Understanding Antisocial Behavior in Children

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Understanding Antisocial Behavior in Children

In northeast Pennsylvania, 9 year old Cameron shot seven-year-old Jessica with a rifle and then hid it. The reason for the argument was a disagreement over a video game.

In Englewood, a suburb of Chicago, a seven-year-old and his eight-year-old best friend became the two youngest murder suspects in the US when they were accused of the murder and sexual assault of an eleven-year-old boy. His body was discovered in a

vacant lot.

In Stockholm, Sweden, four-year-old Ken was strangled by two boys, ages five and seven, who pressed a stick to his throat, suffocating him after he was thrown on his back (Czudner, 1999, viii).

Stories such as those depicted above are becoming increasingly common in today's society. Between the years of 1988 and 1992, juvenile arrests increased nearly 50% (Mayer, n.d. ). Where does this antisocial behavior stem from? How can a parent determine between routine misbehavior and the roots of antisocial behavior? What steps can a parent take to prevent antisocial behavior before it begins or curb it once it has begun? Possible answers to these questions will be addressed through the course of this paper. The role that parents play in contributing to antisocial behavior will be discussed, as well.

Before any action or cause can be introduced, it is necessary to investigate how to determine whether a child is participating in routine misbehavior or is exhibiting antisocial behavior. According to Levine, there are a number of signs that should signal to a parent that his or her child has antisocial tendencies. Lack of genuine affection, lack of empathy, overall rebellious attitude, lack of guilt, mistreatment of animals or smaller chil...

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