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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
carl December 19, 2008, 7:58 AM

The grandparents of Casey should be charged with obstruction of justice and destroying evidence,,,,their daughter is a depraved monster that they protected for years

Marvn Webster December 19, 2008, 9:08 AM

My children COULDN’T and DIDN’T grow up to be murderer’s because their parents had God given BRAINS, and enough sense to discipline their children when needed, not by beating or physically abusing but by loving, leading and teaching right from wrong. Being brought up in a Christian church didn’t hurt either. Oh, and it didn’t hurt that their father was a former Marine.

Robert December 20, 2008, 1:41 AM

Webster: I am retired Army and know exactly where you’re coming from. It worked for me also with my three darling girls. My wife is sort of like Cindy in taking up for them, but I was always the backup disiplinarian. Something about military life, in that you can anticipate what they’re thinking and not cut them any slack. They never got away with a lie (I don’t think)but they knew that I was always one step ahead of them. I’ve always loved my kids but know how to dish out tough love.

But that being said, my oldest was a sociopath, and has been very hard to handle, and I agree with some here on this thread that sometimes they are born that way. But we never give up on them and she is today 49 years old, a devout christian, and doing fine. What we have done was the best we knew how to do with her, but turned her over to God. During her hectic days she done it all, ran away from home 7 times as a teenager, got into drugs, had three fine boys, divorced her abusive husband, and thankfully never had trouble with the law other than juvenile.

Three years ago she moved back into town, moved in with my ageing mother, took care of her until she died in 2005. In the meantime her life has been catching up with her, as she has been diagnosed with schitzophrenia (part of the problem from birth) and in her hectic lifestyle had contacted Hep C, which destroyed her liver. Since the first of the year, she has had miracles performed on her as she has had 2 liver transplants, recognizes all was due to prayer from us and our wonderful church,and has turned her life over to the Lord with every thing she has. She now has treatment for her schitzo and reports to 12 different doctors for her liver and is doing wonderful. It’s all worth it in the end and there is always hope. Our other two daughters grew up normal and have great jobs and great kids.

One bit of advice I can give to young parents. Kids need to understand what a spanking is. As my kids reached age 3-4 when they needed a spanking, I did it right the first time. Pulled down their panties and really made it hurt. From then on, they never got more than a pat on the butt, because they knew they didn’t want another whoopin. They knew better than cross me and had respect. My wife was soft on them but all she had to do was threaten to tell dad. End of story.

Lori December 20, 2008, 12:30 PM

This woman is a Narcissitic Personality Disorder/ Sociopath. She exhibits all the signs. They care for no one but themselves and are very manipulative.

My husbands ex-wife is one and so is his mother. Together they are a destrutive force. We have to deal with the ex-wife to a certain extent because they unfortunately share a child…who she uses as a pawn on every possible occasion.

Casey’s mother (the grandmother Cindy) is one too. NPDs/Sociopaths often produce sociopaths. My husband’s ex-wife’s mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and some other personality disorder that is kept secrect. I pray for my husband’s daughter that she doesn’t have this diabolical gene.

They usually come in pairs and feed off of each other’s diabolical agendas. Anyone in their path will be destroyed often psychologically but sometimes (as in this case) physically.

I hope Casey frys for doing this to this cute little girl. But often, because they are so evil and such great liars they are able to avoid the law or due justice.

Sociopaths are able to “play the victim”, and often the normal people around them are portrayed as the perpetrators. I know this first-hand.

They can’t be defeated, and the only way you can protect yourself from them is to stay away, far, far away.

Sharon in Idaho December 21, 2008, 2:52 PM

We should all be thankful that we do not have the burdon of Casey’s parents. They don’t want to believe that their adoreable granddaughter is dead. They want to believe that she is only missing. They don’t want to believe that their own child could do such a unfathomable thing. They don’t want to lose both their grandchild and their child too. Denial is the first of the five stages of grief. No parent is perfect, and no child will turn out to be perfect no matter how much you try or how much you love them. For you who are blaming the parents of Casey, you don’t deserve any better.

Elayne December 21, 2008, 6:41 PM


deb December 28, 2008, 2:58 PM

is this type of behavior hereditary?
casey reminds me of my daughter but also my mother, they lie, con, ruin family function and that little smile on there face when caught, I just want to slap them

sunflower January 1, 2009, 10:59 PM

You will notice that very early in the relationship, the psychopath will ask you to give him something. He usually begins with something simple, hoping that he can increase his requests over time and you will continue to comply. Since you have emotions, you often do provide at least some of what he asks for. He is not satisfied. What he really wants is your positive charge—his charge is negative and he must feed. After enduring countless lies, back-stabbing, chilling slips of the tongue, character assasination and daily turmoil and undisguised hatred for so many, you say “No More”. Then the psychopath becomes furious and removes his mask and lets you see who he really is and who has been all along. I have seen what is behind the mask and it is horrifying. The psychopath is primal and, when stripped of the mask, an alien species, something we do not associate as human. I expect Casey will remove her mask soon. Then we will see that behind the mask is a bone-chilling emptiness and void, something primal and pre-human. Remember, very soon in your acquaintance with the psychopath, he will ask you to give him something—always something of extremely little value. That is the time to ban this person from your life, even your vicinity. However, they often do not give up and will return to try again if they think they have a chance at manipulating you. While you are extracating yourself from this person, do not allow any discussion of what you think or feel for the psychopath will find a way to use it against you.
You cannot win because they will stop at nothing. Nothing.

sunflower January 1, 2009, 11:56 PM

Deb-I do not know if psychopaths are born or raised. It shows up very early in children, usually well before they begin school. I knew an extended family in which nearly all members showed varying degrees of psychopathy; several were full blown malignant psychopaths. There was also a higher incidence than normal of learning disabilities and mental retardation in this family. The very young children in the family likewise showed varying degrees of psychopathy and some were full blown psycopaths. Whether the children learned the behavior of the adults or simply inherited faulty wiring is yet to be seen. I have read that the brain scans of psychopaths look radically different from the non-psychopath, leading at least one researcher to question if the scan was human.

tiredmom January 6, 2009, 11:39 AM

i have a daughter who very much seems to have personality disorder. could be anti social i dont know. but life with her is very hard, do i think she is capable of murder NO…she is 32 has 2 small children, but as she ages nothing seems to change, but my ability to deal with it has.. i guess i have enabled her so much but before she had kids i was more harder on her,, now i have to think of my 2 grandbabies so i guess i will take her punishment . i deflect it off her kids..she loved her kids, she is a good mother, but seems to have no filter when treating me and others with disrespect. all this in front of her kids…so hard. she is separated from her husband.. cant keep friends.. cant maintain relationships period!.. i just wonder what went wrong. guess i will just continue to do what i have to do for my grandkids sake.
but blaming others for her problems.. playing the victim always! and no bounderies has got to end.. if anyone can offer any advice so plz do so.. ty

Anonymous January 8, 2009, 11:36 AM

Parents that do not discipline their children are not doing them any favors. Growing up my mother never told me no. She let me skip school, she would do my homework for me, caught me drinking and smoking underage, etc, the list goes on and on of the things she would let me get away with. She always said she grew up with 10 brothers and sisters and never had any love or any material items given to her from her parents and that she just wanted me to be happy and feel loved. Well when I got in the real world and started hearing the word No I almost flipped out. It took me many years to figure life out. I am 34 now, have a great job, have worked with the same company for 8 years, and I am married to a great guy and we recently had our first baby ( a girl) who is now 5 months old. I love her soooo much but I am not going to let her get away with stuff. As hard as it may be for me to discipline her in the future I will know in my heart that her life will be easier down the road if she learns the word no and learns that life does not always go the way you want. My good friend has an 11 year old boy whose wants are insatiable, they spend thousands and thousand of dollars on toys, games, junk, anything the kid wants. He is rarely told no and the few times he has been I have witnessed him either hit his mother or call her a c*nt. It makes me sick that she is creating a monster. She says she had alot of rules growing up and hated her parents for it and decided there would be no rules for her son. She definitely considers him a friend instead of a son that is her job to mold into a good person. I tell her all the time that she treats him the way my mom treated me and that she is going to have big big problems once he becomes a teenager.

KatyD January 13, 2009, 1:22 AM

I’m annoyed by some of the parents on this board. Your children lied, so you slapped them, or you disciplined them and they never lied again. GREAT! But what if it didn’t work? What if the lies continued? Then what? And what if out of the blue your child stole and cashed your check? Would you….could you.. send them to Jail?
You’re all able to brag about your kids because they’re normal. Casey isn’t normal. She is a sociopath. And for Shannon Fox to imply that empathy can be taught to a sociopath by working in a soup kitchen or volunteering is ridiculous. It’s clear she’s a marriage therapist and knows nothing about psychiatric disorders.

lavanda dolce January 16, 2009, 12:42 PM

I CRINGE when so much emphasis is placed on lack of empathy!! It’s like the media, some “shrinks” and psychological analyts are only giving a part of the personality disorder.

Somewhere they NEED TO CLARIFY that [b]just because one lacks empathy it does NOT MEAN they even have the capabilities or the traits to commit or act or do anything that Casey Anthony has done. This is soooo upsetting as anyone with a child with Asperger’s (a form of autism that my son has) will know that just because one’s child may lack empathy…does not mean they do not have compassion. A child such as my son is not emphathetic in that his brain cannot process social cues. If he stood next to you and you stepped over…he would come closer to you. He doesnt realize that your moving away is sending a signal that you do not want him so close. My son would not hurt a fly. He has a ton of compassion…as can do others who may lack empathy. While this article has basis….it is not the “tell all” or concise in what combinations of situations can make a child grow up to be a Casey Anthony. I believe a large number of factors should be included. They are:

1. Home Environment (abusive household? dysfunctional? Perfectionism? Spoiled? Neglected? non Noticed? (the good quiet child that is put on the backburner?)
2. Hereditary (family history of mental issues/needs)
3. Chemical (physical or emotional embalances?)
4. Genetic (not to be confused with hereditary. Genetic would be if one’s own gene structure went haywire?)
5. Associations/Peers (types of friends, peers, socializing throughout the years. Lack of or overabundance of?)

I believe ALL OF THESE in conjunction with personality or mental disorders are the key factors.
in other words…if one has met good criteria with ANY of the above…and possess lack of empathy, narcissicsm, grandiose personality disorders, autism, aspergers, add, adhd, ocd, etc… long as their “environmental needs” have been met in a positive fashion, they may suffer with the condition but that DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE predestined to become a murderer. As we all know, there are murderers who have had wonderful home lives and environmental factors are wonderful and they murder out of plain old greed. One does not have to be a narcisstic person, or a person who lacks empathy to commit a murder. Nor does one who commit a murder have to lack empathy…and not all sociopathic personality disorders commit murder.

Just my own 48 years of experience in life, studies, and support networks for children with autism disorders.

lavanda dolce January 16, 2009, 12:46 PM

cont…As we all know, there are murderers who have had wonderful home lives and environmental factors are wonderful and they murder out of plain old greed. One does not have to be a narcisstic person, or a person who lacks empathy to commit a murder. Nor does one who commit a murder have to lack empathy…and not all sociopathic personality disorders commit murder.

Just my own 48 years of experience in life, studies, and support networks for children with autism disorders.

lavanda dolce January 16, 2009, 12:54 PM

It’s quite obvious that there is no secret to how to decipher if one’s child could grow up to be a Casey Anthony. Fact is, as stated above…a number of factors need to be considered. Not all bipolar people kill. Not all that lack empathy kill. Not all hypoglycemics run out and kill their neighbors from an overdose of twinkies. You get the picture? This article is silly to think that should your child lack empathy to have them volunteer in a soup kitchen! Some people are born without the capability and no soup kitchen is going to give it to them. It takes a lot of work to have a child recognize and understand social cues (empathy)…ughhh. Articles like these are so frustrating to parents of children who are autistic and lack empathy. It is so misleading. (By the way, if one murders out of greed or lust or a sociopathic mind, working in the soup kitchen is not the answer…after all, we all know that Ted Bundy worked in a crisis center to assist those in need. Yikes!)

Kim January 20, 2009, 12:31 AM

My sentiments on this are the same as most - this woman is a dangerous sociopath that doesn’t deserve a place in our society/world. From a biological perspective, a mother of any species that doesn’t ensure the safety and survival of their offspring is an anomoly, especially if the offspring is viable and healthy. I am not even 100% convinced that she, herself, actually committed the murder, or that it was intentional. However, there is no doubt in my mind that she had a hand in it, which is evidenced by her lies and apathetic behaviors. If she had nothing to hide, she wouldn’t be trying so hard to hide whatever it is. I have no clue what the parents are doing, besides implicating themselves, and inadvertantly involving themselves in this crime. I have no sympathy for them - they should go to prison for obstructing justice and whatever else they can be nailed for. They are enablers, they created this monster, and they continue to feed this monster. I am extremely anxious to see what truths surface from throughout this case/trial. I really wish we didn’t have to waste taxpayer money on this skank. I wish we could just “feed to the lions” and get it over with. But it will make for some interesting reading over the next few months.

boomermama January 23, 2009, 10:41 PM

what could you best describe as Casey’s personality disorder? Borderline? Scitzophrenia or what? I’m trying to understand

Gwen January 30, 2009, 6:08 AM

Thought this info below might help. I am not sure whether your “Casey” has physically harmed someone or is a criminal, however, I looked up some info for you. If she is a threat to you and your family then you need to report her or try and get a protective order against her. Also, when you stated: “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*….”

Question, What bad things happened? Did she mutilate animals, start fires, etc…?Your “Casey’s‘“remarks you quoted sound like normal teenager rebellion to me up until the part where you say ‘bad things would happen’. Why did you have to stay home from work? What did she do exactly that enraged you so much?

Additional Information:
Sociopathy can be recognized early in an individual. Before the age of around 15 - 16 years, a child showing sociopathic traits is titled with conduct disorder. Signs of this early stage of sociopathy might include immunity to parental punishment and pain. Other signs may be the torturing of animals, fire setting, vandalism, consistent lying, theft, or aggression towards others. Nothing usually works in trying to change the behavior of this type of child. Therefore, the parent(s) usually give up, making the situation worse. But it must be noted that many children with conduct disorder do not progress on to sociopaths. After the age of 15 - 16, those who continue to show sociopathic signs are then labeled as having sociopathy or antisocial personality disorder (Carter & Golant, 1998; Sabbatini, 1998).

Sociopaths are very egocentric individuals that lack a sense of personal responsibility and morality. They may be impulsive, manipulative, reckless, quarrelsome, and consistent liars. Sociopaths are usually unable to sustain relationships and have a total lack of remorse for their actions. The sociopath may also be very prone to aggressive, hostile, and sometimes violent behavior. This aggression may or may not lead to criminal behavior and often takes the form of domestic violence. Along with these other actions, sociopaths often engage in self-destructive behavior such as alcoholism or addiction to drugs. This, of course, usually worsens many aspects of the sociopathic behavior. Despite these previous symptoms, the sociopath may be an excellent actor, always appearing charming, calm, and collected. They usually have a normal or above normal intelligence level and good verbal fluency. It is these qualities that sometimes place the sociopath in leadership positions within their social groups and often make it hard to spot their “black side”.
According to Dr. Robert Hare, there are three main categories of psychopaths. Primary psychopaths/sociopaths are considered to be the true sociopath. This is the sociopath who appears to be very normal, calm, and educated on the exterior, but on the interior, they are incapable of experiencing any form of emotional content. They rarely come in contact with the law, but when they do, they are often able to talk themselves out of trouble using their verbal skills. Despite this verbal eloquence, the words often have no real emotional meaning for the sociopath. When the primary sociopath does commit crimes, they are usually petty, meaningless, and without logic, such as daredevil acts and disturbing the peace. It is believed that a constant state of boredom and the lack of ability to truly feel deep emotion are what lead to this random misbehavior or thrill seeking. This form of psychopaths “can basically be thought of as emotional shells; the surface is all there, but there is no substance” (Culwell, 1998, p.7).

The second category is the secondary, or neurotic, psychopath/sociopath. This type of individual has much more severe and noticeable emotional problems. According to Dr. Curt Bartol, they are sometimes referred to as “acting-out neurotics” (as cited in Culwell, 1998, p.8). This individual displays much greater antisocial behavior and is much more likely to come into contact with the law (repeatedly). They are at a much greater risk of imprisonment.

The third type of psychopath/sociopath is the dyssocial psychopath. “Dyssocial psychopaths can be said to have come about primarily due to Bandura’s Social Learning Theory and his model for observational learning. They were effectively made antisocial by their environment” (Culwell, 1998, p.8). This category of sociopathy is much rarer and therefore has been researched much less.

The causes of this sociopathic disorder have been narrowed to several factors through research. One of the primary causes of sociopathic behavior is believed to be neurological abnormalities mainly in the frontal lobe of the brain. This area of the brain is responsible for “self-control, planning, judgment, the balance of individual versus social needs, and many other essential functions underlying effective social intercourse” (Sabbatini, 1998, p.7). This area is also related to fear conditioning. The abnormal anatomy or chemical activity within this area of the brain may be caused by abnormal growth (possibly genetic), brain disease, or injury. This theory has been supported by much research using positron emission tomography (PET) which visually shows the metabolic activity of neurons within the brain (Sabbatini, 1998). A second factor believed to be partially responsible for the sociopathic disorder in some cases is the primary socialization of individuals within dysfunctional environments, such as abusive, poorly educated, or poverty stricken homes. For years, this was thought to be the primary cause of sociopathy. But as knowledge has increased in the area of neuroscience, it has been realized that this is possibly only a secondary cause. Therefore, it can be said that the type of brain the sociopath was born with and/or the environment in which it was nourished forms the sociopath (Andreasen, 1984).

An estimated 3% of all adult males have this sociopathic disorder. (The antisocial personality disorder is uncommon among women.) Only a small fraction of this percentage actually develop into violent criminals. Most sociopathic individuals are able to control their disorder within the boundaries of social tolerability (Silver & Yudofsky, 1992; Sabbatini, 1998).

Anonymous February 6, 2009, 7:39 PM

so let me guess casy is another susan smith burn in hell where you belong . yur baby didnt deserve to die. but you do

Lis February 18, 2009, 9:21 PM

It’s called Attachment Disorder. It begins in the first years of life. Human beings are not born with conscience or the ability to empathize, these things are learned through their interaction with their caregivers in the first years of life- loving and nurturing in the first year and then setting and enforcing limits being added after that. Sometimes things happen to interfere and these steps never occur in the child’s development. Trying to correct it after about age 5 is nearly impossible. Google “attachment disorder” and you can learn a lot about how people get this way.

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