 #17
Lionessa May 2012 #21
FarCenter May 2012 #23
Lionessa May 2012 #25
Lionessa May 2012 #24
XemaSab May 2012 #26
Lionessa May 2012 #28
FarCenter May 2012 #32
Lionessa May 2012 #60
dionysus May 2012 #62
LadyHawkAZ May 2012 #80
DevonRex May 2012 #84
Lionessa May 2012 #91
FedUpWithIt All May 2012 #38
FedUpWithIt All May 2012 #52
laundry_queen May 2012 #67
FedUpWithIt All May 2012 #71
pipoman May 2012 #7
Schema Thing May 2012 #10
justiceischeap May 2012 #12
laundry_queen May 2012 #49
riderinthestorm May 2012 #13
FarCenter May 2012 #20
laundry_queen May 2012 #39
FarCenter May 2012 #42
laundry_queen May 2012 #48
FarCenter May 2012 #54
LadyHawkAZ May 2012 #82
laundry_queen May 2012 #87
jberryhill May 2012 #16
msanthrope May 2012 #90
obamanut2012 May 2012 #19
cali May 2012 #22
laundry_queen May 2012 #37
cali May 2012 #51
LadyHawkAZ May 2012 #27
dog_lovin_dem May 2012 #29
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #46
FedUpWithIt All May 2012 #31
Lars39 May 2012 #33
laundry_queen May 2012 #35
Taitertots May 2012 #34
laundry_queen May 2012 #36
Taitertots May 2012 #43
laundry_queen May 2012 #50
Odin2005 May 2012 #40
Brickbat May 2012 #41
man4allcats May 2012 #44
CakeGrrl May 2012 #75
laundry_queen May 2012 #45
cali May 2012 #53
alphafemale May 2012 #47
YellowRubberDuckie May 2012 #55
proud2BlibKansan May 2012 #57
Iggo May 2012 #59
n2doc May 2012 #63
white_wolf May 2012 #65
backscatter712 May 2012 #73
HiPointDem May 2012 #66
Are_grits_groceries May 2012 #68
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #70
Odin2005 May 2012 #74
Are_grits_groceries May 2012 #86
DevonRex May 2012 #89

Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 10:43 AM

1. Yes.

Becoming a psychopath starts early and the individual just "develops" as s/he ages, learning new sophisticated methods to control people.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 10:46 AM

2. Unless a kid is setting fires and torturing animals or other kids

I would hesitate before labeling them as psychopaths. This kid could suffer from a detachment disorder or oppositional defiance disorder.

I'd look at the family structure and the parents first.

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Response to cali (Reply #2)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:02 AM

8. I agree with not labeling children really at all,

 

but to label one a psychopath would have some of the most devastating effects on someone even compared to all the other things we seem pleased to label kids with so they can become part of the society of chronic pharma ingesters.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #8)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:27 AM

15. we have one. label them after diagnosis then treatment

I taught many and for some parents not 'labeling' them was more impotrtant than fixing them. Be their teacher. Have two or three a year because 'you can handle' them and see how you feel. Schools don't treat without diagnosis and label and some-juvenile delinquents-they don't treat ar all.

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Response to roguevalley (Reply #15)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:33 AM

18. I believe in individuality, period. Labels with or without diagnosis, medicating children or adults

 

for disorders that cannot be proven through biologic or chemical means to make them manageable is complete garbage. Some of the greatest humans in history could easily have been diagnosed and medicated by today's standards and their unique gifts to the world would have been stifled.

Teachers and parents just want things easy and kids (and adults) to be paper doll cutouts of pc behavior. Well I say bullshit to that. Unless and until there is proof through blood test, urine test, eeg, ekg, or some other SCIENTIFICALLY provable marker, deficiency, overabundance, or whatnot, stop trying to make a perfect society through meds.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #18)

Tue May 15, 2012, 02:12 AM

76. if you believe teachers want things easy you are kidding yourself

I had the first ADD diagnosed kid in Alaska. I always got the hard out of control kids. I was asked over and over to agree to drug interventions for them but out of the zillions I was asked about, only one met the definition where drugs could help them in my mind. But then, I'm a teacher. I know this stuff.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 10:49 AM

3. Thank you for posting. Am bookmarking for a later re-read. - n/t

 

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 10:53 AM

4. Yes, unquestionably.

 

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 10:56 AM

5. Holy smokes!

Chilling and frightening. I believe that the boy is a psychopath.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #5)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:02 AM

9. I think this article is largely shit

everything positive that the child does is labeled "manipulative". Everything negative is characterized as frightening and unfeeling. And things like tone of voice are often subjective.

You can ruin a kid's life by labeling him/her a psychopath.

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Response to cali (Reply #9)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:08 AM

11. You are entitled to your opinion.

Just as I am mine.

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Response to cali (Reply #9)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:14 AM

14. It is what it is.

The article points out that there is a lot of debate about labeling kids this young.

I also believe that the parents have witnessed the behavior of this child for a long time. They seem to have bent over backwards to get him and the family help. They are desperately avoiding a label such as psychopath.

However, the parents relate some truly disturbing actions.

Summarily labelling the kid won't help. However, ignoring the fact he has serious issues won't work either.

It is easier to label the article shit than face a truly frightening problem. That doesn't make it any less real or invalidate the observations.



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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Reply #14)

Sun May 13, 2012, 02:10 AM

64. I agree with you, grits

I've read a lot of Hare's work and other stuff...I have a personal interest, let's say. Studies have shown psychopaths have characteristic brain function--lack of emotional response for one. I'm too tired to search for more info to patch in specifics that I can't remember. But there is a pattern that begins to show at an early age, and of course there's a range, from sub-criminal to criminal, non-violent to violent........

Creepy, horrifying stuff.

There's a really skin-crawling novel, called We Need To Talk About Kevin. Gives a deep insight into the devastation it would be to parent such a child.

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Response to cali (Reply #9)

Sat May 12, 2012, 01:24 PM

30. None of the "manipulative" behaviors were positive

And their negative actions clearly demonstrated that they are unfeeling and manipulative.

And it doesn't "ruin a kid's life" to be labeled a psychopath. If anything labeling them will ensure that they get help. Failing to label psychopaths as psychopaths hurts far more people.

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Response to Taitertots (Reply #30)

Sat May 12, 2012, 03:37 PM

56. clearly you didn't read the whole article, so discussing it with you is pointless.

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Response to cali (Reply #56)

Sat May 12, 2012, 03:57 PM

58. I read the article and what you are saying is total non-sense

It is pointless for me to discuss this with you because you have already made up your mind.

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Response to cali (Reply #9)

Sat May 12, 2012, 05:17 PM

61. That's what it's really like

their good behavior generally IS manipulative and their bad behavior IS frightening and unfeeling. And they do not respond to either positive reinforcement or punishment.

And you know the worst of it? People don't believe you because it's just a child! They say things like "You can ruin a kid's life by labeling them a psychopath!" and tell you that you're wrongly labeling EVERYTHING the child does as manipulative or frightening. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Attitudes like this is why it took me 5 years to get any help for my son. Don't judge.

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Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #61)

Sun May 13, 2012, 03:10 AM

69. +1,000,000,000 x 1,000,000,000 - My wife got shucked and jived

 

for about 8 years by the psychiatric profession before finally getting her daughter in to see a clinical psychologist who ran the tests and made the diagnosis. All that time prior having to listen to endless lectures about how it was her poor parenting.

Your post is so true and matches our experiences EXACTLY.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #69)

Sun May 13, 2012, 03:33 PM

72. Oh yes, and the well-meaning suggestions

"Have you tried X? X worked on all my kids" because of course you've only tried one approach and couldn't think of another yourself.
Or the pediatrician who gave him Adderall, which we told him from the outset wouldn't work.
Or the principal who wouldn't allow him to attend the remedial school (the only one where he was ever kept under control) because that was "rewarding bad behavior" and stuck him back in a regular class, then was shocked-shocked!- when he overturned a bookshelf and narrowly missed hurting other kids.
Or the state agencies that wouldn't even return my calls, even when the vice principal (bless that woman) called them to back me up.

I have no truly happy memories of my son anymore- everything's tainted.

Fuck. I'm having flashbacks now. There was a reason I didn't want to get involved in this thread.




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Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #61)

Tue May 15, 2012, 02:22 AM

77. I sure as HELL won't judge you.

If you've been around a child like this you KNOW it. That's all I can say, really. It wasn't my child, thank God. But a close relative. It has affected the entire family in one way or another.

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Response to DevonRex (Reply #77)

Tue May 15, 2012, 02:39 AM

78. We're not related, are we?

Just checking, because I went through a major split with my family over this.

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Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #78)


Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #78)

Tue May 15, 2012, 03:23 AM

81. Nope.

My relatives are all RWers.

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Response to DevonRex (Reply #81)

Tue May 15, 2012, 03:26 AM

83. Good, that was almost awkward

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Response to DevonRex (Reply #77)

Tue May 15, 2012, 03:48 AM

85. About 7 or 8 years ago, I dealt with this with a coworker's son

I worked at a natural foods store and people were allowed to bring their kids to work. Great for the most part. However, one woman had a five-year-old son who was basically fucked in the head. We had a pond out front with goldfish. People loved it, and we'd always give a few pellets of food out to kids who asked to feed the fish. One day, we caught this kid out front trying to grab the fish. We asked him why and he said he wanted to kill them.

The general manager would bring her dog to work. He was a super friendly little Westie. Loved basically absolutely everyone and he'd chill upstairs in the office and break room all day. One day, I was playing with him and this kid came upstairs, the dog ran over to me, leapt in my lap and started shaking. The kid went back downstairs, and the dog went back to normal. He came back again and the dog did the same thing. I went and told the GM to make sure that kid was never alone with the dog, because he was doing something to the dog. This dog ADORED kids and went into total fear mode when he appeared.

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Response to TheCruces (Reply #85)

Tue May 15, 2012, 01:08 PM

88. Yeah, that's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

When they say they want to kill animals, that's a huge sign. That poor dog. I wonder what he did to it. You did very well to warn the GM. The child I was around could have the deadest eyes (that's what I called them) that I've ever seen. No emotion whatsoever. And all "good" emotions were over the top, like they were being put on deliberately in a mocking way. All before the age of 10. Behavior so bizarre that relatives wouldn't visit, etc.

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Response to DevonRex (Reply #88)

Thu May 17, 2012, 01:24 AM

92. Exactly

And I know this kid did something beyond just playing rough. I'd play rough with him, wrestling, pinning him, smacking him around and he loved it. Terriers are tough little dogs. Whatever this kid did went beyond rough play.

I'm a firm believer in being able to tell a lot about a person about their eyes. My dad would call it crazy eyes. My BFF refers to it as "the smile not reaching the eyes."

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 10:57 AM

6. Yes, however, I believe psychopathy is more a matter

 

of nuture moreso than nature. I don't believe anyone is a born psychopath. Problem is that when the 9 years olds display issues, no one looks to the adults (not just parents, child care providers, school entities, church entities, etc) to see why the child is learning that such behavior is working. Note I didn't say acceptable, I said working.

Personal example: Until I was about 20, I was a compulsive liar. On a phone conversation with a man who ended up being my first husband, I told a lie in order to be invited over. By the time I drove across town, I decided to tell the truth and go home. He suggested staying and just not lying anymore, so I haven't since then.

Knowing that my childhood was nightmarish in abuse, I began to investigate why I had turned into a albeit temporary compulsive liar. AHA! When my father was pissed, we got the shit beat out of us. However, the strangest thing would happen if, when asked if we did (fill in the blank). If I lied, and I guess he felt he knew I was lying, he would get SOOOOO ANGRY he would be afraid he might kill me, so he'd storm out of house and take a 5 hour motorcycle ride and the beating wouldn't happen. So, why was I a compulsive liar until I was out from under the thumb of my parents.... because it worked.

Problem is most children of dysfunctional homes, don't successfully evaluate how their childhoods screwed them up nor decide to just quit whatever it was. Also please understand, it is easy to stop lying, but there are no doubt still some kneejerk responses from me that mess up my current life, that I am sure are still responses to my childhood, so I'm not implying that I'm in anyway perfectly resolved, but the lying is, even to a fault, I won't lie about that dress looking awful and such, I had to go to a no lie policy across the board. If I started even one lie, I fear I'd slip right back into lying about everything and anything.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #6)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:31 AM

17. There's a lot of talk about brain morphology in the article

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #17)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:39 AM

21. Yeah, like there's lots of talk about seretonin with regard

 

to clinical depression, but there's no way to actually measure someone's seretonin, so even if that is legitimately the problem, no one can be scientifically diagnosed, they can be deduced into having it, but not proven, hence why people who are experiencing legitimate personal, family, or other issues are regularly put on anti-depressants even though the fact that it is circumstance-driven depression should indicate it is NOT clinical depression.

Talk to me when there's proof. The race to medicate every American citizen for at least one thing or another, and the reach now into children, too.... Sorry, we've become really scary in our national desire to make everyone socially acceptable through pharmas.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #21)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:44 AM

23. They're working on a measurement technique

Mayo Clinic Researchers Measure Serotonin Levels Using a Novel Device Called WINCS

For this study, researchers collaborated with Mayo Clinic's Division of Engineering and Paul Garris, Ph.D., at Illinois State University, who helped design and test the WINCS device. "We were able to take the laboratory method of neurotransmitter detection and create a miniaturized, wireless, computer-controlled device that allowed the detection to occur in real time," says Kevin Bennet, chair, Mayo Clinic's division of Engineering "We took the technique of fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, created real-time control and reporting, and converted it into something that can be used in animals and humans."

While the study was conducted on animals, Dr. Lee is confident that the technology will be successful in humans. "Using this device, we can now do real-time serotonin measurement, so we're hopeful that in the near future we're able to use WINCS to measure serotonin in the human brain," he says.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2011-rst/6165.html

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #23)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:47 AM

25. an awful lot of people are taking anti-ds, for them to be "working on" it.

 

That's my point exactly.

Until they could measure it, virtually no one should be on it.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #17)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:45 AM

24. BTW, just reading the excerpt provided I can tell much is the

 

mother's lack of parenting skills. She'd be a great fit for a passive child, but has not the sense to deal with an assertive, alpha, so he runs her in circles. This happens in many species by the way, but in ours now, we determine that no child should be alpha to it's parent and we stupefy them with drugs.

Additionally, which came first, the inappropraite parenting, or the brain morphology. They are finding now that extreme child abuse may changes one's DNA, why wouldn't it do the same with brain activity? Actually it makes more sense to alter brain activity, and that wouldn't necessarily take abuse, just a bad fit.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #24)

Sat May 12, 2012, 12:36 PM

26. Blaming the mom? Really?

There are a million kids every year who are beaten and raped by their parents and they don't grow up to be sociopaths.

On the flip side, many serial killers had "normal" upbringings.

To say that this mom isn't treating her angry son in the right way? Wow.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #26)

Sat May 12, 2012, 01:11 PM

28. Absolutely, and the parents need to be able to learn to teach

 

better behavior instead of medicating for it.

Learning how to handle anger and tantrums appropriately is key to proper parenting. And from her own little story, she ain't handling it properly.

And not all bad parent is in the form of beatings and abuse. In some cases it's trying too hard to be a friend, or being too much of a doormat and doing everything for the child. In the case above, the mother is clearly dealing with an alpha male and has no clue how to do it, so instead wants it medicated and camped out of him.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #28)

Sat May 12, 2012, 01:35 PM

32. You grab them by the throat, roll them on their back, and hold them until they stop struggling.

It works with puppies.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #32)

Sat May 12, 2012, 04:35 PM

60. Yeah, that's extreme puppy/dog discipline, alpha or not,

 

totally acceptable, but for when they do something really bad, like growl or snap. There are a few steps dramatically less overwhelming for lesser offenses.

Additionally, those are dogs. An alpha dog can be a problem, I'm not thinking that an alpha male person is an altogether unwanted thing. So to me, I'm not looking at the situation presented as one where the boy needs to be broken of it, but instead to utilize it appropriately.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #28)

Sat May 12, 2012, 08:23 PM

62. LOL.. paging Dr Frist, paging Dr Frist...

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #28)

Tue May 15, 2012, 03:16 AM

80. You can't teach a child good behavior when they don't see it as

good behavior.

You cannot handle a tantrum or anger appropriately when you have a child that is not responsive to either positive reinforcement or punishment of any kind.

Your ideas are good for a NORMAL child, but they won't work on one born with this kind of disorder. There is nothing, nothing at all, that a parent can do that will work. It takes professional intervention to even contain them.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #28)

Tue May 15, 2012, 03:31 AM

84. You're in over your head here.

Seriously. The parents of these children need very specialized attention and advice. Professional advice. Not the crap that can be gotten from any parenting book at Barnes and Noble for regular parents and children.

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Response to DevonRex (Reply #84)

Tue May 15, 2012, 03:19 PM

91. We seem to be agreeing, though you're doing in a very disagreeable way.

 

At no point did I suggest that the parent(s) learn from self-help books. Unfortunately though, the problem with wholey outside specialized attention is that the parents don't learn much so when the children are returned home, they revert because what didn't work at "camp" starts once again to work with parents and others. The parents need the education as much as the child, since they are part of the problem. Nurture, not nature, create psychopaths; again it doesn't have to be abuse that causes it, it can be caused by weak, ineffective parenting by people who try too hard to "love" and "befriend" their kids instead of teaching and disciplining. But even "professional" help isn't much better than the self-help crap.

The most psychopathic boy I knew in school was the son of two psychologists, they tried so hard to do things according to all their learned crap, but alas, those are seemingly geared to the idea that all children are the same, they aren't. Some need a stronger hand, others need no more than a "no".

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #17)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:06 PM

38. Brain morphology can actually change due to environment.

PTSD is one instance where significant changes can be mapped.

I cannot help but wonder if a more in depth look at the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis wouldn't be a real aid in this. It is increasingly clear that Dhea, cortisol, sex and thyroid hormones are severely out of whack in people with PTSD and obvious changes occur in the hypothalamus. This also is seen in dissociative disorders.

With psychopathology, there is usually a significant attachment issue at the core. Attachment issues are also closely tied with abnormal hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis function.

http://adc.bmj.com/content/90/10/1058.full
Treatment has been shown to be more affective in patients with PTSD after careful hormone therapy.

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Response to FedUpWithIt All (Reply #38)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:56 PM

52. Abnormal Oxytocin levels could play a part in low empathy and poor attachment

The cold calculating quality of a psychopath is possibly related to dysfunction in the Limbic system. Oxytocin influences the Limbic system.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/aug/21/oxytocin-zak-neuroscience-trust-hormone


"There is also evidence that the oxytocin receptors in rats' forebrains tend to atrophy when maternal nurturing is "insufficient"."

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Response to FedUpWithIt All (Reply #52)

Sun May 13, 2012, 02:45 AM

67. Interesting article.

I think people severely underestimate the importance of maternal bonding in humans. In the rest of the animal world, a failure of bonding means certain death for the offspring. This kind of research was a big part of the reason why I was very big on attachment parenting with my kids. I find it odd that our culture promotes mother/baby separation pretty much as soon as the baby is out of the womb. There have been other studies that show nothing but benefits to babies who are held the longest and studies showing severe attachment disorders for those who were neglected as infants (and those particular babies can never improve - it seems there is a small 'window' where if the child doesn't receive affection, their brain never develops in that area, even with intense therapy).

I do think, however, that there is something physically very wrong with the more severe psychopaths, such as serial killers. I was watching one of those shows about horrendous criminals and serial killers almost all had a history of some kind of head trauma - traumatic birth, severe fall, concussions, etc. Very interesting stuff. The same show said something about serial killers not being your run-of-the-mill psychopath (ie I don't think oxytocin nose-spray will cure them . Definitely a fairly new and fascinating subject of study.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #67)

Sun May 13, 2012, 11:52 AM

71. The conflict in the responses to this thread vrs the responses from the breast feeding threads

was not lost on me.

Happy Mother's Day to you BTW.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 10:57 AM

7. Every adult psychopath was once a child..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #7)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:04 AM

10. this

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Response to pipoman (Reply #7)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:11 AM

12. This and giving all children the benefit of the doubt

or diagnosing them with a detachment disorder doesn't make the child any less likely to be a psychopath. I'm not saying all children with detachment disorders are psychopathic but I'm sure there are some who are.

Also, if this child is a psychopath, I'd rather know about it now and attempt to get him some help.

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Response to justiceischeap (Reply #12)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:30 PM

49. They don't know HOW to help though

that is one of the BIGGEST problems. There is currently NO treatment for this. Even the director of the 'camp' admits he's just experimenting. Seeing as most intense therapy is known to make psychopathy worse, I'm not sure 'getting the child help' is a good thing in these cases when they don't even know if it helps or hurts (and they KNOW it hurts in adults!) I definitely lean more towards getting the entire family help.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:12 AM

13. Yes. Did you happen to catch this article about psychopaths brain structures?

Study reveals psychopaths have significant differences in brain structure -- grey matter.


Scientists at King's College London scanned the brains of 66 prisoners who had been diagnosed as psychopaths, and found significantly less. grey matter than normal in major areas of their brains.


MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: So this work that's just been published how significant do you think it is that the people who had the antisocial personality disorderliness and psychopathy, that their brains actually had less grey matter in certain areas than the other men that were studied? How significant is it to actually have less grey matter in a part or parts of your brain?

ADRIAN KELLER: The significance is that the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are critical for the development of judgement and moral reasoning and our capacity to understand the emotional experiences of other people. Therefore you might expect that a reduced grey matter in these areas could reflect a reduced capacity to develop these critical emotional skills.
...

It's certainly very powerful evidence that psychopathy is distinct from the more poorly defined anti-social personality disorder, as a more discreet clinical entity. And I think that tallies with clinical experience that the psychopathy construct is a better defined construct, it's more useful clinically, and therefore can be identified biologically in a way that anti-social personality disorder as a more global, perhaps more amorphous clinical entity cannot be defined.



http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3498036.htm?site=perth

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #13)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:38 AM

20. Psychopaths Have Distinct Brain Structure, Study Finds

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) - Scientists who scanned the brains of men convicted of murder, rape and violent assaults have found the strongest evidence yet that psychopaths have structural abnormalities in their brains.

The researchers, based at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, said the differences in psychopaths' brains mark them out even from other violent criminals with anti-social personality disorders (ASPD), and from healthy non-offenders.

Nigel Blackwood, who led the study, said the ability to use brain scans to identify and diagnose this sub-group of violent criminals has important implications for treatment.

The study showed that psychopaths , who are characterised by a lack of empathy, had less grey matter in the areas of the brain important for understanding other peoples' emotions.

While cognitive and behavourial treatments may benefit people with anti-social personality disorders, the same approach may not work for psychopaths with brain damage, Blackwood said.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/psychopath-brain-structure-_n_1497753.html

There have also been cases where normal individuals have experienced accidental damage to the head and become severely antisocial as a result.

Deficits in brain development in a 9-year old cannot be repaired.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #20)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:08 PM

39. Yes, but....

I was watching some show not too long ago about psychopaths and brain scans. Wish I could remember on what channel or what it was called.....Anyway, the host - some guy who makes weird and scary movies but otherwise has a normal life - actually underwent a brain scan and was found to have psychopathic tendencies in his brain. Yet, he's not a psychopath (I think he underwent the tests). So, as so many things, there are probably other things in the brain or environment that can 'trigger' the behaviors. As of yet, you still cannot diagnose psychopathy with a brain scan.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #39)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:14 PM

42. True, but...

If you have a 9-year old who both shows tendencies towards psychopathic behavior and a physical deficit in brain development, then you have better evidence that the problem is not just inadequate parenting, but that serious intervention is needed.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #42)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:27 PM

48. Does it say they gave him a brain scan?

I missed that.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #48)

Sat May 12, 2012, 03:19 PM

54. No, but they probably should as a diagnostic technique.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #39)

Tue May 15, 2012, 03:23 AM

82. "Curiosity- How Evil Are You" on Discovery Channel

it was the episode with the Milgram experiment, right? I saw it too.

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Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #82)

Tue May 15, 2012, 10:52 AM

87. That's the one. :) nt

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:29 AM

16. On DU? Primarily in restaurants and airplanes, I believe

In those venues, they are only human sometime in their mid-30's, I believe.

There is a special DU rule for airplanes, though. When children are going through airport security, they are precious and adorable victims of the TSA. However, once they proceed to the gate and get on an airplane, they are obnoxious spoiled seat-kicking invaders who shouldn't be on airplanes in the first place.

I don't really understand the DU airplane rule. Traumatizing them in the security lane is a great way to give them the message they shouldn't be flying anyway.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #16)

Tue May 15, 2012, 01:42 PM

90. I love everything about this post.....well played. nt

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:34 AM

19. Yes.

They need to keep pets and small children out of this house.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 11:43 AM

22. the mom, as described in the last few paragraphs of this article sets off my

alarm bells.

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Response to cali (Reply #22)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:04 PM

37. Alarm bells....

GIANT RED FLAGS ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Yeah, that. Same here.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #37)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:53 PM

51. .you're right. it's giant red flags

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 12:39 PM

27. They won't diagnose it at that age;

until they are 18, it's conduct disorder.

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Response to LadyHawkAZ (Reply #27)

Sat May 12, 2012, 01:11 PM

29. Or, ODD...

Oppositional Defiant disorder. I know cases where children as young as 3 have received this diagnosis.

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Response to dog_lovin_dem (Reply #29)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:25 PM

46. Yeah, I was surprised I did not see ODD mentioned in the article (although

 

I read it very quickly). I had always understood that ODD was what children had before reaching adulthood when they could be labelled as "psychopath" or having anti-social personality disorder.

But I am a layperson wondering in the alphabet jungle of diagnoses and tests.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 01:31 PM

31. Is anyone else unsettled by the idea of placing at risk kids together

in an atmosphere where the adults are not quiet sure what the appropriate course of action is. Seems to me the Summer camp is simply a training ground for deeper and more affective dysfunction.


Sounds like the perfect setting for the following, except with children who will take their new found skills and grow into perfecting them before they reach the more powerful realm of adulthood.

In one oft-cited study, an inmate therapy group that halved the recidivism rate in violent prisoners famously increased the rate of “successful” crimes in psychopaths, by improving their ability to mimic regret and self-reflection.


I think identification, at least at this point, may be causing far more harm than good. The method being employed to study these kids seems incredibly dangerous to me.

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Response to FedUpWithIt All (Reply #31)

Sat May 12, 2012, 01:39 PM

33. A chance to connect, learn new strategies and stay in touch.

Glad I'm not the only one with concerns about this.

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Response to FedUpWithIt All (Reply #31)

Sat May 12, 2012, 01:57 PM

35. I totally agree. nt

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 01:43 PM

34. I see a lot of focus on the Mother, but I see the Fathers behavior as much worse

"Hearing Michael on the stairs, Miguel said, “Uh oh!” and whisked Jake out of the chair.
He wasn’t fast enough. Seeing the video playing, Michael gave a keening scream, then scanned the room for the guilty party. His gaze settled on Allan. Grabbing a wooden chair, he hoisted it overhead as though to do violence but paused for several seconds, giving Miguel a chance to yank it away. Shrieking, Michael ran to the bathroom and began slamming the toilet seat down repeatedly. Dragged out and ordered to bed, he sobbed pitifully. “Daddy! Daddy! Why are you doing this to me?” he begged, as Miguel carried him to his room. “No, Daddy! I have a greater bond with you than I do with Mommy!” For the next hour, Michael sobbed and screamed, while Miguel tried to calm him. In the hall outside his room, Miguel apologized, adding that it was “an unusually bad night.” "

He isn't punishing Michael for his behavior, but rewarding him with positive attention to "calm him". He is teaching him to manipulate people.

"“What you saw, that was the old Michael,” he continued. “He was like that all day long. Kicking and hitting, slamming the toilet seat.” But he also noted that Allan had provoked Michael, at one point taunting him for crying. “He loves to poke at him when he can,” Miguel said. "

Creating excuses to justify his behavior.

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Response to Taitertots (Reply #34)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:03 PM

36. That and

the part you cut out at the beginning where Allan unpaused the game and instead of being told to 'be careful' and 'you should apologize to your brother' like I would have done, his father smiles at him and DOES NOTHING. And then is surprised when Michael gets upset about it? Um, duh. Seems like the parents have a hard time showing empathy as well. How the heck is a kid supposed to know what empathy is when his parents don't even show it to him?

It seems to me the whole family has made Michael the scapegoat and Allan the goldenchild. And then they are all confused as to why Michael hates Allan. I don't know, it's a fucking mystery to me.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #36)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:19 PM

43. He acknowledges that Allan "pokes" at him, but doesn't punish Allan for teasing his brother

If anything his Father's smiles just show that he is giving positive reinforcement to Jake for un-pausing the video.

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Response to Taitertots (Reply #43)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:33 PM

50. Oops, sorry Jake unpaused it and Allan giggled.

But yeah, it's almost like they are all 'ganging up on' Michael. It's kind of sick, IMO.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:08 PM

40. It's called "Conduct Disorder" when they are kids.

I don't think these people are fixable. Trying to "fix" them just makes them better manipulators, they have no conscience, they can't learn to feel guilt or to care about other people.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:10 PM

41. What a devastating story. That poor kid, and his poor family. I hope they find something that works.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:22 PM

44. "The Bad Seed" - 1956

Check out this fictional account of a child psychopath in this movie from 1956:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048977/

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Response to man4allcats (Reply #44)

Sun May 13, 2012, 05:14 PM

75. I think some behaviors are beyond the control of parenting.

I believe there are simply 'bad seeds' once in a while - there's simply something wrong in that individual's mental makeup that all the counseling/therapy in the world won't fix.

There have been a number of movie and TV interpretations of the concept. I recall "The Good Son" with Macaulay Culkin as the manipulative, murderous child. In that instance, he was finally stopped by his mother, who realized that he was beyond reasonable efforts to rehabilitate him. It was either him or a number of other lives (including her own) if he wasn't stopped.

I also believe that there are plenty of people who may see signs of that kind of problem in a child or other close relative and simply go into denial about the implications. The idea of spending the time, expending the effort or spending the money to try to deal with it is more than they want to or can handle. The problem is that there's no Hollywood-style, consequence-free remedy to a dangerous situation.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:25 PM

45. Here's what I see.

And really, unless you've lived in a dysfunctional family, it's really difficult to spot. SO many families 'look' normal on the outside but AREN'T. I spotted many red flags, but I don't think most people would see those things as being of any consequence. The parents are basically reinforcing their son's bad behavior, and enabling their other sons' to trigger the behavior in the oldest child. The whole dynamic seems fucked up to me (read downthread where I talk about scapegoat/goldenchild which is a common dynamic in dysfunctional families).

I also disagree that the child gets sent away for being 'bad'. Basically banished from the family. Why isn't the family in intense therapy? Even if, by chance, the family is TOTALLY normal, there is always room for improvement on how they deal with their children. Not every kid is the same and some parenting that seems 'normal' and works fine on most kids might not work on other kids. It most certainly wouldn't hurt the parents to try to change their parenting to help that one child. Instead, they seem to just want to blame the one child for everything and that they are not also doing heavy duty therapy (at least they don't say they are) or taking ANY responsibility says more to me than anything else in the article.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #45)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:57 PM

53. +1

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 02:26 PM

47. ‘Well, you didn’t think that through very clearly then, did you?’

In response to this psycho babble sentence? ‘Michael, I thought we brainstormed so we could avoid all this drama today.’

From that alone I would LOVE this kid! Brilliant response to psycho babble that some people would NEVER grasp. lol.

Sadly, from the article he is brilliant and deeply disturbed. And I doubt it can be fixed to a point where he is not dangerous to himself and others..

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 03:32 PM

55. You really can't label much pathology in children...

...unless they are actually murdering animals or people. You aren't even supposed to give anyone tests for sociopathy until they're like 20 because teenagers will test positive in most cases. There are some unsettling things in that family and the child is obviously disturbed. At the very least, he needs to be removed from the family and get away from the dynamic. His brain isn't fully developed yet, and there is still hope for him. Heck, they need to be testing the parents and they need to be in therapy being checked out and observed closely with cameras in their home. Something is NOT RIGHT.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 03:42 PM

57. Sadly, yes.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 04:04 PM

59. I'm not qualified to call anyone a psychopath. (n/t)

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sat May 12, 2012, 09:46 PM

63. If their last name is Bush, then sure

At least, if they are related to Prescott Bush....

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sun May 13, 2012, 02:20 AM

65. Is the term psychopath or sociopath because I've heard both

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #65)

Sun May 13, 2012, 04:06 PM

73. The terms are almost synonymous.

I think the only difference is that psychopaths have mostly biologically-based causes for their behavior, while sociopaths were socialized to hurt people.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Sun May 13, 2012, 02:41 AM

66. Psychopath = a bullshit word. And all the studies that show "psychopaths" have different

 

"brain morphologies" = bullshit studies.

All the work which tries to show that some people are constitutionally psychopathic, even from the cradle, are funded by the military-industrial complex with ulterior motives.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #66)

Sun May 13, 2012, 02:53 AM

68. Would you care to provide some info

backing up these claims? I don't necessarily believe every claim in the article. However, I don't dismiss all the info and work people looking into this issue are providing. I also don't dismiss the problems some kids pose whatever they are called.


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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #66)

Sun May 13, 2012, 03:24 AM

70. Yipes. Do you believe that the scientific method offers

 

a valid way to determine knowledge? If not, then by what method do you propose to know?

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #66)

Sun May 13, 2012, 04:15 PM

74. Oh look, and ideological blank-slater.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Tue May 15, 2012, 05:40 AM

86. Here are 2 other cases mentioned in the article:

<snip>
In some children, C.U. traits manifest in obvious ways. Paul Frick, a psychologist at the University of New Orleans who has studied risk factors for psychopathy in children for two decades, described one boy who used a knife to cut off the tail of the family cat bit by bit, over a period of weeks. The boy was proud of the serial amputations, which his parents initially failed to notice. “When we talked about it, he was very straightforward,” Frick recalls. “He said: ‘I want to be a scientist, and I was experimenting. I wanted to see how the cat would react.’ ”

In another famous case, a 9-year-old boy named Jeffrey Bailey pushed a toddler into the deep end of a motel swimming pool in Florida. As the boy struggled and sank to the bottom, Bailey pulled up a chair to watch. Questioned by the police afterward, Bailey explained that he was curious to see someone drown. When he was taken into custody, he seemed untroubled by the prospect of jail but was pleased to be the center of attention.
<snip>

These 2 cases also give me pause. In addition, mutilating animals is considered a sign that many killers have exhibited as kids.

That doesn't mean that all horrid kids will become Dahmers or whatever. However, hurting animals is no longer brushed off by many in law enforcement. It is seen as a behavior that deserves some kind of attention. Juvie won't do it probably. I taught kids who went to Juvie and came back worse because they learned new tricks.

The family in the story did probaby need help from the get go. However, with limited resurces and not knowing methods to use at the very beginnng didn't help. Even if they were well off, they may have gone into denial and not gotten help in time.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Reply #86)

Tue May 15, 2012, 01:22 PM

89. This has been really interesting reading.

Thank you for bringing it to us. Families of these children really need to see studies like this being done. It's like a life line being thrown to them, even if their kids are already grown. The trauma they've gone through will probably last a lifetime. I wish people who blame the parents would just think for one minute about how it would be to be the parent of someone completely without empathy for other human beings.

Think about how early you might start seeing those signs and how worried you might be and all the things you might try as a mother to instill some feeling in your child for other people or for pets. And how afraid you might be when day after day, week after week, year after year, nothing works and it just gets worse and worse. When your own child looks at you, from birth with no love in its eyes.

That is what these parents go through. Luckily, I haven't gone through this personally. But I can certainly empathize with the parents of these children. They go through absolute hell.

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