Psychopath is the official name for the world’s worst antisocial criminal. What makes a psychopath and why are they so dangerous? Doctors agree that the psychopaths are devoid of love and guilt. They know what they are doing and care nothing for those they hurt. What makes them dangerous is that many appear quite normal. Their capacity to hurt and destroy can be hidden under a veneer of charm and honesty.
Typical example is John Wayne Gacy. Gacy was a well-respected volunteer in community affairs. He often dressed as a clown and entertained children at a local hospital. He appeared to everyone as a nice sweet gentle man, yet he tortured and murdered 33 young boys and buried them in his basement. His veneer of respectability was so good that despite complaints from victims who had escaped, the police did not investigate. After being caught, not once did Gacy express any remorse or guilt for his savage crimes.
Ted Bundy had a similar mask of respectability. He was a clean-cut law student, and put his charm and smile to good use at a crisis hotline center. After his capture, he confessed to raping and murdering 28 women and may possibly have murdered a hundred more. He showed no remorse or pity. He was a classic psychopath.
The traits that define psychopaths ( i.e. impulsiveness, violence, lack of guilt, etc) are well known. An important predictor of psychopathy is severe love deprivation in childhood. Serial killers were nearly always been beaten or abused when children. They also consistently had family members addicted to drugs or alcohol (an indicator of love deprivation).
Hitler's father, in drunken rages, often beat him and his mother. At 15, Hitler himself beat his mother. The rapist and serial killer Carl Panzram, America's most violent prison inmate, was deserted by his father and beaten by his mother. The multiple killer, Jack Abbott, had an abusive alcoholic father and a prostitute mother, who left when he was four, leaving him to a string of abusive foster homes. Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, was brutally tortured by his alcoholic father. In each case the effects of “love deprivation” later exploded into terrible violence.
How do we discipline our children without creating monsters? I am not against spanking, but there is a difference between paddling and “beating”. Just because you spank your children does not mean they will grow up to be serial killers or psychopaths. So where do you draw the lines in our attempt to discipline your child. I use two methods: one negative; one positive. I use a variety of negative methods from "time out" and withholding privileges to spanking. The spanking should not be a first option but a last option, and it NEVER should injure.
The most neglected and most important disciplinary technique is the positive re-enforcement approach. Lavish on the child praise, hugs and kisses for everything good they do. Even if the results of their actions are not so good; give them hugs for trying to do the right thing. You should have special “rewards” for positive performance. Remember, when you paddle their butts they jump up and down, going nowhere; but when you pat them on the back, they go forward with a smile. Love is more powerful than pain.
Be an Everyday Hero, love and hug your child today.