I recently talked with a very concerned mother and father about their 16 year old son. He was perceived by his parents as lying, disrespectful, oppositional, lacking in values and ethics, and willing to shift his story to “win” at any cost. They said that he was lacking in empathy and showed little or no remorse when caught violating the rules.
My first stop was the DSM IVR which stated that the boy fit the definition of a Sociopath, and would need intense and long term therapy. The adolescent is “high risk” for spending the majority of his life in and around our criminal justice system.
This case got me thinking.
I would use this same definition in describing our Congress and many of our politicians. I would use this same definition in describing some or maybe most of the Fortune 500 companies, the highest authorities of the Catholic Church, and idolized sports figures with feet of clay .
The role of parenting adolescents through their highly vulnerable age is getting more difficult. Part of the difficulty is self inflicted by our society.
How are we as parents supposed to teach virtuous values and behaviors, when every day our adolescents are exposed to politicians, companies (through television ads), and religious institutions, who publicly lie, cheat, steal, and say anything or nothing to put forth their less than subtle agendas?
I will not accept this societal double standard as an excuse for the boy’s behavior. I can sympathize with the parents, however, in their attempts to impart decent and considerate values to their son, while being mocked by daily reality.