That Niggling Question

There comes a time in every mother’s life when she asks herself: “Am I raising a sociopath?”

Oh, you mean you’ve never asked that question? Never? So your kid has never said, with a sweet smile on her face, “That baby is crying!” And she looks, well, happy about it, or proud or something. Like she orchestrated the other child’s tears. And the look of horror on your face.

It wouldn’t bother me if this had happened only once. But any time there is a child crying, or even whining, in the library, at Target, the grocery store, a birthday party, anywhere, she says this. All creepily. She looks a little like Jack Nicholson when she says it (Nicholson in The Shining, Batman, whatever). And I put on my sad face, and say, “Yes, the baby is very sad. Poor baby.”

And Z just stands there, smiling.

So here’s a list of criteria for antisocial personality disorder (also called sociopathy), researched on that paragon of scientific truthfulness, Wikipedia, and how Z fits the mold:

1. Persistent lying or stealing. Do you have to go potty? No. Are you sure? No. Do you have to go? No. SHE GOES. Then there’s: Hey, that’s my DS! Leave it alone! Come back here! SHE RUNS OFF WITH DS.

2. Apparent lack of remorse or empathy for others. See smiling while other children cry, above.

3. Cruelty to animals. All I can say is, Poor Clark. Her tail will never be the same.

4. Poor behavioral controls. We’re talking about a two-year-old, here.

5. A history of childhood conduct disorder. Already in the making.

6. Recurring difficulties with the law. Two words: time out.

7. Tendency to violate the boundaries and rights of others. Um, yup. Not only were my boundaries violated during the sixteen months of breastfeeding, but there’s the constant skirt-tugging. And the hug-attacks on her little friends that often leave them crying.

8. Substance abuse. Her addiction to goldfish crackers counts, I think.

9. Aggressive, often violent behavior. She bit me today. Then she said, “Biting Mommy.”

10. Inability to tolerate boredom. Wow. It’s like the people writing this list actually know my daughter. Were they here yesterday afternoon? [Checking home for hidden cameras right now.]

11. Disregard for safety. She runs everywhere without even looking at the ground. She almost fell into the fish pond at the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver. She ran around with a fork before dinner last night.

Well, there you have it. I am raising a sociopath.

But she’s so freakin’ cute. And she’s my sociopath. And I love her so.


  1. inmomniac · August 11, 2010

    I’m raising two of those! ~ Neda

    • bethhull · August 11, 2010

      Oh no Neda, you’re outnumbered!

  2. Rachel Cunningham · August 11, 2010

    Haha, well, she did want us to play hurt and laughed….

    But yes, she is an absolutely adorable little sociopath 🙂

    • bethhull · August 12, 2010

      Yeah, she’s still asking to do high fives and “hurt me!”

  3. Randi · August 11, 2010

    Oh no, MY granddaughter is NOT a sociopath! The aforementioned “smiling” is just a misunderstood grimace in empathy. And we all know she is really just showing her affection for Clark when she pinches her. And when she is running with a fork, I am sure it is to help with dinner. I could go on with disclaimers, but I have to go replenish my bowl of goldfish crackers. (PS could a sociopath sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with that sweet sweet smile? Nay, I say…nay)

    • bethhull · August 12, 2010

      Are all grandparents that good at making up excuses? 🙂

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