The following childhood indicators are to be seen not as to the type of behavior, but as to its relentless and unvarying occurrence. Not all must be present concurrently, but at least a number of them need to be present over a period of years:
* An extended period of bedwetting past the preschool years not due to any medical problem.
* Precocious sadism, often expressed as profound animal abuse.
* Pathological firesetting lacking in obvious homicidal intent. Not to be confused with playing with matches, which is not uncommon for preschoolers. This is the deliberate setting of destructive fires with utter disregard for the property and lives of others.
* Lying, often without discernible objectives, extending beyond a child’s normal impulse not to be punished. These lies are so extensive it is often impossible to know lies from truth.
* Theft and truancy.
* Aggression to peers, not necessarily physical, which can include getting others into trouble or a campaign of psychological torment.
The lack of empathy, or the neurological inability to feel empathy, is known as psychopathy. This means that children or even adults who abuse animals are in the same class as sadistic murderers (think Adrian Lim), rapists, arsonists, suicide bombers. They have no regard for the feelings of others and are likely to be irresponsible adults.
Animal abuse is a criminal offense in Singapore. If you witness any abuse cases do not let the matter slip by, even if it is ‘just children’. Reporting the abuse will save our society from having potential murderers, rapists and arsonists when these children unfortunately grow up.