There seems to be a general unwillingness to point out that some people are just evil. I was frustrated when psychiatrist Keith Ablow wrote an essay on foxnews.com espousing the “understanding” of women and men who prey sexually on children. He “formatted” them all as mentally ill.
I was not frustrated when, years ago, another psychiatrist, answering a question about how the Hillside Strangler could capture, torture, and kill people, answered truthfully that “some people are evil.”
Dr. Ablow is dead wrong. Although mental health professionals are trained to see everything through the pink glasses of “kids are bad because their parents are bad,” it just ain’t true. If you are one of those parents with a belligerent, nasty, uncooperative, petty criminal, drugged-out bummy kid (when your other kids are just fine citizens), you should not blame yourself.
We’re all impressed when a kid from a really bad home ends up living a quality life – kind, hard-working, and loving. How come we don’t recognize the opposite: a really great home can produce a bad kid?
There’s no question that parental problems and environment do, of course, impact children, but everyday character traits also have hard-wired genetic components that cannot be remedied by loving parents and a lovely, serene home in the suburbs.
In other words, there are bad seeds. Parents frustrated with those children may possibly aggravate the situation, but they didn’t create it.
So many people call me who are sad about their recalcitrant adult children. In some cases, you parents have earned that, but sometimes, you just need to shut the door on what is an impossible mission.