Vol. 9, No. 3, 2003 Page 2


A recent Dallas Morning News article about a retiring local judge quotes him as saying, "About 10 percent of people in prison are sociopaths or pedophiles. The other 90 percent are people whose family failed them."

The judge is stating an almost universal belief: that only failures in nurturing or discipline can cause children to become robbers, rapists, or murderers. This belief, however, is dead wrong—and it does a hideous injustice to millions of dedicated parents who are nothing short of heroic in their efforts to help their troubled children.

The truth is that millions of parents are struggling to cope with children who simply can't be taught, disciplined, or guided. That's because these children's aberrant behaviors stem not from a societal syndrome but from a biological syndrome whose symptoms are so common that experts who deal with troubled children can spot them almost instantly. This symptom pattern, dubbed "dyslogic syndrome" by learning disabilities advocate John Wacker, includes:

As Crime Times readers are aware, all of these behaviors occur far more often in children with neurological dysfunction than in children with healthy brains. The causes of such dysfunction, which include gene flaws, toxic exposure, nutrient deficiencies, prematurity, and overt brain defects—to name just some—can be addressed only if we are intelligent enough to bring our thinking in line with scientific evidence.

It is certainly true that some parents of dyslogical children behave badly themselves, which is not surprising because of the powerful effects of genes on behavior (see related article, Crime Times, 2001, Vol. 7, No. 4, Page 7). But the vast majority of parents of troubled children are good and loving people who try everything possible to help their children. They see psychiatrists. They try behavior modification plans and special schools. They try unconditional love, "tough love," and every other approach the experts recommend. For the most part, none of this works—but it is not their fault, any more than a parent is at fault for failing to cure a child's leukemia or heart defect.

Dyslogic is the end result of a malfunctioning brain, not a failing of parents or society. Until we recognize this, all of us will be at the mercy of dyslogical children and their demons. And the children themselves will be at the mercy of brain disorders that remain undiagnosed, untreated, and fully capable of ruining their lives and the lives of other innocent people—including their parents.

Return to:
[Author Directory] [Front Page] [Issue Index] [Subject Index] [Title Index]