Callous and Unemotional Kids

I just watched the Today show segment from Megyn Kelly on parenting psychopathic kids. Technically kids cannot get that diagnosis until they turn 18.  As if magically, at 18, some switch gets flipped that makes that diagnosis possible.  The diagnostic hesitance is not entirely unwarranted though, because some callous and unemotional (diagnosis before 18)  kids will mature and grow beyond it. But for those of us parenting children with these traits, the experience is nightmarish and the label applied means little. While watching this show, it felt like something broke loose inside of me – a deep and profound pain that I have to keep suppressing to get through the day.  It was like, “Somebody gets it!”  And being on a national TV program somehow made me feel more validated. I was thankfully alone and able to let myself feel it. I sobbed for half an hour.

What we go through with our kids is so incredibly difficult and painful and add to that that it feels no one believes you and most people blame you.  Parenting is not easy under any circumstances, but to have a child with special needs is incredibly hard.  If the child is visibly disabled, there often is at least some degree of empathy and support.  If the child’s disabilities are invisible, then the knee-jerk reaction seems to be to blame the parents for their lack of parenting capacity.

The guests on this show did an excellent job of describing the experience of parenting a child who can be dangerous and scary. These parents have done everything they can to help their children to no avail. There simply is not enough research into these conditions and how to treat them. My heart went out to these moms because I know how hard it is.




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