Posted by: Anon | 2009/01/12

Should I worry - 4 year old

My child is 4. He is not really a bad kid, but sometimes I fear he is the next Son of Sam...
The other day we saw some rabbits together, he told me he wanted to catch one, when I asked him what he was going to do with it, he stated that he basically wanted to beat it up and throw it in the mud
He intentionally will go out to hurt something animal wise - and then finds it humerous - he finds it funny when he hurts ppl - and no matter how I explain it to him, he will go at it again.

HE caught a frog the other day and said that he wanted to throw it in a dam to see if the fish would eat it.
He continually wants to squash bugs, talks about hurting animals and people, and sees no wrong in it
He is totally anti social - at school although he has friends, he is happier when by himself. I have tried to get him to socialise more, but he hates it

If it was just one or two occassions that a dark side of him had shown, I would not be worried - but I am starting to get the impression that he might have psychopathic tendencies. He can be incredibily compassionate and concerned, but other times I really am scared of him.

He is not exposed to television very often, and when he is - it is very controlled - he only watches DVDs - there is no TV aerial, so he cant even be exposed by mistake.
18 months ago he received extensive play therapy due to the fact that he witnessed and was part of a housebreaking whereby both my partner and I were assaulted. Obviously being so young, the damage might not have been picked up by the therapist.
Should I be worried or is this almost normal for kids....

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Our expert says:
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I would be concerned about this. While other explanations are possible, a child with such an interest in hurting animals often graduates to an interest in hurting people, and may have a significant personality disorder. Such as psychopathy. It would be wise to arrange for him to see a good local child psychiatrist or child psychologist for a thorough assessment, and advice based on whatever is found. This could indeed be related to his prior trauma, and he is so young that this reaction to it may have only recently become noticeable. He certainly sounds as though he has an excessive focus on and interest in, hurting others

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