Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Rethinking rehab: can 'evil' children be made good?

In my opinion, nobody is born evil (although nobody knows for sure) Everyone is born human, and human nature contains both aggressive urges and altruistic urges. We have a deep need to affiliate, to be around people, and no creature spends as much of its life depending on others as we do. Emotion and reason are the twin engines of motivation for children and adults; and emotion is ten times more powerful. Children are fuelled by emotion and learn to be reasonable, whereas adults try to be reasonable and are flooded with emotion.

If no child is born evil, we must account for terrible acts of aggression by a combination of factors: personality, which includes genetics; environmental circumstances, particularly the role models a child had between birth and the age of 7 or 8, which is a crucial time, and whether a child has been harmed or hurt by others; and whatever the opposite of luck is. The fact is, you can have the environmental cocktails but you need an opportunity too. Read more
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