My stepson will be 6 in a month. He often gets in trouble at school (catholic school)-for pushing/pinching/spitting etc the other students. This may happen once a week. He is very smart, and very manipulative. I have been raising him since he was 2.5 years old because his mother abandoned him. My husband, his dad, is wonderful and we have two other children together. We all live together. I have noticed very disturbing behavior recently. He doesn't seem to care about hurting others at all. I cried because of something he did (very rare) and he thought it was funny. We caught him leaning out of his window and when scolded he "went somewhere else." He detaches from any kind of unhappiness (discipline, time outs, room time). If he "cries" when punished its only because we put him there, not because he just did wrong. He says things it seems just because he knows its the right thing to say; sorry, I shouldn't have, etc. There is no feeling behind his apologies, and will bounce right back to being happy go lucky after being punished. There is no unhappiness in his punishments.
I am a teacher so I have tried reward charts, behavior cards (correspondence with teacher), positive reinforcement, loss of toys, time outs, yelling, scolding, spanking (rarely and not enough to hurt).
I believe his birth mother is a sociopath based on research that I have done, is this behavior genetic? Does this sound like normal 6 year old behavior? When I was 6, if I saw that I made my mother and father cry I'd cry and feel horrible. Nothing phases this kid, and all his tears are fake. Truly. I'm not really sure the last time I really saw him cry.
While sociopathy has not yet been determined to have a genetic basis, it likely will as we learn more and more about the biological aspects of mental and emotional conditions. All you can do is be the best parents that you can, offering him nurturance, structure and sensible limit setting and discipline.
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