Criminal Teen Minds: The Role Played by Genes

It feels like a wave of violent crimes swept through the country recently, when the TV screens erupted with numerous senseless acts of violence perpetrated by teenagers in schools, friendly neighborhoods and streets in general. Some of these incidents were the igniters of the highly debated gun control bill in the American Senate as well. And this begs the question: just who are these teens who have startled a nation into thinking about gun control and what is making them act out as violently as they are? Believe it not your, the DNA you've passed onto them might be the culprit. 

So Who Was It?

According to a recent research conducted by Terrie Moffitt from the Institute of Psychiatry in London, antisocial behavior in young adults is a genetic influence on youth.  A violent gene code can be made worse by bad parenting, poverty and abuse of any kind.

In the research two groups of teens were examined, who had strayed into the grey zone of delinquency. The first group was shown to take up petty crimes in order to impress friends. The more serious cases which were more problematic and involved in more serious crimes were discovered to have biological predispositions to violence and crime. This group was also shown to have lower than average IQ and poor communication skills and some suffered from ADHD.

A similar study was conducted at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and revealed the identity of the genes responsible for teen delinquency. Variations of different genes were identified as potential indicators and contributors to criminal behavior. However, this research too emphasized on the power of positive reinforcement to reduce the genetic influence on behavior. The real causes of youth violence aren't always environmental. 

Being Prepared

Teenagers who turn out to be delinquents are usually sociopaths and dealing with such teenagers on a day to day basis is a completely different ball game. Here are a few things you can keep in mind while dealing with a sociopathic teenager:

  • Come to terms with the fact that sociopaths lie out of compulsion and they will do so most of them time. However, arguing over the truth or validity of something a sociopath tells you will only result in trouble, so it is best to know that they are lying but not really show it.
  • Remember that sociopathic teenagers have more or less no respect for people and their rights or belongings, so prepared to have you social, physical and mental boundaries violated regularly.  Lecturing them on ethics or morality is futile, the best you can do is keep valuables locked away in a secure place.
  • Sociopathic teenagers are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than normal teenagers, so be mentally prepared for addiction as well.
  • Sociopathic teenagers lack empathy which is why they show no restraint once they are angry, therefore be prepared to call the police if your teenager every gets violent.

In the end take note that sociopaths are narcissist by nature but getting counseling for your teenager as soon as possible could prove helpful, since a trained professional can guide them away from at least some of their negativity.

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