…and how to avoid a true crime podcast based on them in the future! With the rise in popularity of various crime-related narratives — from books and podcasts to documentaries and made-for-TV movies — there’s also been an undeniable increase in the overall awareness of the signs of psychopathy, even among the youngest members of society. Although there’s currently no standard test that detects signs of psychopathy in kids, a growing number of experts in the field believe that it’s a neurological condition that can be flagged in little ones as young as four or five. That’s because — as shocking as it is to hear — neurological, unemotional traits (such as callousness) can be both genetic and/or environmental. The good news is that these signs can be detected and acted upon fairly early, with many psychologists suggesting parenting groups for kids between the ages of four and seven that teaches them how to socialize and curb certain instincts. We walk you through some of the biggest red flags to watch for.
Disclaimer: If you’re seriously concerned about your child’s mental health and well-being, consider consulting your family doctor.
Psychopath vs. sociopath: What’s the difference?
By comparison, a sociopath is usually created by various environmental factors (an abusive childhood, for example) and tends to behave impulsively, erratically and is prone to violent outbursts.
While both sound equally terrifying, psychopaths are far more difficult to spot because, over time, they can learn to mimic the basic human emotions that they lack themselves. Interestingly, kids can't actually be called psychopaths as it's currently designated an "adult condition" only, although there are certainly ways to detect the signs in little ones. Instead, kids who display signs of psychopathy are considered to have "antisocial behaviours" until they reach adulthood.