Criminologists Explain Why Children Kill

Their behavior is not “innate”

By on 7 Apr 2009, 11:01 GMT
Violence among children is one of the most appalling types, in that it's unconceivable for the adult mind that kids aged between 8 and 12 can exhibit such sadistic traits of aggression that they make adults shiver. Most explanations for this behavior lie within the influence of “evil,” as most people say that they were born with this type of behavior. That is simply not true, the DailyMail points out.

Each child is born with something called a “tabula rasa,” which loosely translates into a “blank slate,” a state of the brain when it is open to learning everything. If the immediate experiences are pleasant, then the child will grow according to those around him. As an infant, a Chinese kid, for example, is not born with the language inscribed in their head. If he or she is taken immediately after birth by a Ukrainian family, then he or she will learn Ukrainian, even though countless generations before them spoke only Chinese.

Therefore, the simple argument that a child is “evil” does not stand. The adult world uses this pretext to try to distance itself from these children, and not to take responsibility. The reality is that the environment in which a child grows is quintessential to their ulterior development, as are the parents, the relatives, and peer groups. How a child ends up killing another one before he or she turns 10 years of age is a product of a large number of socio-economic and environmental factors, to which the little criminals have been exposed since birth and during the early years.

In most youngsters, psychologists argue, the realization of the fact that others have needs and can hurt dawns on the little ones with age. In the morally healthy, that is. However, in some cases, children do not learn how to deal with their frustrations in a way that will leave both them and others safe and unharmed. In these situations, they act recklessly and often endanger and harm themselves, but especially others, in order to satisfy their own needs.

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10-year olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson abducted and killed 3-year-old James Patrick Bulger in 1993
   10-year olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson abducted and killed 3-year-old James Patrick Bulger in 1993