By | July 18, 2010 21 Comments

When good parenting isn’t enough

There was a time when mental health professionals were trained to see children as intrinsically good until influenced otherwise. If kids came out bad, the parents were to blame.

That attitude is changing, writes Dr. Richard A. Friedman, a professor of psychiatry in Manhattan. In reality, parents have limited power to influence their children.

Read Accepting that good parents may plant bad seeds, on

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Ox Drover

It is good that at least SOME “experts” are recognizing that even the best parents do not “guarentee” a good outcome on their children and even the WORST parents can have good kids.

The old “the child is a blank slate on which environment writes” ideas slowly (too slowly!) fading from the world but still some therapists etc. seem to condemn the parent entirely when the child “goes bad”— Even IF the child was a “blank slate” a parent is not the only one who writes on that wall.

In fact, I see some VERY NEGATIVE cultural influences on the youth of the world. Lyndey Lohan is an example right now, not that she had “great parents” because she probably didn’t, but she is definitely NOT a good role model for the nation’s young people….neither is Mel Gibson, OJ, or John Edwards.

When the media “stars” and the wealthy and politically and financially connected are idolized for being sexually promiscious, cheating, and law breaking the society as a whole goes down hill on a “bobsled.”

While I certainally don’t agree with the Taliban, I do agree that a country or culture should have SOME MORAL COMPASS. There should be some social sanctions for bad behavior and poor and destructive choices.

Even psychopaths have CHOICES in how they behave. Not everything can be blamed on the parents.


Wow…this is a very new proposition. Children ‘come in ‘ with their own biological energetic components regardless of ‘parenting’, they are already hard wired to behave a certain way….then my gut response is…. parents “should” concentrate on their own lives not their childrens……let’s stop feeling guilty now!!! it’s good news and will put the onus on the child not the parents, let the human being with the behaviour be responsible for it regardless of what caused it.

Ox Drover

NOT a NEW concept, just getting more publicity now that the crapolla about “kids being a blank slate” finally was seen for the UNtruth that it is. Genetics do play a part, and so does environment, but you can’t make a silk purse out of a genetic sow’s ear! There are some kids that just are going to CHOOSE to be evil. Hey, we know who they are and how they operate don’t we?

Yes, I think we should do the best we can to give our kids a good raising, but I don’t think we should blame ourselves for every choice they make….they may tend to have a personality that makes them not care or connect, but they do know what they are doing is evil by the world’s standards, they just don’t care or see a need to care so they CHOOSE to break the laws of man and God without any problems with guilt or shame.


Yes, putting the focus back on the child’s accountability and responsibility…in other words parents need to get a life and stop feeling hi jacked by their older kids behaviour….if parents did the best they could do then it is essential they let go of their child’s destiny and stop feeling guilty for what is after all their child’s actions not theirs….

Ox Drover

I agree totally. By the time the kids are going on teens in my opinion the basic personality is set….the “rebellion” stage of the teenaged years is a thing that brings out the “worst” in many kids, but in the ones that will be reasonable adults, they “get over” the attitudes of being “know it alls” the ones who are destined to make choices that are psychopathic in nature don’t seem to get out of this egocentric stage.

I admit it is difficult to tell the differences between normal rebellion and the showing up of psychopathic traits which are also egocentric and less empathetic to others than most functional adults would have, but it is important I think that we as parents recognize that we cannot take 100% credit for the good kids or damnation for the bad ones.

We may at best have been able to INFLUENCE your children, and to form a friendship with them. You may have modeled good behavior and a moral compass for them, but they are the ones who CHOOSE how they will think and act.

Mostly I didn’t “blame” myself for son P’s failure, but I did think I could FIX it if I worked hard enough….but of course, that was magical thinking. No easter Bunny, no Santa Claus, and no fixing the choices and attitudes of others. Sorry, Charlie, can’t be done.


When I was getting to know so-called husband spath, he relayed a story that when he was six years old he wanted to shoot and kill his stepfather. He said he actually asked the stepfather for the weapon, but of course the guy never gave it to him. Six years old! When I asked about his relationship with his mother he was real vague. He just said that some relationships are best kept apart. I couldn’t get too much information from him about his family. He also had a problem in school. Didn’t finish high school, said he hated school. It wasn’t until somebody pointed out that he might be sociopathic, that I actually began to look it up. I was absolutely horrified while doing research that he had similar background (from what I could get), career desires and other personality traits as the Kenneth Bianchi.

I don’t know whether it was nature vs. nuture with this spawn of satan, but I know I’m not staying around to find the heck out!!!!!

What gets me the most is WHY I let that information just fly on by me. Why I didn’t I put two and two together? I’m working on these questions to ensure that whatever it is doesn’t happen again.

Ox Drover

Dear Healingfast,

Part of it is that we can’t relate to how they think…as predators. Because we have a conscience we think somehow they must as well.

There are a lot of people who want to know how much nature vs nurture it is, and it seems reasonable to think that it is a combination of both. There is little doubt though that there is a definite genetic component, but there are several variables as well, and other additional “problem” genetics things that go along with it, including Bi-polar and ADHD, which the sociopath can have all three….and each makes the other worse….and there are of course different “degrees” of behavior from bad to HORRIBLE….plus add in culture, social class and ideas, poverty or wealth, intelligent or dumb, drugs and/or booze, and you have a “stew” that can be quite toxic—and violent.

Why you let the information fly by you? Well, we all did for various reasons…we were raised to feel responsible for others happiness, to be enablers, or insecure enough we felt we didn’t deserve better….there are any number of reasons “why?” we didn’t listen or pay attention to our guts, but THAT lesson will be very important to us in the future as we use it to protect ourselves from a repeat session with another abuser.

I see that I had never learned to set boundaries with those close to me or in my family or circle of friends…folks outside that circle, but NOT inside that circle. I also realize in retrospect that there were bad choices I made with enabling, and other bad choices for healthy relationships. Without ME having good boundaries and enforcing them I was not likely to have healthy relationships…I was fortunate that my late husband and I had a good relationship but it was just LUCK not what I did or didn’t do I think. Even now, I can look back and see where I could have improved it if I had better boundaries with my egg donor and my P-son, as well as son C.

When we develop good boundaries we end up changing the dynamics of all our relationships, but the good ones get better, and the others go away.


There is a good commentary piece about this article at

That commentary has a comment that I think also applies to conversations on here sometimes:

It shouldn’t surprise us that you can’t always (or ever) untangle the complex entwinement of nature and nurture? Nature and nurture isn’t an either-or or even a ping-pong game. It’s a conversation in which both are simultaneously talking and listening to one another. You can’t separate the effect. Each depends on the other for its salience: genes mean nothing without experience; experience can’t exist without genes. Life is complicated.


There is some stubborn magical thinking still alive in me that is eternally grieving for the fact I could not love him enough or find a way to turn him into a breathing loving human being! I will be so much better off when I realise I do not hold the power to change another human being whether it’s my son, daughter, partner, mother etc

love conquers all…love is all you need…love will find a way…love lift us up….the love of a good woman….all these lovism are potentially lethal if you are living with a P or a spath

I think the kind of love I weild today can walk away from abuse and say no, can allow everyone their own lessons and can nurse myself back from the edge that the P nearly pushed me off. The kind of love I feel growing inside could protect me from harm, and is so tough that I could pick up a weapon and kill in self defense…and yet it is still love?

I’m still not clear on the abuse thing, because the P came across as loving, generous, attentive, humorous, kind at the beginning. He was the prize I had hoped for. He was everything I ever dreamed of in a man…The abuse came WITH all the good qualities..the abuse even was the good qualities because He used the act to reel me in…so now it’s not only abuse you can see but also abuse that you cannot see..head wreck City

I would be 10 times more suspicious of his “nice qualities” today. He was too good to be true. He was a charmer and I felt under a trance…all these ‘symptoms’ feel like descriptions of falling in love

so it’s a thin line between feeling entranced and in love….beware of the trance like obedience, the following him to the ends of the earth, the waiting on the call, the obsession like glory of it all…signs are its a chemical reaction to a PREDATOR…stunned into submission like a rabbit in the headlights, to be used as an energy boost for a very very dead person…

it’s like somewhere along the horrible line you “wake up” to find him munching your leg off, then you have to get up very quick and kind of haul yourself to the nearest hospital…. lol


BP – bravo, what you have articulated so well is so close to what is inside me. of course mine has a diff spin because of the nature of the con – but….

i think i dragged myself through the woods with that bleeding leg first. maybe i am at the hospital now. i know that when i think of being touched with (real) kindness i melt – i know there is a letting down of the battlements coming. i felt a bit of it yesterday. i spent some considerable time ministering to my various ailments yesterday and i could feel some of the pressure come off, some softening within myself. today is painful again, and work so no time to work the kinks out of this body. but time will come again, and with grace so will an easing.


one step

love and light as you heal xx

Ox Drover

BP. One is right, you articulated that very well. Makes sense too. Takes time to learn to trust and different situations. The Love at first sight and jumping in IMMEDIATELY WITH BOTH FEET I think is a big red flag.


I think we expect too much from P/S/N/A’s. Just the fact that they KNOW right from wrong “intellectually” is not enough for them to DO the right thing. They just CAN’T . . . genetically.
By analogy . . how many times have dieters eaten “that piece of cake” or “gone on a binge etc”
They KNEW it was fattening etc. but couldn’t help themselves.
The smokers KNOW they can get lung cancer . .but can’t help themselves.
I think for P/S/N/A it’s the same thing . . KNOWING what is right, is not enough to stop them. Because it’s a compulsion, addiction, obsession & genetic.

I think it is incombent upon US to take action. .we have to remove ourselves from their influence i.e., “NO CONTACT” to the extent that we can. They are predators, and they can’t and won’t change. It’s not because they don’t want to . . . They can’t!


Thanks Ox!

You’re right. I do have to find that lesson for myself. I’ve been doing that slowly but surely. I have also realized that my boundaries are a little too fluid. Frankly, I’m a residual people pleaser. Not as bad as I once was, but still bad enough to allow someone in my life that was abusive. I gave this alien control over my life, because I really wanted to be rescued. I wanted someone else to be responsible for caring for me. I figured this was a result of having to take on too adult responsibilities at a very young age. So I always felt I just wanted to be taken care of. I realize that now. I have to take responsibility for my own life.

Ox Drover

Dear Healingfast,

Yers, and I am finding too that it takes PRACTICE to accomplish. I get to feeling like I am “ALL HEALED” and I jump off and tackle something and lo and behold! I realize I am too confident in my own “healing” and I get my “tit in a wringer” over it. But if we weren’t willing to fall down, none of us would ever have learned to WALK!

We have to learn by doing, and by mistakes, and then do better next time. Takiing time to examine ourselves and the results we get is important. So be easy on yourself but do assess your failures and your successes for some feed back.

Not a new concept, but not a currently poplular one. Let’s just hope it forwards a trend in thinking differently from how we have when it comes to nature vs. nurture.

Some people are just born without the nuerological ability to attach to other living, feeling beings. While nurture can influence how it manifests, nature has determined it will one way or another.

It is hereditary and, for now, incurable and for the most part, untreatable.

I think of my dear mother, who passed in 2007 leaving behind 2 daughters. Not the perfect parent, but a good & loving woman who genuinely overcame many odds having lived a tough life and still smiling and caring and giving of herself until it hurt, and then some. A very smart lady, but no match for the sociopath whom she birthed in her second-born, nor was I, even though I’m no dummy, either.

My socio sister hoodwinks family members to this day. She has played on complaints our uncles have had against my mother for years, solidifying their belief that their sister was a main root of all the family dysfunction, effectively deflecting responsibility from herself. Looking back, I see now how my sister has been doing this successfully since early childhood.

No, Mom wasn’t perfect. But she didn’t create the sociopath, genes did. And ironically, it wasn’t even her genes, but those of the narcissist whom she wed and who abandoned his family.

Ox Drover

Yea, sib, that is the thing, the N/P is the gift that keeps on giving (genetically) in leaving us children to cope with that have the tendency toward psychopathy. EVen unto the next generation. “The sins of the fathers…. even unto the third generation” but yet, they are not compelled to be evil I believe they have some choice, just like a person who has “alcoholic genes” can choose not to drink and express those genes. It may be more difficult for him than for me, but he still has I think a CHOICE. Same with Ps I think they have a choice how they behave. They have a choice to not express the BAD BEHAVIOR even if they are tempted to do so. They know right from wrong. Just as the alcoholic who drinks his pay check away knows what he is doing is “wrong” but he chooses to do it anyway. Choice may not always be easy, and each of us has our own cross to bear….my drug of choice is nicotine but I finally made up my mind and quit smoking.

Hi, OxDrover.

Indeed, they certainly do have choices as to how to behave.
Unfortunately, however, unlike others who suffer such maladies as addictions — who also have choices, as you point out — they have no inherent motive to make “good” or “right” choices.
Therefore, unless & until there is a treatment or cure, it is left to the rest of us to empower & protect ourselves, as we do here on Lovefraud, and as I’d like to see perpetuated in a broad public awareness movement.


For a normal person that has an addiction, his compulsion /addiction/disorder etc. usually hurts themselves (binging, smoking, cutting, drugging) . .as well as other people.
For a P/N/S/A, their addition/compulsion etc to lying, exploiting, raging etc . . . hurts the OTHER person, and BENEFITS themselves. And having no conscience . . what incentive does the P/S/N/A have to alter his/her behavior?

Ox Drover

Sarah, some things they do that hurts others, WE can’t see a benefit for the psychopath who does it, but they have motivations we do not have, they perceive some things (rewards) that would not be rewards to us. Power, dominance, etc. So it is difficult to say what they are getting out of it. They sure do not care how badly it hurts the victim though.

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