The son whose mother likens him to Adam Lanza seems to have other, more serious issues than her child not wanting to follow his school’s dress code. However, I think, as a parent, there seems like there would be a terrible difficulty in figuring out what qualifies your child as dangerously disturbed. Especially because we know that teenagers are supposed to rebel. We know that they’re supposed to get upset and test boundaries and try to figure out who they are outside of the family unit. But, then, there is this story, again from a Gawker commenter:
I grew up in a house with a brother who had severe ADHD and routinely lashed out violently at myself and my parents, he came after us with knives and one time tried to use a power drill to lobotomize my father.
Right, yes, I think we all agree that anyone trying to lobotomize people with a power drill should not be in polite society. That seems pretty evident. But most people’s teenage years fall somewhere between “being okay” and “being about to perform an at home lobotomy on their father.” How can you ever know precisely where the tipping point is that indicates that your child – who you, naturally, love – is simply too disturbed to be around other people? I find myself thinking of this article that ran in the New York Times a while ago entitled “Can You Call a 9-Year Old a Sociopath?” In it, they talk of one nine year old called Michael who sounds like he… might very well be a sociopath. For instance:
At one point, while Michael was downstairs, Jake clambered goofily onto the computer chair and accidentally unpaused Michael’s Pokémon video. Allan giggled, and even Miguel smiled affectionately. But the amusement was brief. Hearing Michael on the stairs, Miguel said, “Uh oh!” and whisked Jake out of the chair. He wasn’t fast enough. Seeing the video playing, Michael gave a keening scream, then scanned the room for the guilty party. His gaze settled on Allan. Grabbing a wooden chair, he hoisted it overhead as though to do violence but paused for several seconds, giving Miguel a chance to yank it away… From the bedroom, Michael called out: “He knows the consequences, so I don’t know why he does it. I will hurt him.” Miguel: “No you won’t.” Michael: “I’m coming for you, Allan.”
Right, okay, this sounds very bad to me. I do not think anyone would agree that the consequences for un-pausing a video should be “death.”