Everyone has had an experience with a bad child. Whether they were throwing a tantrum in a grocery store, or hitting their younger sibling; it’s frustrating. However, there are some people that don’t just handle bad kids; they have handled the worst… killer kids.
Kids are not usually born to kill. It is their experiences that cause them to turn to violence. What causes a sweet innocent child to become a dangerous tyrant? Here are some stories of killer kids that might help to explain the phenomenon while also showing parents what traits to look for in their own offspring to keep their child from becoming the next headline:
Fifteen year old Daphne Abdela stabs a man to death in Central Park out of curiosity … teens murder 12-year-old for dating friend’s ex …James Pomeroy, America’s youngest serial killer goes in killing spree, taking the lives of dozens. These are just some of the headlines which grace our newspapers every day. They are the stories of kids who have turned to violence to feel better about themselves or deal with their frustration and anger over what is happening to them in their lives. No community is immune to these types of actions and no neighborhood is safe. Kids from all walks of life become killers; even kids from the best neighborhoods and with devoted parents. So what makes some kids turn deadly? Undiagnosed mental issues, anger issues, an inability to relate properly and understand consequences, and dysfunctional families are all to blame for these kids’ actions.
What Could Cause A Child To “Snap?”
Everyone knows that the early years of childhood are very critical to a person’s development. In the early years a child learns right from wrong, feels love, and learns to empathize with the world around them. In the above stories all the children lacked something, or experienced something that made them not able to correctly define right from wrong or empathize with the person that they had murdered. There was a missing link in their psychological development. Some of them were also consumed by emotions they did not know how to control; perhaps because they were not taught proper self control methods earlier in life. Here are a few examples of what could cause a child to become a killer kid:
- Acute Mental Disorders: Disorders such as depression and anxiety may not seem like a big deal to some parents; but left untreated in a child they can have bad effects. Many children suffering from mental disorders such as these will ultimately end up taking their own life. However, some of them will decide to take out others as well. Low self esteem mixed with depression, anxiety, ADHD, Autism etc. that is not being treated can wreck havoc a young brain; leaving the child defenseless to their own actions. These disorders impair the normal functions of the brain and can turn an innocent child into a “monster” simply because they cannot control their impulses.
- Severe Mental Disorders: Severe mental disorders include those such as Schizophrenia and Dissociative Disorders can also send a child into a tailspin. With disorders such as these children will experience hallucinations and delusions that may cause them to consider things a normal child would not. For example, in the case of a child with Schizophrenia, they may hear voices telling them to kill people. Although, these voices are not real, a child tormented by them may decide to listen because they are not only impressionable but also in a state of mind that would drive anyone “insane.”
- Bullying and Isolation: A huge cause of child murders is isolation and bullying; this being a main cause in school shootings such as Columbine. James Pomeroy is just one child who ended up murdering classmates, friends and outsiders because of the pent up feelings he had regarding his own torturous school career. He, like so many other child murderers who are bullied felt lost, alone Without the proper skills to Aleve their frustration they (like Pemoroy) turn to violence
- Abusive Homes: Children who are exposed to violence at a young age are more likely to express their emotions in forms of violence. Being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused when they are very young can cause a child to turn on people who exhibit the dam personality traits as their abuser.
- Chemical Imbalances: Especially today, children are exposed to more medications and chemicals then they ever have been before. Some researchers suggest this as a cause for the rising amount of killer kids. Some think that an exposure to certain chemicals in the environment may cause imbalances in the brain and therefore cause a child to contemplate actions such as murder.
- Violent Video Games: Some researchers suggest that violent video games may be yet another reason that kids are killing today or have in the past 5-10 years. It is suggested that children under the age of 10 or 11 may not realize that when someone dies in real life they do not come back like they do in a video game. Also, by playing these games t is suggested that older children and teenagers gain a tolerance to blood, extreme violence, and killing; making it seem like “not a big deal,” if they were to re-enact the video game in real life.
How To Help A Troubled Child
No parent wants to believe that their child would kill someone; it goes against every parental bone in their body. However, there are often warning signs that a child may commit murder that parents tend to gloss over or choose not to see. If you are a parent you can do these things to catch the warning signs of violence:
- Make sure your child is not being abused emotionally, sexually, or physically. Any type of ongoing abuse can cause a child to revert to violence as a way to deal with or escape the trauma they are experiencing.
- Explain to your child the consequences of actions like murder. Some killer kids simply report not understanding the ramifications of their actions. Video games, movies and music may depict violent behavior in a way that does not seem permanent. This can leave a vulnerable child believing that their actions aren’t really going to hurt anyone.
- Watch the way the child plays video games and try and test what their tolerance for certain acts may be. If you notice that your child doesn’t seem to comprehend the severity of certain violent actions, pull the plug. They are becoming desensitized to violence and that can be very dangerous.
- Check their social media accounts and their phones. Many killer kids leave clues in personal messages and on social media accounts. Be diligent and watchful for nay danger signs.
- Talk with your child about their day and how they are feeling. Get to know your child. That way, if something is off, you will notice it in the way they talk and act (or react) to you..
If you see odd behavior in your child or begins to think that they may be exhibiting warning signs you can do this to help them:
- Put them in therapy. Whether it is through a school counselor or a professional psychotherapist, be willing to seek whatever help is necessary.
- Help to bring their abuser to justice (if applicable). When bullying or other types of abuse are the cause of your child’s violent outbursts, simply helping them find closure through the justice system can be a step toward healing.
- Stop them from playing video games that may heighten their tolerance for crime. Always limit a child’s access to violent games, movies and music. If necessary, take game consoles completely out of your home.
- Take away their social media accounts or put strict rules on access. Remember, you are the parent and you are in control.
All of these things can help make sure that your child does not commit a violent crime. The most important of this list however is getting your child into therapy. A professional will be able to see things that you, as a parents, cannot. They can also help give you additional resources to help your child that you may not have access to. Do not be afraid to admit that something is wrong with your child; you could be saving their life as well as the lives of others.