We would all love to think our babies are perfect. The truth is, we all have something to work on and should be more open minded to our child's overall well-being. To raise a child of morals, we must accept any mistakes that will happen along the way. You can't learn unless you fail and this is also the most telltale way of determining your child's mental health. Of course, you don't want your child suffering from anxiety, depression, or even antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), but being in denial will not help your situation.
I distinctly recall a time in elementary school when I was being bullied by an older grader who also happened to live on my street. Every day that I would step off the bus, he was there waiting with his dog. Luckily, he only owned a shiatzu, but that didn't stop me from feeling afraid of this boy who was 4 years older and constantly harassing me. He would ways rile up his dog anytime we walked by and yell, "SICK EM!" It even came to a point where he released his aggression on my sister and I, and we were forced to tell our parents.
The point is, if his parents took these warnings seriously, he could have been properly diagnosed or held accountable and my sister and I would not have received the brunt of it.
This is why I have created this simple guide to help you determine if your child is already antisocial, and what problems that could lead too.
15 They Have No Empathy
Antisocial babies will have no empathy. This means they cannot understand someone else's feelings, let alone share those feelings with another. If they don't factor other people's feelings into their decision making, then they lack empathy. Empathy is a very important human trait as it allows us to build interpersonal relationships. Without it, we would not treat each other right. Similar to empathy is also compassion – feeling sympathy or concern about people's suffering.
People can be empathetic, but not compassionate. Regardless, if your child shows little care for others, this is a red flag that something might be up. Your child also won't be affected by other people's pain and you will find them to only care about themselves. According to healthofchildren.com, prevention is key by eating healthy, having a "secure family and social environment, [and] early bonding with an emotionally mature and healthy parent..."
14 They're Already Disobeying Rules
People who have antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) tend to break the law, and so, disobey rules at home. For example, you could give a simple request of, "Please don't tip your cup over or it will spill on the floor." The minute you turn your back, the cup is tipped over and your child took off the lid just so it would spill all over the floor.
Obviously, all kids tend to be testing at times, but if it becomes consistent, this can be a warning sign that something is up. According to Bustle.com, "In a very interesting insight into the experience of a person with ASPD published by Business Insider, a sufferer explained that law-breaking and risk-taking behavior are often driven by a profound sense of alienation."
13 They're Showing Signs Of Aggression
Any signs of aggression can be an earlier indicator that your child has ASPD. Everyone gets mad but it’s the aggression that comes out reactively you must be most aware of. It is not normal to lash out physically, nor if it is also spontaneous. According to Bustle.com, "Reactive aggression is all about the body's instant reaction to something that seems to be wrong or threatening, and it's been suggested that the brain circuitry of people with ASPD leaps to threatening conclusions much faster than ordinary ones."
Pay attention to how your child acts within arguments at home, with fellow class mates and even in public. Identify if your child is showing signs that demonstrate they misperceive the intent of others as hostile. If they do, then this may be a reason they are acting aggressively – they think others are trying to hurt them.
12 They're Deceitful
They don't just lie, but they try to withhold the whole truth. Rather than being open and honest, these children will avoid telling the truth at all costs. There "is basically a disregard for the truth in pursuit of entertainment or personal gain, usually as a kind of manipulation," says JR Thorpe. "Lack of empathy makes it difficult for those with ASPD to contemplate why moral standards constructed for other people are necessarily applicable to them; they normally lie for the sake of getting something they want."
If you notice your child lying a lot, try to catch them so you can really identify the problem. For example, if your son is constantly blaming his sister, it is time to see what is really going on. Maybe it is your son who is setting up his sister? Maybe the sister is too young or intimidated to say anything? Often times family members oversee the truth – and this ends up being detrimental to the kid's health.
11 They Have Impulsive Behaviors
Antisocial children tend to be impulsive with everything. Most of the time, it is with on-the-whim decisions. These decisions are usually made if they can have a benefit to them. The problem is, there is no care in the world about how they may be hurting others in the process. According to Bustle.com, "People with ASPD are much less likely to restrain their urges, at least in the moment; a study in 2009 found that they have very strong "rapid-response impulsivity" (i.e. knock that person's hat off right now), but around the same levels of impulse control as non-sufferers when it came to planning in the future."
In order to recognize such impulsive behaviors, be conscious of your child's reactions. The best time to watch your baby is when they are faced with decisions. For example, did you tell them no desert until dinner is done? And did they abide or impulsively react into a fit? This is just a small case to help parents get an idea of where to look for this specific concern.
10 They Don't Take Responsibility
Whether your child straight up dislikes responsibility, or just handles it poorly when given to them, this is a huge warning sign. According to Bustle.com, "One of the key definitions of ASPD, developed in 1996, gives a picture of a personality that is basically unable to take consequences or be given a job: it defines it as 'a pattern of inappropriate and unmodulated desire to control others, implemented in a detached manner.... There is a willingness to use untamed aggression to back up the need for control or independence. The [antisocial personality] usually presents in a friendly, sociable manner, but that friendliness is always accompanied by a baseline position of detachment. He or she doesn’t care what happens to self or others'".
This early warning sign shows a lack of obedience. There is no respect given to any sort of structure or request. This is why ASPD sufferers will deter away from anything they have to be responsible for. As your baby gets older, try testing them and seeing how they handle small responsibilities. For example, will they look after the dog and feed them when you said or do they defy?
9 They Have No Remorse
Despite not being empathetic, they also have no remorse for their own actions – or anyone's for that matter. Having no remorse means not ever feeling guilty for wrongdoing. Maybe your child hits their siblings and doesn't care. On top of that, they try to lie about it. Sometimes babies will taunt you knowing it hurts your feelings.
Obviously kids will be kids, but it is usually as a toddler you will notice these signs. If you correct a child, they should get it. Bustle.com states, "Remorse, after all, involves understanding the consequences of our actions on other people and their convenience and emotions, and those factors are not relevant to ASPD sufferers." Thus, you must look at your child on a deeper level to determine this, not just take one action and overthink it.
8 They Surround Themselves With Likeminded People
As your child gets older, pay attention to who they hang out with. They will often surround themselves with likeminded people. Even as a toddler, they will gravitate towards people they can manipulate or take advantage of. Healthofchildren.com adds to that notion writing,"Antisocial behaviors may have an early onset, identifiable as soon as age four, or late onset, manifesting in middle or late adolescence ."
While describing the symptoms and causes, this article's research shows, "Companions and peers are influential in the development of antisocial behaviors. Some studies of boys with antisocial behaviors have found that companions are mutually reinforcing with their talk of rule breaking in ways that predict later delinquency and substance abuse." The beginning of school and daycare is where you will be able to look for these red flags.
7 They Have Selfish Tendencies
Another sign that shows if your baby is antisocial is if they are selfish. I am not just talking about having innocent-I'm-still-growing-up selfish tendencies, but real acts of selfishness that have gravity to them. Your child could be selfish when it comes to sharing, taking accountability or just pitching in. Regardless the age or situation, proper parental guidance in these situations is also a key determining factor in the outcome of your child's behavior.
I believe repetitive behaviors will always show the true colors. From there, it's how a person reacts to the confrontation of this that determines the rest. The Encyclopedia of Children's Health defines antisocial behaviors saying they "exist along a severity continuum and include repeated violations of social rules, defiance of authority and of the rights of others, deceitfulness, theft, and reckless disregard for self and others."
6 They Have Manipulative Behaviors
A young age is easy to tell if they are being manipulative. If you see this, and it continues after correcting your child's behavior, it is a sign of your baby being antisocial. This may be a harder thing to notice as manipulators exist everywhere and do so indirectly. You will never hear a manipulator admit what they are doing – no matter the age. Keeping tabs on your baby will help you distinguish if your child is antisocial. There is no problem if your child is just learning, but beware of intentional efforts of manipulation.
"Physical aggression is expressed at the earliest stages of development, then direct verbal threats, and, last, indirect strategies for manipulating the existing social structure," says Healthofchildren.com. It would make sense to focus on your child's social life to help you look for signs. Identifying these signs should also not be taken lightly as it is can be a serious problem when your child gets older.
5 They Are Actively Defiant
Defying rules or requests is another warning sign of antisocial behavior. If everything but "yes" seems to trigger your child, it's time to seek a proper diagnostic. Don't just assume the worst because there are professionals who can properly diagnose. "Systematic diagnostic interviews with parents and children provide opportunity for a thorough assessment of individual risk factors and family and societal dynamics," explains the Encyclopedia of Children's Health.
"Such assessment should include parent-adolescent relationships; peer characteristics; school, home, and community environment; and overall health of the individual." There are many factors to keep in mind before one can determine if your child is already antisocial. It may be another problem, or simply just misbehavior. It is not normal for children to consistently defy using any sort of aggression or ill intention.
4 They Challenge Persons Of Authority
Trouble at school, in daycare or with other children and adults is another sign your child is antisocial. Healthchildren.com shows how it could cause trouble for your child, family and surrounding people. "Parents and teachers who notice a pattern of repeated lying, cheating, stealing , bullying, hitting, noncompliance, and other disruptive behaviors should not ignore these symptoms."
Since we have already established most of these signs will be present at an early age, it is a good idea to get feedback from any babysitters or daycare providers as well. There is a fine line between rebelling to rules and disrespecting persons of authority to the point your child never wants to be told what to do. Try setting some basic rules and see how your child reacts. For example, tell your child no TV after 7 PM and see if this ignites defiance or discipline.
3 They Have Signs Of ADHD
Hyper neurotic disorders were also linked to children having ASPD according to Healthline.com."Hyperactivity and neurological problems can also cause antisocial behavior. Youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been found to be at a higher risk of developing antisocial behavior." Researchers believe it is due to the excess of energy in these babies that cause them to be antisocial.
ADHD is a common symptom that could make your child more prone. Regardless, ensure you are properly communicating with your child so you can gauge and pinpoint when things get out of control. My sources showed many treatment plans. They included early diagnosis, awareness, proper parental guidance and an acknowledgment from the child. Keep in mind that just because your child is already diagnosed with ADHD, it does not mean they are antisocial.
2 They're Arrogant
Despite knowing facts, if your child is arrogant or often snappy, it is not a good sign. For example, you hear horror stories of kids hurting animals. That's an obvious sign – if it wasn't an accident – especially if your child showed no guilt or remorse. Some signs of arrogance can occur during playdates, when sharing or when in a community setting.
As a parent, you cannot be arrogant either. As mentioned in my last article, 15 Reasons Parents With High Needs Babies Are Unprepared, if parents aren't addressing their own problems, it will rub off on your child and make them mirror your bad habits. "Antisocial behavior can be identified in children as young as three or four years of age.... If left unchecked these coercive behavior patterns will persist and escalate in severity over time, becoming a chronic behavioral disorder."
1 They Have Many Of These Symptoms Combined
If your child displays most or all of these items, it is time to take the appropriate measures to get a diagnosis. Healthofchildren.com explains the longer it is left untreated, the less likely it is to reverse these mind patterns."Early-onset conduct problems left untreated are more likely to result in the development of chronic antisocial behavior than if the disruptive behavior begins in adolescence...researchers warn that if by age eight a child has not learned ways other than coercion to meet his social goals, he has a high chance of continuing with antisocial behavior throughout his lifetime."
Not only is this unhealthy for your child, but it's unhealthy for anyone associating with them, too. Some of these signs can also indicate psychopathic traits that need to be addressed. Of course, it is a scary thought, but these are signs that will allow you to help your child rather than letting them grow up to be destructive to others.