CHENNAI: ‘No way’. That’s your answer. But in light of the recent video that had two medical students involved with throwing puppy off a terrace, mental health experts say ‘disturbing behaviour’ can often be spotted as early as at the age of eight. What’s worse, you might have missed it.
Seasoned neuro-psychiatrist Dr N Rangarajan points out that wilful choices to hurt another living being can be spotted in cases that are often dismissed as child’s play – like attaching a firecracker to a cat’s tail. But often this is reprimanded by a parent or caregiver and he assures, “A majority of such children understands, develops empathy for the animal and correct themselves. But there is a small section that remain insensitive even after.”
The problem looms darker when such actions are dismissed, downplayed or even justified. Without the sense of morality ingrained early on, sadistic tendencies can be encouraged unknowingly. Often parents who are not pet owners may not realise that by letting go of their child repeatedly taking pleasure in hurting an animal, they might be advancing other manifestations of such behaviour in adult stages. “This could range anywhere from domestic violence to homicide,” says Saras Bhaskar, a counselling psychologist.