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11 year old sociopath
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bluesixx posted:
is it possible for a child of that age to be diagnosed as a sociopath? any help i can get on this would be great...i'm writing a paper for one of my classes.
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GnSwoosh responded:
Yes. Haven't you heard of serial killers' early lives of torturing animals and other kids, smaller than them? Read about Gacy and Dahmer and those guys' early childhood.
 
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Ruby46 responded:
Here's a thought:

While Dahmer and Gacy exhibited psychopathic behavior at a young age (torturing smaller children, animals; setting fires), I think you're asking for a more subtle behavior.

Sociopaths tend to lack empathy (like psychopaths) but they may not exhibit the pleasure in other people's pain that psychopaths do. Sociopaths typically engage in behavior that gets them a short-term benefit: they rob the Circle K so they have enough money for beer for the night. They also tend NOT to learn from their errors. They might become more proficient robbers, but they don't learn that robbery will land them in jail over and over.

I think you're looking for a child "Bad Seed." Have you read that novel? It's a fictionalized story of a child sociopath. This child murders another child to cover a small misbehavior that might get her in trouble. It's clear from the end of the story that the child has no capacity to care about how many people she might have hurt in order to keep herself out of trouble. That's a true sociopath. She doesn't seek out and murder other people for the sheer pleasure of it. She simply does what she has to do to increase pleasure (doing what she wants to do) and decrease pain (prevent punishment for bad behavior).

There are many of these children. Look at stories from the Chicago Tribune from the late eighties. There was a child raised in the Cabrini Green projects who, at age ten, committed murder. He has a lot of company. Over the years, there have been many children who have committed horrifying violence. They tend to be children who have been abandoned by incompent, uninterested parents and have been left to the devices of gangs. These children are useful as drug couriers or lookouts because they can't be charged as adults.

I think a lot of mental health professionals would be loathe to diagnose a child as a sociopath and would attempt to treat these children and introduce emotion and empathy into their lives. For example, a lot of young boys who were recruited as child soldiers in Africa have been reintroduced to society and "cured' of their sociopathic impulses. These were children who were taught to murder and rape other people at a young age, an act which would seem to create a sociopath. And yet some of these child soldiers successfully leave that life behind and rejoin their communities.
 
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mizruth responded:
I wouldn't want you to be left with the impression that only black children from the inner city or Africa are prone to be sociopaths, I recommend reading up on the case of Eric M. Smith who, at the age of 13, murdered a four-year-old playmate and committed with some pretty unspeakable acts to the body after the fact.

This child is from the suburbs of upstate New York with apparently normal upbringing. Some of the reports went into some of his unusual physical characteristics as well as some environmental factors that may have contributed to his mindset.

Here are some links:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/12/10/48hours/main660314.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Smith_%28murderer%29


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