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My Son Is a Sociopath

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My son is 8 years old. He’s had serious problems since he was about 3. He’s very intelligent, and he doesn’t have the mind of an 8-year-old. Even saying ”very intelligent” is an understatement. I am having a hard time getting help for him due to his age, and also due to his ability to turn on a very convincing charm and sweetness whenever he wants to. He has manipulated therapists, and most become convinced that he has no problems at all. Others do know, but say they can’t help him. They won’t diagnose him until he’s 18. It’ll be too late.

He’s frighteningly smart, and he uses that effectively. Even I was oblivious until recently, and it broke my heart when I realized that he had been fooling me, too. I love him, and I need someone to help me save him.
I realized several months ago that his displays of remorse and affection were not sincere. It was hard to accept. But I know that I need to be realistic in order to help him. I believe he still has a chance. I want to believe that he has the ability, regardless of how deep it’s buried, to love and care about other people. Right now, he doesn’t. His wants, needs, and ability to have control are the only things which hold any importance to him. I need hope. I need a miracle.

He’s 8, but his mind isn’t anything like a second grader’s. Therapists who talk with him are always surprised. For them, it’s interesting. For me, it’s terrifying. But several weeks ago he brought home a picture that he had drawn at school and it shocked me. I stood there completely speechless for several minutes. I just stared at it. It was something a child would draw. It was something that a second grader would do. It was normal. It was so ordinary that another parent might find that in their kid’s backpack and think nothing of it. But for me, it was a spark of hope. Maybe he did it on purpose. Maybe he was just mimicking his classmates. But maybe not, maybe it was real. I felt like I saw a glimpse of my child who’s been lost for a long time. So, my question: Could his kind, loving, innocent 8-year-old ‘side’ be in there somewhere? It’s possible, isn’t it?

My Son Is a Sociopath

Answered by on -

A.

This is a particularly difficult question to answer because you did not provide any examples of your son’s behavior that you consider sociopathic. Without any examples, I can only provide a general answer.

It is rare for children to show sociopathic tendencies, but it does happen. Since one of your main problems seems to be finding mental health professionals who can help, you might try videotaping his episodes of sociopathic behavior. His attempting to “fool” the professionals in the office would be less of an issue. The videos could provide a more realistic and objective assessment of his behavior. It would help them to help you.

If you would like to write back and include examples of your son’s concerning behavior, I may be able to provide more specific advice. In the meantime, you should continue searching for mental health professionals who can help. You might also try reading books about sociopathy in children. There might also be online support groups that may be of assistance.

Finally, is it possible that you are misperceiving his behavior? You have offered your opinion that he is sociopathic, but you have included no examples of his behavior. Every therapist will want evidence beyond your interpretation. Lay persons are poorly equipped to make a diagnosis. You should work with a therapist so that you can share your daily interactions with your son and gain the insight of the therapist about your sons’ behavior and its meaning. I wish you well. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

My Son Is a Sociopath

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). My Son Is a Sociopath. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 16, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/12/19/my-son-is-a-sociopath/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.