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Cases of violent children have become rampant prompting a lot of research and studies directed towards unravelling the reason behind violence, some of which are extreme at such tender ages. The author gives an example of two children who launched a violent attack in their school killing a teacher and four little girls. The motive suggested for one of the child's behavior is that he was jilted by a girl. These two children were only thirteen and eleven years old. This is quite a young age for a child to exhibit such extreme violent behaviors, they were so young yet they killed with a finely honed sense of premeditation. If I was a child psychologist like the author I would definitely be inspired by this event trying to make sure I found out the exact cause of violent behaviors as such in children who are very young. The author reflects on a case he had dealt with some years back which he points out is what drives him to wanting to really establish what the reason could be for violent behaviors among children.
Children as a species set apart
There are two very important reasons as to why psychologists have to carefully examine antisocial children. I agree with these two reasons; first, youthful offenders are a serious social problem as evidence shows that though violent crime is generally dropping it is increasing among the young people. The second and most important reason is that antisocial behavior in a child in most cases lays a foundation for a lasting pattern of criminality in adults and that the older a child is at the time they are discovered and approached for behavioral change, the lesser the chances if any of being able to make modifications in his behavior. If children who are violent change their behavior when at puberty then this would be something out of the norm hence would attract a lot of interest. When it comes to crime, it is quite unfortunate that seriously antisocial children share many personality traits with adult criminal psychopaths. Childhood criminality is a great social destructor and to fully understand the magnitude of this we have to acknowledge that violent, antisocial children are likely to become very rebellious people in society. I agree that young psychopaths constitute a significant portion of children who become serious criminals. These children do not commit crime due to rage against a machine or poverty they do it become they love it. When they are thrown into prison they come out bigger criminals as compared to how they went into prison. In most cases they are motivated by the fact that they have a slaking of impulse sensation, dominance, power and subjugation of other people.
I agree that kid criminals commit crime for the fun of it since the crimes make a lot of sense to all of them. However a very important point to note is that not all those who commit crimes are psychopaths some of them are stupid children who are drifting along a bad crowd, cowards who are seeking a group they will be sheltered under for protection or even lonely children who have been neglected but gang leaders are themselves psychopaths.
Psychopaths and psychotics are two terms which are often confused and used interchangeable but quite erroneously. It is true that other than both of them beginning with psych-they have nothing else in common and in some sense they are polar opposites.
Psychotics are those people who suffer from serious mental disorders of emotion and thought which are probably biologically triggered. Common psychoses include schizophrenias which is a group of diseases which can be acute or chronic. Schizophrenics suffer confusion, delusions, hallucination, withdrawal, depression, anxiety and so on. It is thought that schizophrenic people are less violent as compared to normal people but this is not true as their delusions often direct them to harm people. There is also a subsample of murderous adolescents whose crimes are as a result of psychosis, they exhibit symptoms of adult psychotic murderers such as hallucinations, paranoia, delusions and so on. Those suffering from other primary psychotic classification like manic-depression also exhibit behaviors like those of psychopathy.
The psychotics are people who are thought to be crazy and if they remain untreated they might end up exploding and do some socially unacceptable things. However it is important to note that they are generally too disorderly to plan, plot or even calculate repetitive felonies. They are also very cognitively fragmented such that they can not achieve any kind of stable career habitual crime being one of them.
Psychopathy is very different from madness; commonly classified as a disorder of personality of character. It does not involve loss of reason or an increase in depression, anxiety or agitation. Contrary to all these psychopaths are usually lucid and free of anger, insecurities, inner doubt or even neurotic torment. Psychopathy is something that baffles psychologists and psychiatrists as stymied experts frequently do which they respond by rebelling. In psychology and psychiatry, biological explanations are usually centered around disrupted or insufficient levels of neurotransmitters called serotonin, however irregularities in serotonin are used to explain psychiatric symptoms from obsessive-compulsive behavior to psychosis, to depression and finally to psychopathy thus creating a neurochemical water basket that has no power of prediction or discrimination of individual disorders. Psychiatrics have the view that this is a disease which only physicians should treat.
Through research, there have been two distinct components of psychopathy that have been identified; impulsive aspect which features lack of self-control and failure to respond to long terms punishment or delay of gratification and high levels of thrill seeking and sensation. Secondly, the interpersonal aspect which features inflated self-esteem, callousness, pathological lying, detachment, unemotionally and lack of empathy. It is important for the components of psychopathy to be examined so as to tease out how they impact crime. Young psychopaths are a homogeneous group and they vary in terms of where they fall along interpersonal and impulsive dimensions. Those who are impulsive are more likely to be explosive while those who are interpersonal tend to commit cruel, cold and premeditated crimes. Though these variations of psychopaths exist psychopaths are people who are less variable compared to normal people.
Media violence as a scapegoat
Social problems often require long-term solutions but this does not mean that we should not seek short-term solutions to some of the severe juvenile crime. If public safety is the main goal then we have to be efficient by not using so much money in research and criminal activities that have no direct impact on rats of child criminality. An example is studies that are conducted on the factor which is often blamed for childhood criminality, the media violence. Each time crimes involving young criminals occur there is always a certain reaction; outrage is blamed on rising levels of violence portrayed on video games, televisions and motion pictures. However, there have been numerous studies that have come up with correlations and associations between media violence and aggressive behavior in children. This does not mean that childhood violence is only as a result of media violence which they are exposed to. Most people use media violence as a scapegoat when they try to find reason or explanations to violent criminal behavior in children.
Biological explanations of psychopathic behaviors are quite frightening since biological determinism flies in face of concepts like free will and social rehabilitation and raises a terrifying specter of the bad seed which is immutable. We have to understand that simply because something manifests itself on a hormonal, cellular or biochemical level it does not mean that its origins in the inborn hormonal, cellular or biochemical processes. I agree that biology can modify the environment and…[continue]
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