Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Children are often described as innocent children. But who would have thought, even children can behave cruelly and rudely like adults.
They may not show their cruelty all the time, but it turns out there are some psychopathic traits that you can see in children. In current psychiatric terminology, this pattern is generally known as Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD).
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association described APD as a behavioral disorder with a callous and unemotional nature for children 12 years and older in its diagnostic manual. This is a serious condition that reflects an interpersonal deficit. It can also be associated with malicious behavior.
However, people with psychopaths are often misunderstood. They are often depicted as mass murderers like in movies. In fact, some people with psychopaths go on to become successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Launch Very Well Family, one study estimated that about 3% of business leaders actually suffer from psychopaths. Researchers estimate that around 1% of the adult population meets the criteria for a psychopath.
Signs of a psychopathic child
A 2016 study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan showed that early signs of psychopathy can be seen in children as young as 2 years old. Even at this age, they show differences in empathy and conscience.
The study assessed callous and unemotional (CU) behavior in children ages 2 to 4 based on the following characteristics:
1. The child does not look guilty after making a mistake
2. Punishment does not change your child’s behavior.
3. Children are selfish / don’t want to share
4. Children often lie
5. The child is cunning and tries to hurt you
The researchers followed up the children again when they were 9 years old. They found that children who exhibited the most behavior problems as toddlers or preschoolers were more likely to display behavior problems associated with psychopathy later in childhood.
A child with a psychopath exhibits characteristics similar to those of an adult who suffers from a psychopath. For example, they may commit acts of harming animals or try to kill animals for pleasure.
Teenagers sometimes commit acts of hurting and killing animals for sexual gratification. This is common in psychopathic/behavioral disorders and antisocial personality disorder.
There is no single test that shows that a child may have a psychopath, but psychologists have several tests to help them assess and measure a child’s symptoms.
One of the most commonly used assessments is the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory (YPI). This instrument is a self-report instrument, meaning that adolescents are given a test and asked to answer questions about themselves. It is intended to measure personality traits, not behavior.
This test assesses the following symptoms:
- Not emotional
- Have no compassion
- Seeking thrills
- Not responsible
Have a friend who likes playing victim? Maybe he’s a psychopath