Potential Sociopathic behaviour of a 12 yr old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Vicky age 37, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Vicky age 37

    Vicky age 37 New Member

    I have concerns about my 12 year old stepson. He was assessed by a psychiatrist aged 10 as due to lack of empathy his primary school suspected possible autism. During his session when asked to draw a picture, he drew Freddy Kruger and wrote the nursery rhyme from the same film. Unfortunately, his mother has allowed him access to films of this nature from a young age. He is not autistic, however some concerning personality traits remain.

    He has an 11 year old brother who he taunts relentlessly, and often slyly. He lies easily to avoid punishment, or just to get his own way. When I confront him on this, he shows no embarrassment or guilt. I have a 3 year old son with his father, and although I have never seen him cruel to my son, he plays with him in such a way that brings out negative behaviour from my son for the whole time he is here. He can enter a room and get a rise out of everyone somehow. He is very difficult to like or be around. Since my son is now old enough to play and talk a lot more, I have seen him encouraging my son to hit a 5 year old boy and and make him cry, goading my son who knows no better, and upsetting the 5 year old who knows better than to hit back. He found this amusing. He also encourages my son to 'get' his 11 yr old brother. I now will not let him be with my 3 yr old unless I am there as I have concerns.

    He is getting in trouble at school, but has no regard for punishment, and has just walked out of his detention without any regard for the teacher sitting there. He is bored easily, and has no other interest apart from computer games, usually violent ones. He lacks respect for adults, and is at ease speaking to adults and is usually cheeky to the point of overstepping the mark. A lot of this could be due to his upbringing, however the 11yr old child is polar opposite, understands boundaries, and shows signs of empathy, remorse, guilt and embarrassment.

    Unfortunately, I feel a lot of his personality traits are inherited from his mother. She is a compulsive liar, sometime bordering on the ridiculous, can't hold down a relationship, has anger issues, and is never at fault for anything. She is one of life's victims, that thinks it is appropriate to tell her children she might have breast cancer, even though she was yet to have tests and there was nothing wrong with her when she did.

    I have done a lot of online research on sociopathic personalities, and feel this explains so many of the issues we have experienced with both him and his mother. My husband does not want to think about psychiatric evaluation, even though his high school have recommended this, and I am concerned he is burying his head when I have grave concerns. How do I broach this subject when it is not my son, and I am in no position to diagnose him on an albeit very strong feeling I have.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It's really hard to tell at this age. I'd lean toward autism/Asperger's in the meantime, since they can do interventions. Problem is, if his mother is a compulsive liar, and she let her kids watch violent shows, she's not going to care or do anything about it. What a shame.
    Do you have medical custody so you can take him to a therapist and work on individual behaviors? For example, even though he doesn't "care" if he is punished, I bet he'd care if you took away his video games. For example, "From now on, the next time you goad your brother, you will lose an hour of video games." You will have to take the controller and other devices. He will fight you but stick to it.
    He will learn that certain behaviors elicit other behaviors.
    Even sociopaths can follow rules.
  3. Vicky age 37

    Vicky age 37 New Member

    Unfortunately until my husband realises there is an issue, he is very reluctant to go down the therapy route. Good advice on the video games, will see how that goes this weekend! Thanks for replying.
  4. TiredSoul

    TiredSoul Warrior Mom since 2007

    I'm not sure I would jump to sociopath just yet. He sounds oppositional. Read up on ODD - oppositional defiant disorder. Even though many of us here think ODD is a garbage diagnosis - it at least describes the behavior well. The main idea here is that ODD is a placeholder for something else going on - but I am not so sure sociopath is it. Does he set fires, pee inappropriately, or anything like that?

    You are right to be concerned about his behavior affecting your 3 y.o.'s and it is probably a good idea for him not to be around the younger one if you are not there. I would take him for an evaluation if you can.

    Since you say this -
    I feel he was likely born this way and it is not just from bad parenting. Does he and the 11 y.o. have the same bio parents? Was there any chaos in the first year before his sibling came along? If so, could possibly be an attachment disorder.

    My son (almost 12) is similar and his diagnosis's are ADHD and ODD. He also has anxiety and possibly now depression. His behaviors are very oppositional and I wish I knew why he is that way. His younger brother is not. Could your step-son be anxious or depressed? ADHD? ODD?
  5. Vicky age 37

    Vicky age 37 New Member

    Thanks, had a quick read on ODD which had never heard of, it really seems to describe his behaviour. He does have the same bio parents as the 11 yr old, and did have to deal with parents splitting up by the time he was 2, unfortunately witnessing a lot of arguments I understand. This could all have something to do with his current state of mind. I need to push for his father to seek professional evaluation for him as I feel when he hits his teens it may be too late to rein him back in. Thanks for your reply.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Did your stepson have a very chaotic life his first three years? Lots of caregivers coming and going, maybe witnessed or had abuse, did birthmom use drugs during her pregnancy or drink? You could be looking at attachment disorder, depending on how severe his behaviors are. These kids do act like and are sociopaths in the making and they can be dangerous to you, animals or other kids in the house, especially as they get older.

    I am always iffy about blaming the entire child's behavior on one parent. My guess is that your hub did wrong things too, like allow child to live in chaos or contribute to it, if it happened. How soon did he have to adjust to his dad remarrying? Did mom remarry? In no way do I think you caused it. I'm just curious in order to see if Dad and Mom were good about waiting a long time for the kids to process the breakup before jumping into another one...which can cause insecurity in the kids. Those early years are sooooooo important.

    Is your stepson in any way violent or dangerous to himself or others or animals? Does his father understand that he needs to seek treatment right away before the teen years kick in? If he won't acknowledge the problems, even though the school can even see it, the future is grim for your whole family. Most of the time these types of kids get even worse when the hormones kick in. I wouldn't leave him alone with your son.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  7. Vicky age 37

    Vicky age 37 New Member

    I'm not sure if he had a chaotic life as an infant. His mum and my now husband fell pregnant within 3 months, and split by his first birthday, she was also pregnant with baby number 2 by then. It was all such a mess really. I met him when the second child turned one, and met them 6 months after that. They had both had other partners in the meantime, but don't think kids ever met them. Due to her refusal to let him have access, he had supervised access with them for a few months, of which I also attended, and they did not start staying over with us for another year or so, after plenty of day visits etc. (We live in different cities so fortnightly access is in place) we have now been together 10 years and they have seen him in nothing but a stable relationship since then. The same cannot be Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) of the mother who has had quite a few relationships, with 3 moving in over the past decade. I agree not all blame can be laid on her, although so many of his personality traits do mirror his mothers. I know it is difficult for me not to be biased, but I am an objective realistic person and have tried on many occasion to build a relationship with the mother to no avail. I feel my hands are tied with regards to getting him help as his mother sees no problem, and my husband I know finds the prospect devastating even though he knows there is an issue.
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The fact that he has a stable family, at least in YOUR house when he visits YOU, does not negate the fact that his first three years WERE chaotic. In fact a major loss of either parent in the home in the first three years can be a cause of attachment disorder. And he was introduced to new people early on so he did not have lots of stability during a time when the brain is developing quickly. And it doesn't sound like his mother's house has ever been stable for him and it also sounds like he is in her care more than yours. Not good.

    I don't know which country you live in. In the US, a mother can not keep a father away from his child. There are courts that will take care of that. I don't know if it is the same in your country. Some fathers don't want to fight with Mom so they let her call the shots, but your husband probably could have seen his child if he'd fought for that right. I'm assuming that even now this child is going back and forth from you to mom's house and does not have one place to hang his hat.

    I do not know if he has attachment disorder or attachment problems or not. Nobody wants to think it is because it is very hard to treat. These kids are the hardest ones to deal with and do not seem to have a conscience or care about anyone else. Sometimes they don't seem to even like us unless they want something from us, such as money for a toy. They can get violent. Some, if sexually abused, get sexual with other kids. But not all of them. All depends. I'm going to post a link and you can decide if you think there is something there or not. It's really up to you two to decide what to do. It's always good to know what you're dealing with, however. ODD sounds way too mild for his behavior and it is not a stand alone diagnosis. All the kids who come here start out with ODD behavior, but that is not usually their main problem. The attachment challenged children tend to behave like little antisocial personality disordered adults and, without hardcore treatment, can grow up to be one. Treatment is CRITICAL. The right kind of treatment...if he has it they do not respond to typical psychological methods or parenting methods, such as rewards/punishments. You'd need a specialist.

    Ok, here's the link. Read it and form your own opinion. I am sorry you are going through this, but it sounds like both mom and dad turned this kid's early life into Chaos City. He is lucky to have you.

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  9. Vicky age 37

    Vicky age 37 New Member

    Thanks so much for your response, I will have a good read of the link. My husband did fight to see the boys, but unfortunately it was a long process. (In the UK) His main home is his mothers, there is no confusion there and my husband has never let them down when he is due to have them for the weekend. We are very much in a situation were although my husband does his best, he is certainly not the one raising them, and it can be frustrating. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post. Wishing you health a and happiness.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Any discussions at home? Anything happening?
  11. Vicky age 37

    Vicky age 37 New Member

    Well, further to my initial, posts, he has been in further trouble at school for setting light to a girls hair. Not seriously thank god, he singed it. I'm not sure if it is high jinx getting out of hand, or something more sinister. I spoke to my husband about my concerns and really pushed for some professional help. I also suggested that due to him splitting with the mum when he was so young, witnessing arguments and the stress of it, this may be the cause of his behaviour. I think my husband is starting to take this seriously, but he is very 'old school' sometimes, and thinks discipline is the way forward. I do agree to some extent, but he doesn't learn from it. I spoke to the child myself this weekend asking him why, and asking how he felt about his actions. I'm no expert on anything like this, but thought open questions was some way to get some feedback. He has nothing to say in response, even smirked when I asked how he felt that he may not be coming away with us if his behaviour continues. I also asked if he was upset about anything, why he does it, and if he thought speaking to someone outside the family may help, no was the response. I will keep pushing for my husband to speak to the school and arrange some psychiatric help. He is 12 and I stressed how important this is before he is a teen.
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    There are three behaviors in a child that denote impending psychopathic behavior in children. I had an obviously very disturbed child living with me once who had every symptom to the extreme and some more. He did have reactive attachment disorder. These are the BIG THREE red flags. Unfortunately for us, often the child hides that he does these things. As I list them, I will tell you what we THOUGHT had really happened, when it had been this difficult child kid all along. He was great at charming adults. We learned this from some professionals after we had a dangerous kid in our house for three years. He was with us from age 11-13 and eventually charged in court and found guilty at age 13 of something he did in our home. It was not our idea to charge him with any crime. The county did it. Anyhow, this is called the McDonald Triangle.

    1/peeing and pooping in bed and in other inappropriate places or doing things like smearing feces on walls even in teens. (Now our kid peed and pooped all over the house...in closets, on the lawn, in the bath tub...we blamed it on a few rescue dogs that we had fostered.

    2/Fascination and fire play. You had that when your difficult child set this girl's hair on fire. That is not normal behavior at his age. Anyway, we never knew that this kid in our home played with fire, but he had stolen a lighter from Walmart per my other children and he would set little fires on his carpeting all the time, telling them that he was the Devil and if he ever told their Dad and Mom what he did (there were many things he did), he'd burn the house down with all of us in it and his parents couldn't stop him.

    3/Cruelty to animals. Our kid acted like he loved our pets. I am an animal lover. Then one day our beloved dog was strangled in our garage. difficult child came in bawling and told us he found the dog dead. On inspection, somebody used a rope around his neck and our daughter was doing drugs at the time and hanging with inappropriate people. We thought it had to be one of the thugs becauause difficult child acted like an angel around us and, my God, he loved the dog and was carrying on so. We got another puppy and he hung the poor thing by her own leash. I cry each time I think about it. Only he and I were at home that particular day so his cover was blown...I knew it was him and it made me sick. Then his story of horrors, all the stuff he had done in our home, came tumbling out via the other children and we called CPS to take him. He had done so much damage, mostly in secret. He was too dangerous to live in a family.

    After he was escorted out of the house, the kids told me that he had also tried to harm our other pets, but the pets made noise and he was afraid we'd hear it. He also tried to harm animals of our neighbors and my youngest saw him trying to strangle a cat with his bare hands. She ran to tell the owner, so he dropped the cat.

    Sexualization is also often a symptom.

    At any rate, make sure you are safe and keep talking to your husband because this kid needs help, no matter what is causing his behavior. Hugs!!!!
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Very good, Vicki. That's a good start.
    I would continue to advocate, without being abrasive (fine line) but at some point, you're going to have to put some teeth into your argument. Such as, you might leave, the child might leave, you will make a dr appointment and go alone (actually, I'd do that no matter what).
    P.S. Fair warning: You may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you get a therapist who clicks with-your family. And who isn't blind to the issues because your difficult child has a good cover.
  14. scaredofhim

    scaredofhim Member

    Vicky just wanted to let you know I feel for you. I have a 12 year old stepson with many of the same issues, to include a bio mom who sounds just like your SS's bio mom. My SS has ADD, ODD, and is bipolar. He is in therapy but it does no good because he absolutely refuses to talk to the psychiatrist or the therapist that comes to his bio mom's home. So sorry you have to go through this, I know how very hard it is.....
  15. Vicky age 37

    Vicky age 37 New Member

    Midwest mom I can't believe what you all went through, that is truly horrifying. I really can't compare my concerns of my SS to anything you experienced, maybe it is putting it into perspective for me. I know there are issues, but I think I am thinking it is more serious than it is as I have not experienced anything like that level of disturbing behaviour.

    Thank you terryj2 and scaredofhim for responding to me. I will continue to push for psychiatric help, and in the meantime will be keeping a very close eye on him. I only see him 2 days out of 14 so I can cope with that. My husband knows that him ever coming to reside with us is not an option due to my priority of my 3 year old, and quite frankly I think it would break up our marriage. Let's see what this week brings..........

    Thanks x
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    But....I had no idea he was doing it. That was the point.

    Your SS may well be doing a lot more than you know. It took us three years to know. Your son sounds pretty troubled. I would keep an eye on him. Don't compare him to a child who was in foster care for eleven years. Your SS should not be as unhealthy as he is. However, if your SS, to your knowledge, has not done the three things listed above nor become sexual, he is not as bad as our child was. Boy, I was sick when I found out what he'd done, but we made it as a family. We just realized he couldn't be part of our family. Period.

    Hugs and prayers, hoping everything improves :)
  17. Dun Haddit

    Dun Haddit Member

    I'm new here and this is my first post, but it sounds as if our sons were separated at birth.

    Our issues stem not only from behavioral issues, but abuse and trauma. Long story short, we have custody of my husbands 4 children. Countless CPS visits, documentation of drug use, domestic violence, etc. When my husband and I first met, he obtained custody of his oldest son because she wanted nothing to do with him. He wouldn't conform. He is on the spectrum, HF, aspergers. Within several months, she up and announced she was moving them out of state so I pleaded with him to get custody. At this point I had already learned all I needed to know about how psychotic she was, and not the horror stories you get about "the ex".

    In a ploy to keep him from getting the twins (her favorite), she tried to barter with the son we are currently having issues with. She felt if she 'gave' him to my husband he would stop his bid for custody. It didn't work. It was clear the judge was going to give us custody because the 730 evaluation we did clearly showed she had MASSIVE psychiatric issues and by her own admissions, told the doctor she had problems with just the boys. we got a clean bill of mental health and her section of the report to the court was several pages long.

    3 days prior to court she contacted CPS and told them our son had molested the twins. She was so desperate to keep the twins that she tossed our other son to the sharks. CPS investigations and therapists all spoke with the children and it didn't take long to determine it was a lie and she made it up to keep us from gaining custody.

    Visitation with her was cut off. Until all CPS reports could be finalized, she kept the twins. Once the water cleared, we got custody and the damage just keeps coming. During the 2 years his visitation with her was cut off, he was an awesome student and great kid. 7 months ago, the therapist gave the green light for visitation to start and that is when all hell broke loose. Grades went up and down like tidal waves. Anger was explosive. Physically harmed his siblings. Stole - to this day the stealing has not stopped. He has caused so much damage to our family we are looking into a residential treatment facility.

    Finally got a no-contact order so she cannot damage any of the children further but it was too late for him. He was initially diagnosed with depression and ODD. that now has been upped to include bipolar. We were inches from having him expelled because of assaulting students, sexually harassing girls and making sexual innuendos to female teachers. My last resort was to get a request for an IEP so he wouldn't be expelled and hopefully this would facilitate the transfer to the troubled boy school.

    He steals food. He stole his little brothers lunch for weeks to the point where he would go to school and be hungry the teacher reported US to CPS for neglect. Even after CPS cleared us, he continued to steal the lunches. we have every food item that can be instantly eaten locked in our room. Padlocked the fridge and even had a lock on the freezer, that as of today, I didn't know he was picking to get food out to eat wile frozen.

    I've had the police out 3 time for his actions. a 12 year old is NOT supposed to act like this. My husband feels absolute guilt for not protecting them from that monster and getting custody sooner...to the point where he is passive and I always end up being he meanie. We have 2 therapists and a psychiatrist. But all have told us that medication can help with bipolar but it can't help if he is psychopath. He doesn't care who he hurts, who he steals from, nothing. Consequences mean nothing to him except when he lost his bike and ipod, it wasn't a consequence it was ME stealing from him. He had the nerve to say his breaking into the freezer wasn't even stealing, but my taking his favorite items for bad behavior is?

    Tomorrow starts a whole 2 week period of just he and I. Spring break, yay. the other three were out this past week while he was in school - that is before he was suspended again for grabbing girls butts. My husband almost begs me not to call the police again, but he isn't here. He doesn't see the malice in his face, the clear contempt and disregard. The lack of humanity and void from his eyes. Every time we get to the point where we are about to give something back, he blows it. The only thing I can trust about him is that I cannot trust him. I am trying everything I can to protect the other three children from him and his actions. I would love to tough love his butt out of the house, but he is too young. There is no way the court would allow him to go back to the bio mother, but to have him lost in the system...we just are caught weighing the odds of the lesser of 2 evils.
  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Glad you found us, but so sorry you had to come.

    You may want to start your own thread. Your post will get more attention if you do your own. I'm thinking attachment problems with your kids too...so sad when divorce tears these kids to pieces and one of the parents is so uncooperative....gentle hugs. So sorry for your hurting heart.
  19. Vicky age 37

    Vicky age 37 New Member

    Response to dun Haddit- thank you so much for responding, you are more woman than me as I would never agree to custody. I can't imagine how hard it is, and you are a saint to do it for someone else's kids, I am not capable of loving them enough like my own to do that. Midwest mom is right, you should get your own thread to get more feedback. I hope you get the support YOU need, or you're mental health may be at risk from the strain. Things seemed to have calmed down for us this week at least fortunately. I hope your stepson can pick up again now his bio mum is out if the picture again, but you worry once they get to a certain age that the damage is irrevocable. The kids are very lucky to have you, and so is your husband, I wish you health and future happiness.
  20. Tiffeny

    Tiffeny New Member