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Could Your Kid Grow Up to Be Casey Anthony?

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No one raises a child to be a murderer, so how does it happen?

We all hope the best for our children. We nurture them and teach them to the best of our ability. Unfortunately, sometimes, things can go terribly wrong. Surely Cindy Anthony never dreamed her daughter Casey Anthony would one day be indicted for first degree murder.  And although Cindy continues to defend her daughter's innocence, telling "Today's" Meredith Vieira, "I know Caylee is alive," that blind optimism might be at the very root of Casey Anthony's problems. Her parents consistently bailed her out of trouble.

"Never letting your child face the consequences of their actions is setting a terrible example," says licensed marriage and family counselor Shannon Fox, "Casey's parents are not completely to blame for her missteps, but they most certainly contributed."

And Casey, apparently, learned by example.

"Casey displays classic sociopath tendencies; a lack of empathy, disregard of authority, lying and manipulating," says Fox. As any parent of a toddler knows, belief that the world revolves around them is standard behavior for this problem. "Eventually though," says Fox, "children grow out of that stage and learn empathy. Casey never learned."

In many ways 22-year-old Casey Anthony continues to behave like a rebellious teenager. "She's got that smug adolescent attitude of someone who's been called on her crap," observes Fox. Evidence of Casey's belief she is "untouchable" is clear in photos of Casey in high spirits, taken at a bar mere days after Caylee's alleged abduction or when she was recently caught on tape passing bad checks.

Could the Anthonys have foreseen the tragic fate of their daughter? Probably not. But there were most likely signs of trouble early on that could've been averted.

"In order to help Casey develop her empathetic skills," suggests Fox, "she might have benefited from volunteering at a soup kitchen, teaching children how to read -- anything that would make her aware of the needs and feelings of others."

Of course, not every child that disobeys or lies is destined to become a murderer -- only 1% of population are truly diagnosed as anti-social sociopaths, regardless, steps should be taken so children are aware of their actions and their impact on others.

If Casey had learned these valuable lessons, Caylee Anthony might be safe and sound at home.

What do you think of the Casey Anthony controversy? Share your thoughts in the momlogic community.

82 comments so far | Post a comment now
jaybird October 17, 2008, 7:30 AM

Thank you for this article. I have had some morbid fascination with this case the whole time—and mostly it’ because I’m strugging to understand what makes a Casey. Could this be some sort of a face-saving tactic within the family? Surely they have always known through the years that most of what comes out of her mouth is a lie? But it seems that if she is able to give them some sort of good story to hold onto, they save face with who—themselves? And then they don’t have to confront her or deal with what she’s done? I would love more columns on this—I’s still trying to figure it out!

Trla October 17, 2008, 7:37 AM

My daughter is a Casey Anthony. Her father taught her to disrespect me in every way, from the time she was 3. No one would listen. No one would help me help her… Stop him. I see my daughter in Casey Anthony so clearly. I just don’t understand how Cindy cannot know the truth. WE MOMS…KNOW our children.

vlscpa October 17, 2008, 8:39 AM

Following a few recent years of experience with running down the TRUTH behind a psycho fraud, I’ve learned that there is no difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. We’re all pretty much set by age 5, I hear, and some parents, beset with little demons for children, should just move to Nebraska.

Laurie October 17, 2008, 9:10 AM

Like most, I did have trouble with my teenager - but one thing I didn’t accept was lies, I knew when she was lying and called her out on it, so she never felt she was getting away with it. But I’ve seen parents that aren’t as smart as their children - the child starts to manipulate the parent by confusing stories and lies to keep them off balance - obviously this is what Casey has been doing to her parents since childhood. I believe Casey will never tell the truth because she’d rather die than to have Cindy and George think badly of her, and for them to finally realize all the years of lies and manipulation - she thinks they would hate her and she’d truly be alone.

I believe her child died by accident, due to her neglect, but as long as Mom and Dad didn’t know, it was OK - no biggie. But she thought she was going to have more time to fine-tune what she was going to tell them - but Cindy found her so she wasn’t prepared. But now we have, not only Casey and her lies, we have a guilt-ridden grandmother - who finally tried to enforce a little tough love and it back-fired. She’s probably thinking, if I would have just let Casey keep stealing and partying, I would still have my granddaughter.

Casey will continue the guilt trip from jail - the calls will be “gee - I’m in jail - why? because my mom called the police and my father testified against me” - better spend more money on a top notch defense because you guys got me into this”.

Poor parents. To finish this circus, they, with a counselor, should meet with Casey and say “If Caylee died because you did something to her - we know you loved her and were just being rebelious - we know it was an accident - we will always love you and support you no matter what - but we need to know…. we need closure - you will face manslaughter charges, but we can all be at peace knowing the truth.”

maryanne October 17, 2008, 9:53 AM

Just the way one can be born without legs, without eyes, without hands, one is also born without a conscience. I do not believe empathy and humanity are “learned”. Either you have a conscience and a soul, or you do not. Murderers, those with wanton disregard for human life, those completely unable to muster up any kind of authentic human emotion that is not aped, show disturbing traits in very, very early childhood. Even little toddlers have empathy, getting upset at Mommy’s boo-boo. The only part I agree with is Cindy Anthony contributing to Casey’s fate, as she most certainly did. Perhaps Casey would have been a non-violent sociopath, but she still would have had the dearth of empathy, and still would have been a sociopath. She would have destroyed lives still—her brand of “love” would have been the spider in the bite of candy yet—but she would have used psychology and emotion, not murder, to wreak havoc.

Nellie October 17, 2008, 9:53 AM

I am a single hard working parent of two children and when they were teenagers, as so many parents, I nipped it right away when the lying started. I refused to accept that type of behavior and punished them when they did lie. Once, I slapped my daughter in the mouth for lying to me. I was a strong and strict mother and am proud to say, it works. My daughter now is 24 years of age a surgical nurse and my son is still in college attempting to get his degree in biotechnical engineering. They have a tremendous respect for me and I attribute that to my position in the home that I am the parent and you are the child, end of story. Parents should not portray themselves as their children’s friend. You are not a friend, you are the parent and demand respect in your home. Put your foot down hard if they appear to try and deceive you. Teenagers will lie and do what they can to get their way. It is up to you to know your child and, even if you know your child, check up on them. You will be surprise how many times they can change.

sherry October 17, 2008, 10:11 AM

I dont care how long this trial takes, at least this murderer will be locked up and not free to whatever she likes,

M.Smith October 17, 2008, 10:30 AM

Nellie, You said it right! I see so many parents let there children run over them, there excuse is “it’s easier”. I’m not saying that I am a perfect parent by no means, however, too many times parents don’t put there foot down, argue with there kids, or are not consistent. I catch my husband arguing with my kids often and think, “are you kidding me”. They no better than to do that with me because I put my foot down a long time ago.

What I say goes and that’s final, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it! You have to be the parent. It’s a scary thought knowing that how you raise your children is shaping there lives and teaching them habits whether good or bad.

Watcher October 17, 2008, 10:32 AM

This is the reason why parents should have GPS trackers installed on their vehicles. If the Anthony’s had one installed on their car, we would have known the location of Caylee MONTHS AGO. As for the cause of Caylee’s death, I believe I know what happened: Casey was told in advance about a part at a certain nightclub. Casey asked her mother in advance for some help with baysitting, but Cindy Anthony refused. Casey searched the web for “safe” ways of putting kids to sleep without harming them. She found out about the chloroform through a Google search and ordered some. Casey gave what she thought was a “safe dosage” of the chloroform to her daughter and went out partying. The question is, where did Casey leave Caylee while she was sleeping? This part I don’t know. But what I am certain of is that Caylee died of an overdose. Cindy Anthony is defending her daughter because she feels guilty about not babysitting when she had the chance.

Kaye October 17, 2008, 10:33 AM

When my son was 12 he took a small packaged camera from a local dept. store. I just happened to find it in his room. My husband and I sat him down and asked him where he got it. He said that he took it from the store. The three of us went back to the store, asked for the store manager and my son told him what he did. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I knew that he had to face the consequences, whatever they may have been. The store manager made him sweat it out for an hour, telling him that he could call in law enforcement. He didn’t do that. He made my son go through the line and pay for the item himself with his own money. My son is a grown man, and a very responsible, trustworthy human being, with compassion for others.

Kat October 17, 2008, 11:43 AM

I am absolutely one of those strict parents (as is my husband). We have a 17 year old daughter. When I first saw the story about Caylee missing, they were showing a picture of her on TV. It caught my attention because that picture looked EXACTLY like my daughter when she was 3. Of course I was completely drawn into this case at that point.
I have had many issues with my daughter over the years (more recently). She will lie to you in your face even though the truth is laid out right in front of her. She will lie when the truth is easier. She seems to have concern for no one other than herself or someone that can benefit her at that particular time. My daughter was picked up by the State Troopers for smoking marijuana….she was not phased. She actually thought it was funny and “exciting”. When she likes or is dating a boy, she becomes whatever he wants her to be and/or she starts being interested in whatever interests him.
What scares me is when I see and hear Casey Anthony…..I see my own daughter. (even more “ironic” is that my daughter (at age 17) looks like Casey Anthony)
My husband and I have done everything we can, offered our daughter numerous opportunities, but she continues to throw it all in our face. “We don’t love her”, “We love her brother more”, “We don’t know anything”….on and on…. We have sought psychological treatment for her and she is on medications. It helps - but only if she takes the medication!
I can tell you from the lack of emotion and lack of empathy that my daughter has shown that NOTHING is impossible.
Casey Anthony is not trying to please anyone….except herself. And YES, Casey Anthony is ABSOLUTELY capable of harming or possibly murdering her daughter…..depending on what she needed (or did not need) in HER life at the time.

Hanna October 17, 2008, 11:56 AM

Casey’s mother is actually more of a monster than Casey. The woman who claims to miss her granddaughter so much and cries over it not only covers for her daughter and her lies but doesn’t seem to remember her own remarks about smelling a dead body in her daughter’s car.

And given how common it is for contemporary mothers to “support” their children no matter how awfully they behave and to make excuses for them and to refuse implementing appropriately-harsh punishments and to give them the good swift kick in the behind they so richly deserve - I think there will be a LOT of Casey Anthony’s around.

She and her mother deserve the gas chamber!

jaybird October 17, 2008, 2:45 PM

Wow—such insightful people here, all of you. Kat, my heart goes out to you, this must really be personal to you. I am amazed by all the different points of view. My kids are grown, college grads, not perfect, but never had problems with drugs or the law or lying or any of that. I’ve had friends though, who appeared to do it right, and end up wringing their hands over their children’s behaviors.

I wonder if Maryanne’s view is right? Humans are such complex creatures—with all the variables, it’s hard to get it right, but I have to agree with the view that you do have to put your foot down like Nellie and Kaye and M and some of the others of you are saying. But who knows? I grew up with a neighbor kid who was sort of a Casey, not nearly that bad, but the same characteristics of ridiculous lying, blaming, disrespecting the parents, but the parents were very strict about setting rules and following through on punishment threats, and the rest of the 4 kids in the family were stable, honest, etc. But Pam was every teacher’s nightmare, every kid’s dream, because she got away with everything!

Fascinating to watch, sad though it is, and there probably isn’t a real answer to “What makes a Casey?”

tamara October 17, 2008, 2:48 PM

The world and parenting is not perfect. One can only talk to their children, guide their children and make choices with the benefit of their children in mind. While a person with sociopatic tendancies may take extra time parenting, it is our jobs as parents to look at our children objectively and try to figure out ways to help them become better people and teach them lessons and ways to better deal with issues they may have. It is not a parent alone that holds the responsibility of our children, we are a village and need to find ways to educate and help each other become better people, parents and human beings.

Kate In NC October 17, 2008, 4:13 PM

We have our very own Casey. And her name is also “Casey.” Or was. She recently had it legally changed. We assume she’s running from something. She will do anything to anyone for any reason. We assume, at age 36, she’s probably finally gone too far.

After decades of struggling with this issue and watching people such as Casey Anthony, Scott Peterson, Neil Entwistle, Mark Hacking and their parents I’ve come to to conclussion that there are only two ways one becomes this type of personality.

I believe the most common way is by parental enabling. Either the parents feel they’re being *supportive* or they don’t have the guts to stand up to a manipulating, punishing, vengeful, extorting, self-absorbed child.

Our daughter used every sneaky, underhanded trick in the book but was also a legendary charm machine. We noticed a huge problem bringing at age 3-4. Still… we were on to her and constantly demanded accountability. (We always paid the full price for that. SO BE IT.) Councelling, the church, the school district, law enforcement and our local social services was not able to make any kind of difference whatsover. We were the most loving but also most diligent of parents. We had hoped to lead by example and have her become a compassionate person of integrity. No concept would enrage her faster! Unless it was all about her there would be a price to pay. It was met with the “How dare you?!” or “I’ve had ENOUGH of *this!* attitudes. That would be followed by: “I’ll teach you to try to teach me anything.” Bad things would suddenly *happen*….

Sixteen years ago at the age of 19 we were forced to throw her out of our lives. Recently, we received a letter from her bragging about the “vengance” (this perfect person still can’t *sprwell*. lol..) she has taken against us in all these years. It’s her mission in life. Again, so be it. Although, any more Slander, Libel or Defamation of Character & we will mop the floor with her in Court.

Any time we insisted she do the very least in life or hold her accountable we would pay dearly. But unlike Cindy Anthony we did not knuckle under & fall prey to our own child.

I firmly believe that some people are taught to be monsters while others are born that way. Most are taught.

Our very our Litle Miss Smarty Pants once led a life a charmed life in the upper middle class. She’s now wallowing in the most God forsaken gutter imaginable and beyond furious about it.. Of course - she is blaming us for throwing her out and starting her downward spiral. This personality type has a HUGE sense of entitlement.

If anyone thinks it was easy for us to throw her out they need to seriously revisit that issue. It tore my heart out for the first 10 years until we received a hideous, gloating, threatening letter.

There is nothing stronger than a mother’s love. NOTHING. But what do you do when your child is, in fact, her own worst enemy? How do you save her from herself? YOU CAN’T. The only thing you can do is to try & save yourself and others who may be in danger. Because if these control freaks do not have things EXACTY their way (to the letter) people die. Sadly, we see it all the time.

Caylee Anthony probably died because of Casey’s petty, self-serving agenda. Lacy & Conner Peterson, Rachel & Lillian Entwistle and Lauri Hacking all died because they were also is someone else’s way just a little bit.

I always watch these cases with huge interest.

BTW - I want to say how much I admire George Anthony for having the courage to testify against his daughter at the Grand Jury. It demonstrates his integrity & his love for his grand daughter. He’s a very big man in my eyes.

And if CA killed her own child it was not to “be free.” She did it to punish her mother. Otherwise, she would have given Caylee to her parents. They would have taken her in a heartbeat. This personality type is more about punishing & vengeance than anything else.

~Kate in NC

Kate In NC October 17, 2008, 4:41 PM

apologies for the typos, etc..

Anonymous October 17, 2008, 5:45 PM

What the fck.

Anonymous October 17, 2008, 6:13 PM

Kate In NC, I was married to someone like your daughter. They don’t change. All you can do is try to stay away from them. I know it must be harder when it is your own child, but it is the only choice you can make. Sadly, she’ll probably only leave you alone when she finds someone else to target. My spouse manipulated new love interests after I was finally able to get away, but back tracks to punish me ever so often. I hope you have some peace from your daughter.

Dan October 17, 2008, 6:36 PM

Excellent article. My wife and I recently went through a situation where our teenage daughter and a few of her girlfriends, got in trouble for underage issues…if you follow me. We decided long ago, if either of our daughters got in any trouble, they would face the consequences. We have rasied them with this philosophy their entire lives!

To our dismay, we are the only parents that held our child accountable! We had to miss days at work, experienced sleep-less nights and had to provide “tough love”, all for the sake of doing what is right. The past few months have been tough on our entire family. But, that is what life is all about. There are good times and bad, the one constant is unconditional love at all times!

Our daughter was suspended from her athletic contests(the other girls never missed a game due to parental cover-up), is enrolled in an intervention program through our police dept. and has faced a huge financial loss.Both girls have seen the result, financially, emotionally and physically for a poor choice by our daughter on our family.

The point being that our daughter is doing much better now. Her grades are great,her behavior is improved and we are closer as a family! Our daughter has even come home early when out with friends begin doing things they shouldn’t! We know our girls are better off for having gone through this life lesson!

I have no idea how the other parents who covered for their daughters can look themselves in the mirror. I am an educator and cannot believe how many parents complete thier children’s homework, school projects, cover-up/ make excuses for a child’s troubles all for the sake of being popular or thier child’s friend! It will come back to bite them eventually! There are many “enabling parents” out there.

My wife and I chose to have integrity or the high road as I call it.We do know we did the right thing and always have tried to do so as parents. The Anthony’s anger and resentment is purely guilt on their part. Yes, they are the classic example of the “enabler” I previously mentioned. I know they saw this coming, not murder, but trouble with the law, a “crash and burn” if you will, LONG AGO!

Hey, it’s not easy being a parent. Being a parent is not a poularity contest with your children either! Our daughter was upset with us, stated she hated us. Now, in her words, ” she loves us more than ever”!

Our responsibility as parents is to teach our children what is right, support/love them no matter what and “mold” them as they grow into responsible law abiding adults!

George and Cindy created the “monster” Casey! When she was young, disruptive, through temper tantrums and formed her selfish attitude, they had the chance to stop that behavior. Instead, they “took the easy way out” and allowed Casey to do as Casey’s little heart desired! This is an example of what I often refer to as, “the monkey’s running the zoo”. Unfortunately, Caylee paid the ultimate price for Casey’s spolied behavior! May God be with Caylee!

Kate In NC October 17, 2008, 7:30 PM

Anonymous: Thank you for your kind words but I’m much more concerned for her innocent, unsuspecting, potential victims than I am for ourselves. I feel so guilty unleashing this type of person out into society even though I spent many sleepless years trying to change her.

This type always needs a victim and when they have none they seem to return to past victims for some reason. Wishing you the best with your ex…

Dan did the right thing & was a dilgent parent. Although it doesn’t work with people who are born psychopaths every single child needs and deserves loving, diligent parents. And most kids go through all kinds of painful stages that are rough on the whole family.

The one thing I’ve noticed in everyone - Casey Anthony, Scott Peterson, Neil Entwistle, Mark Hacking & our daughter is this absolute, cold-blooded thing called “depraved indifference.” It’s scary.

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