Animal cruelty, Conduct Disorder?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by brucefamilyvalues, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. brucefamilyvalues

    brucefamilyvalues New Member

    So, I have a six year old boy (a fraternal twin), this past summer he stepped on a mouse and killed it and laughed (we are rural). He got into trouble and I called animal control and reported what he did and asked them to talk to him. Today, our toy poodle (16 week old puppy) was in his crate and my son was in front talking to him and then I heard the dog yalp. I asked my son what happened and he admitted, he had pressed the dogs tongue against the wires for the dog crate door and hurt him. I asked him why and he said he just thought about doing it and didn't think past that point. He does have discipline issues in school and it takes more strict and constant discipline than his twin (night & day difference) and we do have issues with him breaking toys and things because he "wanted to see what would happen". Should I be as very and extremely concerned as I am? To me this is cuelty to animals but I don't know if I'm being overly concerned. Help! is it ODD, CD, animal cruelty?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The first thing I'd do is be kind to the poodle and rehome it.

    No, I don't think you are overreacting, especially since he expressed no concern or remorse. I would be extremely worried too as there are three big signs in child that often lead to antisocial personality disorder in adults...cruelty to animals, fire setting/intrigue with fire, and peeing and pooping in inappropriate places. Certainly in my opinion you need to keep him from the animals at all times. Stepping on the mouse and laughing is in my opinion a big red flag, but not sure for what. It would scare me. Did this twin have a difficult birth?

    I have no answers, but just want to make sure the puppy is safe. Unfortunately, some difficult children can not exist with animals.

    You may want to give us some info on his genetic background, including birthfather, even if birthfather has never lived with you. He carries 50% of both your genes. They are beginning to find genetic links in criminal behavior. However, your boy is young. I'd get him into a psychiatrist like yesterday. Good luck!
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome--

    Yes, I would be EXTREMELY concerned about the cruelty to animals. If you choose to keep animals, I would never leave this boy unsupervised with any of them.

    Has he ever been seen by a neuropsychiatrist?
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm well aware that it doesn't matter from the animal's perspective, but having grown up with all male brothers and cousins, I see cruelty to animals as falling into two categories: stupid unthinking and/or uncaring boy behaviors and cruel actions in conjunction with other problems. The latter I consider red flag territory necessitating further attention by parents and specialists.

    About the boy behaviors--while growing up in the country I saw my brothers and cousins (all who were growing up in animal loving homes) do some pretty stupid stuff. Once a couple of them put the cat on a blanket, grabbed the corners, and lofted the cat up and down a few times. Once one of my brothers disected a live tadpole, out of curiousity, not deliberate cruelness. Another time one of my cousins was with a group of his buddies and they caught a **** and put a lit firecracker in its mouth, and all had a good laugh about it. None of these actions was the least bit kind to the animals involved, but these were pretty isolated incidents. None of the boys involved had or currently do have mental illnesses.

    When I would be automatically concerned is when animal cruelty is extreme (ie drowned the family dog without remorse) or repetitive.

    I'd also probably be seeking out professional answers if
    -the child is exhibiting other very quirky or unusual behaviors,
    -has other behavioral problems that are causing serious functioning problems at home, school and/or with friends,
    -was adopted
    -has a strong history of mental health problems in the biological family
    -and/or has grown up in an unstable home environment

    Do any of those apply?

    How is he getting along with other people in the home and at school?

    Developmentally has he always been on target?
  5. agee

    agee Guest

    I am no expert nor have I been around the block as much as these fine people, but I am the mom of 2 boys, I also live in the country, and I think it's a fine line between "boy" behavior and worrisome behavior.
    My son loves our dogs. But he also does unthinking things to them in the name of that love. He is very physical with them and I don't think purposefully mean, but he certainly has hurt them at times. He's sat on them, pulled them around by their front feet (both our dogs are smallish) and pulled their ears so they'd look at him and lick him. If the dogs acted scared of him I'd be worried, but they don't so I try not to worry.
    He killed a chick we were raising in our bathtub (don't ask!) but he was trying to put it in its "nest" - the soap holder - and it fell and broke its neck. He wouldn't admit he did it but he also cried and cried. He felt bad.
    He also had a day care provider that taught him to smash bugs at about age 2. This is not something we do in our house (except for ticks, squash bugs, fat grubs,and japanese beetles, which are fair game for feeding to the chickens OR smashing - I'm a gardener) and it took years to get him to stop. He also "collects" earthworms, which I think is cruel to the worms as he'll put them in his pockets and forget about them, but again - this is not him being cruel on purpose but simply thoughtless. I remind him again and again that they are living creatures. I'm hoping it'll sink in sometime!
    So I guess I'm not sure what to tell you. Keep an eye out for it. Keep reminding him that animals, bugs, etc. are living beings, just like him. For some kids empathy develops later than others.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Accidentally hurting aniamls is very different from deliberately doing it.