Prayer Horizons: CU Traits

Psychopath. A term used loosely in modern households to describe irrational behavior, more often than not, exhibited by children. In most cases, such as with my toddler, I don’t really believe they are having a clinical psychotic episode. For example, throwing a fit because I put the cereal bowl on the wrong side of the table or placing the wrong size spoon in said bowl. I would affectionately council my toddler to stop being so “psycho”. I understand that toddlers are irrational and that these types of demands are a normal, healthy part of childhood development.

My heart sank when I came a cross the myfamilymyvillage blog. The blog is an open discussion of a mother’s breaking heart and as she courageously, and commendably loves her oldest child (8 years old) who continually exhibits violent and psychopathic behaviors.  The family has two other younger children (a 6 and 2 year old) who live in constant fear. Over the course of his life, the child has:

  • trips his toddler sister multiple times and then laughs it off
  • when attempting to hug him in bed, he purposely kneed his mom in the face breaking her nose and he laughed
  • delights in causing chaos around the house; i.e. pulling his sister down on top of him and then blames her for it
  • constantly tries to get a rise of his mom by calling her failure, cussing her out
  • one night they woke up to find a pole beside their bed; the child was going to attempt to wake them up
  • By far the worst part was purposely trying to drown his brother and then was upset that his mother intervened

The family has taken him to multiple psychologists and have tried every trick in the book to cope and manage the behavior. They’ve gone to extremes such as installing alarms on bedroom doors. There is debate within the psychological community as to what age you can truly diagnose a child as “psychopathic”.  In the interim, professionals have labeled these traits in children as callous-unemotional or CU traits.

While many behavior problems are directly related to discipline (or the lack thereof), CU traits are an entirely different monster. A study in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry suggests genetics are to blame for CU traits. About 5-10% children are affected by these traits and most will out grow them by the time they reach adolescence.

I could not imagine having a child who was a threat to my other children. Furthermore, my love language is primarily touch. I can’t fathom being scared to pick up my child and hug them, knowing their is a possibility of them violently reacting.

Prayer Suggestions

  • For families who are affected by children with CU traits, that they are strengthened as a family unit instead of being torn apart
  • For God to strengthen the resolve of the parents to love their child unconditionally
  • For the parents, especially the moms, who feel the weight of society looking in with ignorant eyes and blaming them for their child’s abnormal & uncontrollable behavior
  • For the peace that passes all understanding to rule over children with these traits
Prayer Horizons: The concept of prayer horizons was born out of my desire to broaden my perspective on life and carefully consider the lives of others outside the boundaries of my established comfort zone.
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