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.

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32 Comments on "Intervention for troubled toddlers"

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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. 🙁

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