Does my child have psychopathic tendencies?(28 Posts)
Lovely boy, compliant and sweet. Very tall for his age and had been pushed in the playpark a couple of time, he was distressed by this. I sent him to playgroup one morning a week for the last month of summer term (he was 2.9). The other kids were familiar with each other and DS followed some kids about and was shunned, again very distressed, not keen to go back but I sent him, he was ok on the day after a while of settling, I regret this.
Lately at the same playgroup (3 days a week), I have been called in a few times to talk about his behaviour, he has been pushing and poking other kids. I love that playgroup, they are so attentive and caring. They have been watching him with a clipboard recording all the incidents, they believe it is adult attention seeking and aren't giving him any when he hurts someone, all the kids have been taught to say 'Stop, I don't like that' and DS has been treated the same as the others, no naughty step or singling him out.
The bit that concerns me the most is that they think he derides pleasure from this. He also shows no empathy or remorse.
Is he just very young? Still developing? (has low tone, late developer in that area) or was the empathy bit of his brain rewired from earlier incidents? I'm clearly clutching at straws, don't want a bully for a son, he has a loving home life, he's lovely at home generally, bit rough with the dog, bit defiant, but seemingly happy.
What can I do? Obviously stop googling for one!
So he's 3? No he doesn't sound like he has 'psychopathic tendencies', he sounds like he has some behavioural issues that need to be managed
Have you discussed his behaviour with a HV/GP?
He's so young, please don't worry about this OP. The empathy part of his brain hasn't developed yet.
Kids don't understand empathy or remorse, that's why parents say stuff like 'it's not nice to hit, go and say sorry to Johnny'.
Please don't worry too much, it sounds like the play school are dealing with it and I'm sure it's a phase.
Sounds completely normal issues and you are describing things that most children do at one time or another during their childhood. Behavioural issues that need addressing not psychopathic tendencies. Children are born 'self centred' and as they grow they develop empathy and compassion and are able to relate to others, that's why when they are little they don't play with other children they play alongside them, it's called parallel play. This is why play groups/ nurseries are important as they teach children to socialise and share etc.
I think you might have been reading MN too much, posters often describe others as having psychopathic tendencies on here, it's laughable
A child showing pleasure from hurting another is more than likely attention seeking as even negative attention is so ill attention- I'm surprised the nursery doesn't know this. Have they suggested a plan forward and how to work together ?
If you look up the diagnostic criteria for psychopathic or sociopathic personality you'll find most 2 and 3 year olds tick a lot of the boxes
STILL not so ill in my earlier post.
Sorry if I sounded a bit unsympathetic in my earlier post-it wasn't intentional. 3 year olds often lack empathy and remorse. They don't understand that their actions can have an effect on others. My 3 year old last year pulled a worm apart to see what would happen and deliberately stepped on the dog's tail for the same reason. I was a but worried as my older DD never did anything like that! However, a chat with my GP calmed me down. Positive reinforcement has worked for her and it's been months since she deliberately hurt another child or animal.
he isnt even 3 yet so that all sounds normal
his height could be 'to blame' as people think of him as older. keep reminding them of his age
most kids of this age show 'signs of psycopathy'. they do not generally feel true empathy at this stage, their selfishness is often all-consuming.
i'd say he has behavioural issues NOT mental health issues. please do NOT pursue any kind of diagnosis or chemical treatment until you have tried simple, safe 'training' and teaching.
Sounds normal. My son sometimes pokes others and laugh if they cry (pretend). Sometimes he will even say 'cry' so that he can have a good little giggle. Over the years I have seen many of the kids in my family laugh when others seem to be hurt by their pinches and pokes. None are psychopaths (well as far as I aware ). Stop worrying. You have probably created a problem that exists only in your mind.
I don't get that they aren't giving him attention when he does it. I hate all this 'must not reward with attention' crap. So what if he feels insecure and wants a cuddle. Maybe he is overwhelmed and it comes out like this.
I think he needs some more attention from them, not less
" I love that playgroup, they are so attentive and caring."
If I read your OP correctly, this is the same playgroup at which your son was shunned in summer?
"They have been watching him with a clipboard recording all the incidents"
And did they record the other children shunning him? Did they call the other parents in?
Following him around with a clipboard sounds very distressing for him. Basically he is being watched by an adult who is waiting for him to fuck up. He will be aware of this, he's not stupid. So he might as well just do it to get it out of the way. This type of monitoring causes children great anxiety and any child psychologist worth their salt would be very against this type of 'monitoring'
What they should be doing is getting down to his level and modelling the correct way to interact and play.
Think about it this way, if your boss was sat behind you with a clipboard while you were at a computer, watching you and waiting for you to make a mistake, how would you feel? What would you do.
I would be very tempted just to slam the keyboard down and laugh and walk off just to relieve the tension.
I wouldn't, because I am a fully grown, developed, fully functioning human being.
Your little boy is a tiny person just learning how to behave in the world, how is he supposed to deal with this?
"i'd say he has behavioural issues NOT mental health issues. please do NOT pursue any kind of diagnosis or chemical treatment until you have tried simple, safe 'training' and teaching."
Lots of kids have issues, they may just have not learnt the rules or have a disability that means learning the rules is harder. It's very difficult to tell at 3. In the UK asking your doctor for help will not lead to drugs being prescribed as a first step in cases like this. GPs can help, and can refer to specialists or recommend parenting courses or just reassure.
I'm not sure that this pre-school is as lovely as that, following a child around with a clipboard doesn't sound a good use of time. Denying him attention doesn't sound necessarily good either. Ideally they should be alert and looking for triggers and trying to distract and prevent the consequences.
What are the other children like? Are there a lot of girls? Are they mainly older? Are there any other boys like him?
What other opportunities has he had to mix with other children? Toddler groups, music with mummy type groups, junior sports, gym? Has he had play dates?
I don't like your son's nursery. They follow him around with a clipboard writing down all the mistakes he makes? They teach the other children that your child is a wrong'un and how to 'protect themselves' from him? They tell you they think he enjoys hurting the children? WT actual F? If they write down incidents, it is fir a couple if days to identify triggers or patterns so they can teach your son any lagging skills (eg how to share). They then work proactively with HIM, not reactively with the rest of the kids making an 'anti baby blox' gang. FFS they have got you questioning if your 3 year old is a psychopath. This is really upsetting me. What is the nursery doing to help your child, or are they only engaged in ganging up against him and vilifying him?
Cheese- I would agree that he needs positive attention but it sounds like he's craving it through behaving in a negative way as that's a sure fire way to get a reaction. Lots of the time children need a hug when they deserve it the least.
I was expecting OP to say 'Just found piles of decapitated animals under ds 10 bed, he also seems to enjoy waking us up in the night usually wielding a knife at our throats, of course he just laughs and says its a joke".
He's three, so still quite young. If he starts decapitating small animals then start to worry.
At three they still haven't quite figured out what other people are for (beyond food, entertainment, wiping bottoms and changing clothes).
Thanks v much for all your replies, very reassuring.
I would defend the nursery to the death btw, they were amazing with DD two years ago and have an fantastic way with children.
The clipboard thing was exaggerated, they are keen to find his triggers as obvs they don't want kids to be hurt and they want to help me iron this out. They never make anything obvious, they explain at circle time what to say if ANYONE is aggressive to them. The shunning last term was a couple of other kids (the nursery was full then, not so much now) and they devoted a lot of time to him when he was distressed.
So I'm going to stop freaking out (I do this, I blame google and my own MH issues). I'm going to work with his nursery and sort out his behavioural issues. He's well socialised with toddler groups and play dates. It's just a phase, thanks again.
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