IF YOU ARE capable of painfully striking your child in the absence of anger, remorse, or guilt, your behavior can be characterized as a sociopathic act …    to cause harm without conscience.

On the other hand, if you are capable of causing emotional or physical harm to another, in conjunction with feelings of pleasure, gratification, and/or sexual arousal, you have committed an act of sadism.

These forms of dysfunctional behavior when perpetrated against adult persons are generally accepted as accurate by definition. But, until children are also included as a viable segment of humanity, they will remain largely exempt from being considered victims of sociopathic and/or sadistic acts according to the double standard definitions as they apply to adults.

As we continue to evolve as a society, our cultural norms and values change, as do the words that define our behavior. In just a period of fifty years, we’ve seen the terms Spousal Abuse and Domestic Violence spring into our con- sciousness. A little over one hundred years ago, the term Child Abuse was not a part of the collective conscience in the United States.

Given these changes reflecting a greater collective humanity, I fully expect to see an expansion of the parameters currently used to describe acts that are consistent with sociopathy and sadism. This will occur when we finally bring children into the fold of humanity by putting behind us our prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes toward our young.

— James C. Talbot (April 24, 2010)

Author of The Road To Positive Discipline: A Parent’s Guide.
See http://www.positivedisciplining.com/author.htm