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Bad seed or mental disorder?


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Old 15th November 2004, 12:16 PM   #1
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Bad seed or mental disorder?

I am writing a fiction book about a young adult that ends up in a maximum security prison.

My question to you, and I would appreciate your comments: Now that ADHD, bipolar, depression, etc. are cloaked as mental disorders; how is this better than in the '30's, '40's, 50's when they thought bad kids were "the bad seed"?

We, as a culture, in the '60's and beyond fought this stereotype of crazy behavior as a passed on trait.

Now it is an excuse for kids who behave poorly?

If it is just a "passed on genetic disorder"...isn't it just like the old "bad seed" theory?

I would appreciate all comments.
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Old 15th November 2004, 12:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Now it is an excuse for kids who behave poorly?
No, it's used as an excuse for parents that "parent" poorly.
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Old 15th November 2004, 1:15 PM   #3
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Those disorders are not just passed on via genetics. Genetics forms an element of the risk, but there are many other factors. They are diagnosed on observed behaviours, rather than causes. As with MS, it's likely there are a number of conditions with similar symptoms which are classified under one banner.
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Old 15th November 2004, 1:21 PM   #4
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Well how do kids get to the point where they behave badly? There is no such thing as a bad seed.

My husband is in federal prison, I also had a long term relationship with a man who was in state prison for 7 years. I can clearly point out exactly how their parents screwed them up. I mean, it's so clear, there were so many instances where anyone could say, WHOOPS, his parents sure ****ed him up.

I was watching a biography of a serial killer recently. His mother was a prostitute who forced him to watch her have sex with her johns, and she also forced him to watch when she beat his father (who had no legs due to a railroad accident)...how could that NOT screw a child up supremely?
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Old 15th November 2004, 2:42 PM   #5
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Considering that I am a child who was both parented poorly and have been diagnosed with several mental disorders, I would have to say that I agree with the reality of both simultaneously and seperate from one another, and resent the existence of such a "bad seed" theory.

Children are 100% a result of the parenting the recieve. Genetics does play a huge role in "risk" as meanon said, as my "disorders" are indeed to some extent inherited, but there are few factors as substantial, if even close, to the parenting itself. (The rest of my abnormal situation I attribute to many different theories, but I won't get into specifics.) And the parent generation today, is no more than a reflection of their own improper parenting, etc. etc. etc. As my parents were no more than reflecting upon me their having been improperly parented.

Children who "behave poorly" are suffering. Bottom line. They are either not being parented properly, not being stimulated properly, (which encompasses the majority of possibilites) or they are otherwise being "formed" or "molded" unsuccesfully; rebelling innately against this illusion of "normalcy" and what they are being "told"...they are not ever "bad".
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Old 15th November 2004, 3:39 PM   #6
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How do you guys explain 2 kids that have grown up in the same home, with the same discipline laws, same everything...and one acts up?

My brother caught his carpet on fire by writing F*CK YOU in hairspray and lighting a match to it. He stole from my grandparents home and business. He drug in animals of all sorts and set them free in my mothers home (with a toddler in the house). We're talking extremely large snakes, wild racoons, EVERYTHING. He snuck out of our home. He did drugs. He now has been to jail countless times and has two felonies on his record.

My parents raised us exactly the same WITH THE EXCEPTION of my parents not forcing him to go to church at an older age. He already had done all of these things by this point. And then there I was. I was more normal. I was thoughtful, compassionate, friendly, and well mannered.

My parents lived in the nicest home in the city, in the nicest neighborhood. And there was Tommy, my brother. Trying to burn the house down. Flicking boogers everywhere possible. Stealing from me.

WTF happened? My parents raised me, I was normal. He's still messed up, awaiting to go back to jail literally ANY DAY. We were a year and a half apart in age. We received the same discipline. The same attention. The same affection. Yeah, I'd say my brother was a bad seed! And he has been an embarrasment to my family in our community. Everyone knows him.
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Old 15th November 2004, 3:44 PM   #7
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All I have to say is that the "bad seed" theory is very scary because it implies that there is nothing that can be done to help children with certain mental disorders. It may also imply that they are less human than say a "good seed" and we all know what happened in the 40's in Euorpe to "less human" people...think about it.

I have a brother who has been diagnosed withh ADD this is a mental disorder so it means that his brain doesn not react to external stimulus like others would. He's not hopeless and in fact has a very high IQ. What he needs, and what he's getting is the help to learn the skills that he needs to cope in society like organisation and time management. so in his case, like loveregardless said, parenting is important and my bro's lucky we have a great Ma!!
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Old 15th November 2004, 3:46 PM   #8
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I'm sure there were things goin on in his life that he may or may not have shared with the family.

I didn't share the fact that I was raped with my family. It definately changed me in a big way.
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Old 15th November 2004, 3:49 PM   #9
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The law usually treats people who offend due to mental illness differently to those who are healthy. So in your scenario, if the illness was thought to mitigate responsibility for their behaviour, they would be in a maximum security hospital, not prison.

Children do bear a degree of responsibility for their actions, but their age must be taken into account. Of course there are many reasons why kids behave poorly: parenting, society, alienation, peers, personality too. Despite this, they need to begin to be held accountable for their actions. It does them no favours to be excused indefinitely and then have the book thrown at them as soon as they turn 16.
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Old 15th November 2004, 3:53 PM   #10
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It's very sad. I forgot to mention that he was diagnosed with ADD and had to take meds even as an adult. I don't know if he's still on it. I try my hardest to be supportive of him. I try and hang out with him whenever I can. He hangs out with the wrong types of people though and I literally fear for my life at times. I can't even take my son to his home (or his then business), I'm afraid of a drive-by. He chooses the rough road. He can't hold down a job. His girlfriend is 21 and has 4 kids by four different men, while she was married to one of the men.

Sometimes I just can't help but think that he has done this to himself. Some of my family have disowned him. I just try to be there for him. But I have to keep a safe distance. It just seems like it's always something, some kind of drama with him.

Maybe not a bad seed, but a dysfunction.
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Old 15th November 2004, 3:55 PM   #11
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There are so many possibilities Tiki that it is completely impossible to pinpoint "what went wrong with him".
Every child needs a different style of parenting, ever child is different; every child has their own intellectual capacity, every child has their own inherited "risks", every child has their own social life, every child has their own experiances, etc. etc. etc....but it is not fair to the child that your brother once was to say that he was just born "bad". Since you have not lived his life, you could not possibly what it was in particular that made him behave in such wasys. Children express mental anguish or issues by "acting up"...they are trying to get attention! It sounds to me like your brother was not given enough of the right kind of attention, nor were his "issues" dealt with on the level that they should have been when he was still a child. You can say that you all received the same affection, the same atention, etc...but that only means it was sufficient and suitable for you; your brother is not you. And I'm not trying to start sh*t here, but what makes you "normal" Tiki? You don't have issues? We ALL have issues....some people have better coping skills than others and express their "issues" in different ways, but that does not make them "bad".
It saddens me to hear you say that your brother has been an embarrassment to you and your family. Might I ask, what does he have left to try for is everyone already resents him? And if this resenment is something that has been in existence since he was a child, then yeah, the results make perfect sense.
Like I said, there are too many variables and unanswered questions to know "what went wrong with him", but no child is born "bad", ever! "Bad" is a human figment of the imagination, and telling kids that they are "bad" gives them no reason to try to be "good".
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Old 15th November 2004, 4:03 PM   #12
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Okk... so now he has ADD. Ok well thats a big "issue" to leave out there.
What else is it that you could have forgotten then? What else might you not have realized thinking back on him as a child, clues, that would have offered up some sort of hint at the source of "the problem"...I'm willing to bet they are there in screaming color, they have just been "forgotten".

Quote:
He hangs out with the wrong types of people though and I literally fear for my life at times. I can't even take my son to his home (or his then business), I'm afraid of a drive-by. He chooses the rough road. He can't hold down a job. His girlfriend is 21 and has 4 kids by four different men, while she was married to one of the men.

Sometimes I just can't help but think that he has done this to himself. Some of my family have disowned him. I just try to be there for him. But I have to keep a safe distance. It just seems like it's always something, some kind of drama with him.
Again, every one has a different social life, and everyone has a different opinion of society and social acceptance. Especially when it comes to men, can you even imagine having to grow up male with all of the ridiculous assumptions, expectations and stigmas placed on them in our society?
And then you say that your family has disowned him? Might I ask you, how old was he when they started openly expressing their embarassment of him? What road does an outcast have to take but the road that he won't be persecuted on? Perhaps he finds the attention or acceptance in these people that he never found in his family. Perhaps he feels safer in that environment for some reason. etc. etc. etc.

All I'm saying Tiki, is that people are a lot more complicated than we realize, and that the adults that we grow up to be, are nothing but a jaded, saddened, repressed, molded shadow of what we were born to be. Most of which is imposed upon us by our current defintion of "society" and our peers, and some of which is self imposed. But the bottom line is that there was NEVER a ONE of us who was BORN "BAD". We "make" children into "people", they aren't born that way.

Last edited by loveregardless; 15th November 2004 at 4:07 PM..
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Old 15th November 2004, 4:06 PM   #13
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He won't try for himself. It makes it hard to have hope for someone that won't help himself.

He had spinal meningitis as an infant. My mom (and the doctors) had wondered if that was part of the problem.

My mother has exhausted her resources of him. She cannot give him any more money. She can't bail him out of jail. My step-father has threated to leave her (I don't think he will, but that's GOT to be hard) because he owes her THOUSANDS of dollars. Our real father says to let him stay his ass in jail and no one bail him out. That's he's tired of him too. It's constant with him. I can't count the times he's been into trouble legally.

I do think I'm better than him. I'd tell him that too. I hold a job. I manage my finances. I am not cracked out everytime a new day dawns. He knows he can do better, he just won't. That's his choice. It's not my problem to be there for him (as his sister) every time he falls through the cracks (every few months). I have a family to take care of that I'm obligated to. I can't have him in my home acting inappropriately around my children. I've thought about it and considered it even, but there's no way in hell. I've worked too hard to make my family life a decent one. I'll talk to him and see him once in a while, but I keep my distance for fear of safety mostly.

Sometimes you f*ck your support system over before anyone else. He's done this. My family doesn't know if there's any hope left. He's almost 26 and just can't figure out the responsibilities that he has to have.
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Old 15th November 2004, 4:09 PM   #14
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Ok, so how old was he when he was aware that everyone was embarrased by him and thought he was "bad"?
I'm not talking about his behavior as an adult, I'm talking about why he became the adult he is today.
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Old 15th November 2004, 4:12 PM   #15
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Propensity for evil??

I am the mother of 5 children. 2 are my own 3 are my step children......all of them drive me a little nuts! And because you don't know me, I also have under my belt 24 neices and nephews and 12 godchildren, all of which I maintain a relationship with. Since I was old enough to hold a baby - kids have been a big part of my life. This post is going to tick a few of you off I'm sure.....but here it goes:

I'm not sure if I agree there aren't what people would call 'bad seeds'. I wouldn't call them that but I would say there are individuals with a propensity for trouble. I don't know why, improper parenting may well be to blame, but it could be chalked up to food additives!
Not all people are good. Not all kids are good. It's the very nature of life.....some good.....some not so good.
I do believe that ADD or ADHD are pigeon holes, and I do believe that lack of proper parenting is hurting our kids. 'Parenting skills' has become a overly- complicated monster in the last 20-30 years and our prisons and to some extent our mental institutions are full of our failed attempts.

It's not any better now than it was in the 30's,40's & 50's, there's just more of them. Now these 'bad seeds' that destroy others and themselves have a full rack of agencies and advocates to make sure they are still able to do so.
 
 

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