Most legal experts consider her daughter to be dead, rather than missing.  The case of Caylee Anthony is active as a missing person at this point, but this morning, the NBC’s Today Show’s legal expert said that Florida officials are just looking for evidence of whether Casey Anthony murdered her child intentionally, accidentally, or somewhere in between.  Why does this matter?  It’s an issue of what type of punishment Casey Anthony will receive.

Is Casey being tried in the press?  Sort of.  Is this fair?  Debatable.  I hope parents out there who are tired and frustrated will take note and realize that accidents happen so very easily. If they are feeling overwhelmed and sick of it all, if they would rather live the “good life” that Casey Anthony said in an email that she was living while partying, let them give the child away, at least for a time.  A child is better off living with someone else rather than dieing with its parent.

Some of the most condemning evidence I’ve heard so far is that Casey borrowed shovels and gas cans from a number of people after Caylee disappeared.  And her cell phone was pinged from a wooded area while she was making desperately upset phone calls.  And her car’s trunk had had a dead body in it.  And there are either emails, phone calls, or text messages in which she said her mother called her an unfit mother.  Which is a far cry from what her mother was saying publicly earlier.

What can you do if you know a parent you are concerned is ready to crack?

  • Offer to help with child care, speak to their family and friends and see what can be done to relieve care of the child.
  • Don’t criticize the parent to their face and tell them that they should be doing such and such; it won’t help.  They are already past their capability.  They don’t have the inner resources to do what a parent must.
  • Videotape them abusing their child.
  • Report them to Child Protective Services in their area if things are bad enough.  Even if CPS does nothing, which is highly likely unless you have video footage, at least the concerns are on legal record.
  • Talk to the child’s teacher, doctor, or other “mandated reporter.”  A mandated reporter is someone in a professional care position who is required to report SUSPECTED and obvious abuse to the police and CPS.  Build a network of people who watch the child and parent.  In some states, mandated reporters include foster parents.  If a foster parent in Maine even hears about suspected abuse, they are required to report it.

The primary goal is the protection of the child, which sometimes means helping the parent, and always means doing what is in the best interest of the child. Living with the mother is not necessarily best, even though in American culture we used to think it was.  Not all mothers are good parents.  But they usually feel that they are supposed to be, so they will go to great extremes to cover up their failures. That’s why a good approach with an over-stressed sociopathic parent is to flatter, disarm, and protect.  Flatter and disarm the parent, protect the child.

What’s a sociopath? It’s someone who acts in their own personal best interest regardless of the effect that has on others.  The current technically-correct psychological term is anti-social personality disorder; psychopath is another term which is muddled in with sociopath.

A sociopath is hard to help because

  • they are amazing liars
  • they don’t care about others
  • they often don’t really care about themselves

That’s why when it comes to helping their children, you must keep the child’s needs primary in your mind, and basically disregard the parent’s feelings. Being a sociopath or psychopath is part biological chemistry, and part upbringing.  There are about 3 percent of the population who have a naturally-built-in high risk tolerance.  If one of those 3 percent people is raised by loving, kind, supportive parents, they are the types who tend to grow up to be racecar drivers or other high-intensity adventurers.  If they are raised without loving compassion, if they are treated cruelly, they tend to turn into “bad guys,” like hit men.  Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski is a prime example of this.

While there are both genetic and environmental components to a cruel person’s make-up, try to remember that sociopaths usually have been treated cruelly themselves.  Don’t, however, let your compassion distract you from what’s primary: the safety and well-being of the sociopath’s child.  Both because that child deserves to be treated well, and also to prevent the potential development of another sociopath.

If you are interested in more posts on psychology and psychiatry and their connection to recent news and events, please see our Psychology category to the right, or click the link above.

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Peacock & Paisley

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