By | March 12, 2012 32 Comments

Intervention for troubled toddlers

Charlie Taylor, expert advisor to the British government on behavior, has suggested that nursery schools identify toddlers showing early signs of aggression so that they can receive specialist intervention.

The Daily Mail reported:

Taylor said nurseries should be able to spot children with behavioural issues and recommend them for specialist tuition to provide them with boundaries and social skills.

Mr Taylor said: ‘Any child can go off the rails for a bit and what we need is a system that is responsive to them and helps them to get back on the straight and narrow.’

He said it was easier to tackle poor behaviour among young children because habits were less ingrained.

”˜If you can see it coming when they are two or three or four or five, then that’s when we can intervene,’ he said.

Read: How a bad ‘un can be spotted at the age of TWO — and should be sent to ‘discipline institutes’ at five, says behaviour tsar, on

When I first read this article, I thought Charlie Taylor knew what he was talking about. Many Lovefraud readers who discovered that their children had sociopathic traits have told me that they saw callous, unemotional and aggressive behavior at a very young age. Other readers who became involved with sociopaths who already had children sometimes saw the same thing—kids who were lying and manipulating almost as soon as they could talk.

What is to be done with these children? One of the most important points in Dr. Liane Leedom’s book, Just Like His Father?, is that the sooner you start working with an aggressive child to change his or her behavior, the better your chances of success.

Riots in the United Kingdom

Charlie Taylor made his comments upon publication of a report that he wrote on Britain’s alternative education system. Taylor analyzed the schools and services offered to students who were expelled from mainstream public schools, often for behavior issues.

The report was commissioned by the government in the wake of the riots that shook the country for five days in August 2011. Mobs roamed through 10 different boroughs of London and several other cities, including Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. Approximately 3,100 people were arrested. According to the Guardian, the rioters were overwhelmingly young, male and unemployed.

The Guardian also published a series of articles written by sociologists analyzing what happened. To summarize some of the findings, the newspaper wrote:

Many interviewees identified deprivation and inequality as root issues. Some spoke about the lack of work opportunities and access to education, as well as the educational maintenance allowance cuts. Some believed that getting an education was the key to the golden gate, but a year after graduation they were still struggling to find work. For others, also out of work, a university degree had never been on the cards.

Many of these young people may have grown up in chaotic homes, developed mental health or personality issues, failed in school, and become stuck in destructive behavior. How is society to solve these problems?

Reactions to the suggestion

The best way to address these issues is to start young—the younger the better. So I thought Charlie Taylor’s suggestions had merit. That wasn’t the view of some commentators in the UK media.

Here’s what Sonia Poulton, a columnist with MailOnline, wrote:

According to Mr. Taylor, nurseries are a fertile ground to spot and tag the troublemakers so that they may receive anger management classes before they enter formal education at primary school level.

Sometimes, in daily life, it pays just to laugh at foolishness. As I did – long and hard – when I first heard this recommendation. I can’t take it seriously and I hope other citizens of the UK will respond in the same way. Frankly, it simply does not warrant consideration on any reasonable level.

Read Anger management for two-year-olds? The State wants control from cradle to grave, on

Sonia Poulton’s comments reflect the vast ignorance of many people in society about personality disorders. It’s the belief that at the core of our beings, we’re all basically the same. It’s a belief that gets us in a lot of trouble.

Some of us are radically different, even as toddlers. When children are born with a genetic predisposition towards sociopathy, or born into a terrible home environment, the best chance we have for saving them is to intervene as soon as possible.  If nursery school teachers could refer troublesome toddlers for special attention, it may help them grow up to be productive members of society, rather than rioters.

Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
Notify of

I think that right now, we just do not know. The research has not been done. I would not laugh at this suggestion (to intervene earlier) but I also don’t necessarily believe that intervention (as Dr. Leedom writes about) works.

This is one question I’d love to have answers to and not speculation. I would like some studies, as controlled as possible. Not a government-imposed policy of intervention without any research to support it.

It will take years, of course! But I also think we can start to do some retroactive studies now…

right now all we have to go on are theories, gut feelings of parents who are raising or who have raised difficult children, or who have had children with sociopaths.

I have three kids who are not yet grown, by (the same) undiagnosed (except by me) sociopathic father. I am the parent of identical twins. I have also taught young children. From my experience and what I have observed, personalities are largely inborn and my gut tells me that there is only a very small margin of influence possible through behavioral training. I think there is the potential for some nutritional intervention (and that is often not considered).

I am also concerned about the potential for government to blame parents for raising sociopathic children who turn into sociopathic adults, as I do not believe sociopathy is caused by bad parenting, nor can it be prevented by good parenting.

I do think that some children with sociopathic tendencies (genetic) can learn to mask it better, but I do not believe that their sociopathic impulses can be changed. I do not think that empathy can be taught.

These are only my gut feelings and my hypothesis. I’d love to see some studies done that will shed more light on this.

Ox Drover

There have also been several articles coming out of the UK lately about how many kids are going to regular school (not nursery school) who are NOT potty trained. Which would indicate to me a lot lacking in home life.

I agree that problem children should be tackled as soon as they show signs of real problems….but….and here’s the BIG BUT…many of the nursery schools and day cares that I have been inside have very young girls (cheap labor) working there who are definitely not qualified do spot the emotional and developmental levels that are problematic from a rhino.

As part of my outreach from the hospital that owned my clinic to the public Back when “blood and body fluids” information about Hep B and other information was being taught to employees of the hospitals and clinics, we reached out to the day care centers and the schools. I went to the day care centers to give them BASIC instruction on blood and body fluid precautions and SANITATION.,…HAND WASHING and so on. After my class was over I hung around for questions etc. and I observed staff members picking up one child, putting him on a changing table, changing his diaper, then reaching for another kid and putting them on the same table and changing that child’s diaper. No hand wash between, no wiping the table off.

It is unfortunate but unless things have changed the only qualification for working in a day care is not having a sexual offender background, and in some places, that won’t disqualify you until the cops show up.

When my kids were “day care age” I was a stay at home mom, my oldest son C was ADHD and “into everything” but not a problem just needed careful watching. Patrick was pretty much an ideal baby and toddler. When they got to Pre school age, still no problems, but because we lived away from other kids, I took them to the local day care for the day one day a week for them to just have the experience. They loved it and the teachers gave good reports. Patrick was the darling of his teachers until he was in 10th grade. In his case, I don’t think it would have helped at all.

In my professional life I have seen kids as young as 7 -10 years old instutionalized for ADHD/conduct disorder that was really SCARY. Many of these kids were adopted, so I don’t know what their genetic background was, but their parents were “good” parents who worked hard at being nurturing parents.

So what I am saying is that aggression shows up at different ages and may be related to different things than psychopathy. Bad parenting can show up at different ages too. Sometimes Psychopathy may not show up in any meaningful way until puberty or later, and frankly, at THAT point I don’t think there is much you can do about it.


I think unless a researcher shadows a parent 24/7, it would be very hard to make any meaningful conclusions about that person’s parenting.

I know because I live inside myself, that I am a very good parent. I also know my weaknesses and the times when I have lost patience with my children… and I know that I am normal and not abusive. I would love to meet the parent who is 100% perfect for the entire years of raising children, because that parent does not exist.

I am pretty sure that sociopathic parents would put on a very good public mask, so how on earth could this be evaluated. I don’t see how you could judge by the child’s behavior if the parents are good parents or not.

The thing about the potty training is interesting, and I’m curious what’s behind that trend…

I am also curious about the incidence of genetic sociopathic tendencies in children raised in adoptive homes — are children with these genes more likely to be given up for adoption?

Well, I’m curious about all aspects of this. I doubt we will be getting answers anytime soon.

We do not pay daycare workers enough to attract and keep people who are highly (or well enough?) qualified. And we do not pay families enough, in general, to be able to afford to pay anymore than they already do for daycare. There is a reason I was a stay at home mom — 3 kids within 2 years, I would have been paying out more than I would have earned at any job I could have gotten.

Ox Drover

20 years,

For a long time it was noted that adopted children didn’t turn out “as well” as children born into families but it was assumed at the time that babies were “blank slates” and that the adoptive parents, therefore were “spoiling” these kids. Then medical science and psychiatry got “real” and realized that hey, there’s something to this genetic thing….of course there are more disordered people either give up a child or have it take away than Harvard Dons who just decide to give up their kids…more alcoholics, more drug users, more psychopaths, more mentally ill, etc. so these kids were not a cross section of the country, but were selected from the problematic part of the population, and what do you think? They were more problematic. Since they were not raised by their problematic parents it was seen that the problems seemed to come from the genes not the upbringing.

Also there were some studies done on TWINS that were separated at birth (by adoption) and raised in different homes and how they turned out. WOW! They identical twins turned out pretty much alike and something like 80% of them if one was a psychopath so was the other one, and about 50% of the non identical twins did. BINGO, now we have some data that goes along with GENETICS.

But of course genetics is NOT everything, experiences and environment also do weigh in on what kind of person the person turns out to be. Even in the womb genetics are not it totally as environment is DIFFERENT even in there, as the placenta may give one child more nutrients than the other one, etc. So, there’s a LOT OF VARIABLES and non two environments are absolutely identical even if the DNA is identical.

I stayed at home for that same reason too… plus, I thought it was important to be there for the kids.


Oxy & 20years ~

Because I am an adoptive parent and a former foster parent, I have done a lot of research into Attachment Disorders, particularily Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Many adoptived children have some form of attachment disorder. While attachment disorders tend to be clinically controversial, I don’t think they should be overlooked. Attachment Disorder experts believe genetic tendencies and vulnerabilities (nature) is a starting point, but it is a child’s relationships with caregivers that shape the course of growth and development (nuture). Children without secure attachments often have altered levels of brain chemicals (noradrenaline, cortisol and serotonin) that can cause agression, lack of impulse control, depression and high risk of substance abuse.

Lack of bonding with mother and frequent changes in care givers, failure to have basic needs met are some of the causes of attachment disorders. Most happen in infancy.

Children with attachment disorders cannot be “fixed” or “cured”, but by creating a healing environment they can learn to connect.

An EXCELLENT book on the subject is “Healing Parents – Helping Wounded Children Learn to Trust & Love” by Michael Orlans and Terry M. Levy – I highly recommend it.

Just the quotes and children’s drawings scattered throughout the book are worth the price – “It is better to build children than repair adults” – anonymous


I wonder about two things you said, MiLo… 1) that many adopted children have some form of an attachment disorder, and 2) that lack of bonding with mother may be one of the causes of attachment disorders, and that most happen in infancy. So I’m wondering if there are any conclusions that have been (or can be) drawn genetically, with children who are adopted at birth. I’m also wondering if psychological screenings are done on sperm donors.

I know it is a mix of heredity and environment (with the womb being one of the environments)… I guess ultimately, wondering how much of personality is inborn (a product of genes and womb environment, including potential interacting with one’s twin sibling in the womb…) and how much personality is formed within days of birth, how much within first year, and so on.

What about kids who have the best possible genetic inheritance, stable and nurturing home for the first five years, then are traumatized by a bullying environment when they get to school? Can personality be altered? Or does personality remain intact but behavior and emotional health change? I guess I’m interested in what is behind our Self — at which point is that fairly well set in place?

In my own case, I know that I have been Me for as long as I can remember, with good things and traumatic things happening. My mental health might vary, depending on the stress I’m under, but my personality is the same.

Those twin studies are totally fascinating, Oxy. And with my own girls, I observe that they are similar in temperament and degree of emotion displayed, similar in the proportion of empathy they display, similar in how introverted/extroverted they are. They are both equally creative but have different areas of pursuing that. They have similar intellectual profiles but one has more “scatter” on the subtests than the other one, and indeed she is also the one who has more ups and downs in general, in just about every aspect (higher highs, lower lows). They are clearly two different people, but many overlaps.

They both look alike and hate being asked, “are you Karen or Laura?” when people can’t tell them apart. They have figured out a funny/obnoxious answer to give: “yes.” And then when people say, “but which ONE are you??” the answer is: “I’m the pretty one.” or “the fat one” or “the nice one,” etc.

It must be hard to be a twin. 🙂

Ox Drover

Milo, oh, I totally agree that an “attachment disorder” can be MADE BY ENVIRONMENT when a kid is taken from one caregiver and bounced to another and another and another….and I think that is partly what some day care environments do is to have so many different caregivers there, mostly who are not all that nurturing, the kid is just “one of the herd of little kids on the floor” which I think can LEAD TO ATTACHMENT DISORDER, because the “primary caregiver” parent drops them off at 6:30 or 7 and doesn’t pick them up til 5 or 6 p.m. gives them a bath and maybe supper and puts them to bed…so who is the PRIMARY caregiver? Well let’s see it’s karen, and Jane, and sue and Ann at the day care 5 days a week 12 hours a day…

In more “primative” societies babies are carried on mom’s back, he sleeps with her, nurses from her and BONDS with her….DUH???? So a kid knows who mama is and who daddy is and who the sibs are and who the people in the community are and what the RULES are.

In our culture, kids are exposed to 100s of people that they will never see again rather than a smaller number of people that they will be able to bond with. I realize that some kids do well changing schools all the time and moving from city to city, but I think a lot of the problems we have is the mobility of our people and the lack of real bonding.

When I was a kid we moved every 2-3 years for my dad’s job, and I HATED THAT…the only constant I had was the farm which was really my “home” at least emotionally. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I’d had NO roots in a place and in a community. I think part of the grief I felt at the whole “summer of chaos” was losing those roots. I’m not so tied to the PLACE of the farm any more, or even the community which the egg donor “poisoned the well” from which I drank, but I have found NEW WATER and so I’m doing okay, but it was a struggle.


Good questions 20years, I wish I had the answers. LOL (don’t we all)

I can tell you that the symptom checklist for attachment disorders reads like the scociopathic symptom checklist, with a few exceptions like poor hygiene, chronic body tension, accident prone, abnormal eating habits and indiscriminately affectionate with strangers (this is one I personally observed in RAD kids that seems so strange)

That is what is so confusing, if there is such a thing as attachment disorders in kids, and it does make sense, but then how do you seperate it from genetic sociopathic traits?

I had a neurologist refer to it as “brain damage due to lack of bonding” years ago, before “attachment disorder” was a common term. I can also tell you that the little girl that was diagnosed by him was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams as far as behaviors, the worst of the worst.

You spoke of the womb being one of the environments – the book I recommended speaks about a “neglectful” mother in this way “Imagine that before you were born you received messages of ambivalence about your value or were flatly unwanted. You are overcome with your mother’s stress hormones, anxiety, depression and fear. A poor maternal diet, drinking, smoking and drugs also assault you. You are thrust into a state of chronic anxiety.”

When talking about lack of bonding it mentions “You haven’t received the experiences necessary to correctly “wire” your brain.” Over and over with my grandson (who was diagnosed with RAD) neurologists, psychiatrists and behavioral specialists have used the words “his brain is wired differently”.

Another one of your questions, about adoptions at birth vs. later adoptions. My personal experience – my spath daughter was adopted at 14 months while my normal son was adopted at birth. My daughter also has spath genes on both sides of her biological makeup. I’m not sure about my son, although I saw many traits in his bio mom.

Because Grand was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder at age 3, although we were not 100% comfortable with that diagnosis, we began to parent him in a therapeutic way recommended to us and I believe it has truly saved him. However, I also believe that the approach would help any emotionally and neurological impaired child. It is similar to Dr. Leedom’s approach. He also had “floor play” “occupational therapy” ADHD therapy and a boatload of other “therapy”.

I certainly, personally believe that traumatic bullying in a school setting can have a very negative impact on a child, to what extent and what you would call it, who knows.

Thanks for listening


Oxy ~ We posted over each other. I also wonder if that is not why we are seeing such an increase in things that are being diagnosed as Autism and other behavioral problems. If it isn’t a form of attachment disorder because of the need for day care. It is, after all a change in caregivers.

Maybe this could have something to do with the fact that you see almost no “autism” in the Amish community. There is no day care and the mothers and fathers carry the baby around almost non-stop.

I would highly recommend the book I mentioned.

Ox Drover

MiLo, I think you can CREATE a psychopath the same way you can CREATE a “mean ass dog” Now, I admit that some breeds of dogs are easier to turn into “mean ass dogs” and some dogs will just cower down and belly crawl and no matter what you do to them they will NOT ever become a “mean ass” dog.

But if you take a dog and tie it to a tree, tease it, frustrate it, don’t give it any socialization, etc. you can make it a kick as “mean dog” that will bite anyone and has NO loyalty to anyone either.

I think you can do the same thing to a CHILD and make it into a pseudo-psychopath, or maybe into a real one. The child will grow up to not trust or bond with anyone, seeing others as dangerous. Maybe it is that kind of treatment that ACTIVATES a gene for psychopathy that is already there.

I know in cattle the testosterone is what makes an animal want to climb the aggression/control ladder. Steers and cows do not try to climb up that ladder and will accept their “place” in the social order, and there is a definite pecking order in a herd, from the boss cow to the cow everyone picks on.

As a bull calf matures he will take on the boss bull and eventually either defeat him or essentially be submissive to him. In small herds the defeated bull will if soundly defeated leave the herd, but a bull calf as he gets bigger will come back for more and eventually he will defeat the old bull and drive him from the herd. (or at least from breeding activity)

In dogs neutering decreases the aggression some, especially with other dogs.

Neutering in humans is only effective if done when the person is young as far as history of castration is concerned. It has been done voluntarily for various reasons and involuntarily as well.

A rapist here in Arkansas was castrated by the woman’s family. He went to prison but eventually was released on “humanitarian grounds” and under the mistaken idea he would no longer be a threat as a rapist…within a year he had raped and killed a woman.

Ox Drover

Here’s a link to the story of Wayne Dumond, the man I am talking about. There was plenty of evidence to keep him in prison, but for political reasons he was released. That story makes me not have a lot of confidence that I can keep Patrick in prison next parole hearing.


You mentioned how moving so much when a kid was hard on you and that your summer of chaos caused grief b/c you lost your roots.

I agree. One of the worst aspects of leaving my spath was having to leave a place that I’d made my home. It was a place where I felt I belonged. To rip that from me was part of my trauma. I still haven’t recovered that part, very difficult to establish as sense of belongin in the city, older/solo woman. City was great to escape and disappear into so was great when I had to hide. But it requires affluence to become visable; in the country affluence helps but relationships/events are better “glue”. My loss of a place to belong was a MUCH greater loss than “him”.


that’s very interesting that you said there is almost no “autism” in the Amish community. After I figured out what spaths were, I thought that an Amish community might be the safest place to live, with the least # of spaths. Talk about gray rock!

I believe that one of the core components of psychopathy is that they have no values. Just like infants have no values. It’s as if they are people who are still in a child like state. So everything they see, they envy and they want. This is normal for infants until they imprint the values of their parents and their social group or community. Then they develop their own unique identity based on their values, their likes and dislikes as well as their inborn temperment.

Spaths are able to mirror us because they don’t have this type of unique identity.

So what happens when the economic engine of a society is based on a continuous flow of merchandise transactions at an ever increasing pace? We use advertising to convince people to buy more and more things. We have to convince them that they value/want what we are selling.

People are brainwashed into thinking that they are unhappy without the latest greatest. This creates an environment of constantly shifting values. New styles, new attitudes, new ways of being and thinking. It’s like the spathification of an entire culture.

We grow accustomed to that kind of life, but you have to wonder what we’ve given up. Maybe, serenity.

The Amish rejection of “new” things could offer that serenity where you know what you value and it’s the same as it always was, so it feels “true”, not shifting sands.

I think the Amish have decided what’s important is life, livelihood, family and the continuity of that. Whereas, our spath society is all about discontinuity: new start, new flavor, re-invent yourself. I heard that the most powerful word in advertising is “NEW!”

Ox Drover

We moved to town when my egg donor married daddy, but we went to the farm every weekend. So I wasn’t too far gone.

When I was in the middle of 2nd grade we moved to another town,, and I went to a little school across the state border where he was the basketball coach. A kid there beat me up every day but I never told, until she eventually broke my jaw and so it became apparent I was hurt.

My abuse was really never acknowledged, and I was told to pity her because she was one of 21 kids living in a 2 room dirt floored shack. Okay, I pity her…but that didn’t make it right for her to hurt me every day for God knows how many weeks before it got found out.

Then after a year and a half we moved to another town and another school, so I started in my 4th school by 4th grade. We did stay there for several years though, but just when I was really part of the community there (though the farm was “home”) danged if we didn’t move again!

I graduated HS where I didn’t really know the kids at all. No lasting friendships there.

I was very very attached to my grandparents and to the farm, more so than anything else…or any where. Leaving here, fleeing here was very traumatic. Now that has happened though, I realize that a PLACE is just that, a place. A house just bricks and sticks.

One of my neighbors lost her big home in a foreclosure and she still grieves over it. Her house is bigger and nicer than mine and mine is 4 bed 3 bath, but she is always knocking her house as not being nice. Not like the house she lost. But so what…it is a beautiful nice home on a nice place. After a while living in the RV I got to where I kind of liked it. No house work….easy to keep up. and Movable if I wanted to.

Ox Drover

Sky, Amish life is not as free of stress as you might think. There is a lot of push to CONFORM and anyone breaking out of that status quo is severely chastised emotionally. They even argue about how much “flash” you can put on your horse harness and still be “plain.”


Sky ~ I have found that. I do live with a really great group of Amish neighbors and community members. Not all are like that though, greed and power struggles there too.

One thing that Amish have a great deal of is patience. Where most people today not only need “new” things, they need them NOW. If you ever rode to town in a buggy you would understand the need for patience. They are not in a hurry and feel that things will work out or come there way in God’s time. That is what I admire the most about them.

Oh, yes Oxy, now every teen’s buggy is specially outfitted with a giant sound system. It is so funny.


The child I know born to uncaring parents is in a bad way right now, and people who work for the city know about him but think he is fine. He is a year old and can only grunt to communicate, doesn’t know how to play with a ball, bites everyone and pulls his own hair out. 🙁 Normal baby behavior? NO! You guys are moms, what should a child be doing by one year?


Perhaps the Amish like their way of life but also take it for granted in a way. Until you’ve experienced a spath, up close and personal, you really don’t know what avarice and envy are.

Once I realized what my spath was, I could see through his facade and I saw a life that was driven by pure unadulterated envy, 24/7 for 55 years. It was something that had been unimaginable to me and it looked grotesque. The spath lives every second of his life comparing, calculating, plotting, and resenting. I’m not exaggerating when I say, every moment of his life – except perhaps when he is sleeping but I doubt his dreams are any different.

Normal greed and power struggles in normal people are THE REASON he can hide his true nature. We assume that what we see in him is just a normal degree of that. When we assume that we are SO SO wrong.

Unfortunately, our society is driving more and more people into spending more and more time in just that kind of rat-race lifestyle. It can only get worse unless we make it better. I think that the Amish founders must have figured that out. Now their descendents may no longer remember why it was so important to their ancestors.

Ox Drover

He should be starting to stand and maybe take a few steps…he should be making sounds and maybe a few words, da da…at least. (ma ma is more difficult for them to say so he will say da da first) He should be able to hold a sippy cup and eat finger foods.

The biting and pulling out his own hair is very unnerving and he should not be doing that for sure.

What is your relationship to this child, Near?

Ox Drover

Giant sound system? LOL ROTFLMAO Battery operated of course. That’s RICH Milo! absolutely Rich!

We used to have a pretty large Amish community around here, about 90 families, but they starved out and left after a few years. Not sure where they went. I used to see them at the sale every Saturday morning, the women selling cakes and cookies. There are some “modified” amish that live near here that use trucks on the road for business but other wise live electricity free, in a log house, etc. I met them when they contacted us about oxen, and they were training a young steer to pull a cart to sell veggies out of in town during the weekends.


My mom has a friend, who has a daughter. This daughter is with another women who has a daughter from a previous marriage.That daughter had this child and we have no idea who the dad is. I could be any of the five guys she was with in the period of time she became pregnant, while on a drug trip, I might add.

It’s a mess really. Poor little guy lives in a home with roaches, man. Roaches!!

I hope I explained that well. It’s a weird story and the whole family is insane. At risk child for sure.

Ox Drover

Have you called child protective services?


Near ~

Many Child Protective Service departments have early childhood development workers who come to the home and work with the parent to make sure the child is progressing properly for his age.

If someone has already call child protective, maybe another call to clue them in that this may be needed.

This sounds like it may be serious, please make sure someone calls the CPS hotline, it is in the phone book.


Yes, they know. That’s why I’m so annoyed. They do nothing. One lady has been asking them more questions lately, though and checking in more. They are about to lose their home and move in to an apartment, so maybe that will attract some attention.

The baby can walk fully, so I’m happy he is on track with that. Phew. ^_^


There are extremely early screening tests now for autism; babies as young as 8 or 9 months can be evaluated and diagnosed with autism. The earlier the therapy for autism spectrum disorders can start, the greater the chance for the child to have a more normal life. So, I see hope in the idea that psychopathic pd can be detected earlier, so that treatment can begin earlier to help the child develop normal empathy and compassion, to learn that cruelty towards animals and other, smaller children isn’t OK, to learn healthy ways to express anger and frustration, and learn healthy ways to ask for attention and love.


There is a movie out called “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” It was mentioned on the Fishhead FB page. From what I’ve read, it’s a really good movie that addresses the problem child’s background leading up to a catestrophic, Columbine-type of event. I’m hoping it leads to more insight into the nature of these types of children.


I’d like to add what I know about my P sister and her daugher, who was eventually diagnosed with borderline personality disorder after she reached adulthood.

When my niece was born, even though my sister had 12 weeks maternity leave, she told my mother that she wanted to go back to work after 4 weeks because she “had cleaned her closets.” Baby? What baby? She was more interested in pursuing her career.

We had a cousin who died from AIDS. His funeral was the same day as my niece’s third birthday. She was acting out at the funeral and at the family gathering afterwards. My brother made a derogatory comment about having problems with the way that a certain three-year-old was acting.

By this time, my sister and her first husband were going through a bad divorce. My sister was one of those women who ran her husband down to anybody who would listen, including unfortunately a three-year-old who was a captive audience.

Her husband wasn’t above getting his shots in where he could. He is a college chemistry professor. He got away from my sister by staying at the school helping students (and guess what happened between him and one of the female students? Which he flaunted by kissing the student in the middle of the day in a public park.)

My niece had no stability in her life. My sister never bonded with her. My brother-in-law tried to make the marriage work, but I saw her shoot him down every chance she could. She treated him like an idiot (shades of how my mother treated my father) and it seemed that she made a point of doing so in front of other people. When he tried to do things with my niece, my sister was there telling him what he was doing wrong so he gave up and left my niece to my sister.

The bottom line for my niece was she was regulated to “puppy-hood.” Really, she was treated like a household pet. She was supposed to stay out of sight and mind, unless they were in the mood for her, and be entertaining when she was around. The child was emotionally abandonded the day she was born.

I also remember that when my sister was married to her second husband, she told me how every morning she liked to have a conversation with him over breakfast. Then, she wanted to read the paper before she left for work. However, his son (the nerve of this kid) tried to have a conversation with her after his father left. She was furious. “WTF, can’t he see that I am reading?” I answered, “Can’t you see he wants a relationship with you?” “I married his father, not him.” “He’s under the impression that this is his family now and you’re part of it.” If looks could kill.

Husband #2 told me one day that my niece had been bounced from caretaker to caretaker. Nobody could stand her because of how she acted. My sister only wanted to go to work. She couldn’t find a caretaker who would take my niece for any length of time. Did Ms. MBA figure out that the kid needed help and that she might need to spend more time making sure that my niece got it? What? Interrupt her career?

My sister told me that she had decided to have a baby to save her first marriage. The kid was obligated before she was even conceived.

When my brother made his putdown comment about my niece at our cousin’s funeral, my comeback was, “And I have a problem with a 38-year-old man who can’t see that a little girl is only acting out because negative attention is better than no attention at all. How else do you expect a two-year-old or three-year-old to comment on what is going on around her? Look at what her parents are engaged in with each other. That kid is crying for help.”

Getting back to the article that led this discussion, before the focus is on “what’s wrong with the child,” I hope the first investigation would be on, “What’s happening at home? What are the parents giving or not giving the child?”

Husband #2 also told me that they met at a group for parents who abuse their children. Her version was that they met at a group for parents who had a mutual interest in perhaps improving some of their parenting techniques.

I am very reluctant to see a P or S under every rock or tree. I’m sure that they’re there, but first, let’s eliminate all other possibilities – ESPECIALLY THE HOME ENVIRONMENT AND PARENTS – before pouncing on the kids and declaring them whatever. Stop labeling the kids unless the parents are proven not contributing to or causing the child’s behavior.

When my niece was little, every once in a while, my P sister would comment that my niece’s behavior reminded my P sister of how I acted when I was little. Really? Could that have been because you and our S mother were so much alike?

The difference was I had a father present who cared about me and provided support. My niece didn’t have that. Also, my parents stayed together and the home remained stable in that we didn’t move whereas my sister changed men and homes often. She even ended up living with and marrying the brother of husband #1, which makes her on her third marriage. In between marriages, there were other men because according to my sister, she “had the right to get laid.”

I’m always puzzled by statements like, “These kids probably come from troubled environments so let’s fix the kids.”

Hello? How about eliminating or fixing the sources of the trouble and making the environments better? Wouldn’t then, by default, the kids end up being better as well?

Of course, that’s not realistic because the schools can’t go around telling the parents what to do.


I wanted to add that looking to fix the toddlers, before addressing what is at home, is like looking at somebody who has broken out in a rash and deciding that the kid has bubonic plague while overlooking the possibility that kid might have the measles, allergies to something (meds or food,) chicken pox, or played in poison ivy the day before.

Then, it seems to me that the “experts/professionals” concentrate on the bubonic plague outbreak completely ignoring the more mundane and common possibilities for how the child is behaving.



What is the case load of child protective services? Off the wall given how strapped most states are for programs.

How effective can they be? How much real knowledge do they have before making any conclusions or recommendations?

Ox Drover

When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.


One would hope so.


I can talk anecdotally about impact of entering a bully environment from elementary school on. I was an assertive toddler, but because my learning point was that of an observer, I naturally tended to “play” by watching other toddlers play. But no other could was able to bully me in kindergarten.

At the age of 6 I went to elementary school. The new social situation needed some adaption, and took a lot of my mind away of immediate learning. We were too many kids for one classroom, so an etra teacher was hired and the class split in two groups after one month of elementary school. The initial teacher was probably either narcistic or a spath. In any case, he was the one who decided on the division and he wanted to keep his favorites, from better families, and those he deemed smart enough for himself. The less bright kids and those of poorer backgrounds were for the new teacher. Originally I was to be kept in his group (barely made it in his eyes), but some parents complained and I was switched with a kid not deemed smart enough in his eyes… I was the kid placed in the second group to keep up the facade that he wasn’t doing what he actually had done. We actually had a great teacher, and our group was super.

But our parents knew what had happened, in both groups, and several ended up pulling away their children by the next grade. We were to be reunited again into one group by the next schoolyear, when I was 7. Any of the kids I had known and befriended in kindergarten were gone. Some of the friends I made in that first year left too. The reunification was NOT pleasant. The first group assumed we were the “dumb” and “poor” ones because of that jerk of a teacher. Worse, we were to be taught by him in that year, and it was favoritism all over the place. He’s the teacher we had to draw those “what you want to when you grow up drawings” for. I had drawn a police woman and he told me during talk hour, with every child’s rapt attention, that wasn’t a job for women and girls, surely. I answered him “Sir, that’s role pattern.” I actually ended up being the second of the class at the end of the year. It was something none of the children believed, children I never felt comfortable with (both because I was more like a cat watching from a tree, and because of the stamp on my forehead by that guy). He did nothing against other kids telling me I was too stupid to be able to end up second of the class, that was normally the place of another girl (one of his faves of the first group). I didn’t know it at the time, but he resented that a kid showed him wrong, especially the kid of one of the pair of parents that cost him the school.

That’s right: my parents and other parents had made it impossible for him to remain at the school, once they had heard he planned to try and teach us every grade of elementary. Both the principal and him were replaced by the third schoolyear, and of course he knew he had lost against the parents by the time our year results came in.

But what he created as a stamp and division and separitism in the initial group made it an ugly environment. I wasn’t really bullied openly until the last two schoolyears, but in general ignored by classmates. I had no real friends, except one girl, who ended up being a fence sitter by the end of elementary and turned on me. I had hoped that things would be better at HS, a new environment, no stamp from the past. Of course it’s just worse, and by that time the stamp had become a part of me. I was socially totally insecure by then, and needy. Any girl that showed me kindness I clung to for reassurance that I was socially acceptable, until it became too much for them of course.

I felt a social retard until I was 15, and some girls of 16 at school showed genuine interest in me and started to take me out. I started to bloom socially afterwards. But this whole sordid history is parlty the groundlayer of my identity crisis when I was 24, and not until I was 27 did I realize I was a leader type. I was never a social retard, just careful initially, but once I feel safe I’m a true chatterbox and can connect easily.

It’s not all his fault I think though. I was in a way a risk of being ousted because I tended to put myself on the sideline already at that age, and the pestering games were totally beyond me. I often felt a lot of the otehr children were childish. I was a bit of an adult-child around them. I don’t think he was the cause of that. But he created the stamps, and made it an unsafe environment where pestering and bullying and ousting was acceptable and expected.

And because of that teacher I never realized the full extent of my intellectual capacities until I took the Mensa test when I was 28. I know he’d hate to learn of it.

After I graduated from my master industral design, my parents met him and other parents at some party. All their children of course had graduated from university or college, and they were exchanging very amically what had become of their children. Now these parents were others who had helped to make sure that teacher was transferred. My mom told me she had great satisfaction in waiting until he could overhear my what I had mastered in. She said he looked very sour and green afterwards. My mom’s never been a boaster, but I understand why she did in that instance.

I don’t believe intellectual intelligence is a reason to divide children socially, not at all, but admittedly it was something I strove to prove myself to be for a long time as a kid, because I had been labelled with the stamp “dumb” because of him.

I think we all grow up with traumatizing baggage, some heavier and more destructive than the other. People here have grown up with abusive families, neglected; Others have been bullied and ostracized at school. It affects us, handicaps us by making us insecure and damage our self image. With others, like children who are genetically disadvantaged it brings out the worst, and with others it eventually makes them overcome it all and makes them stronger in the long run… and some people cannot carry the load and buckle underneath it. 🙁

Send this to a friend