This is a hard and serious question, but we cannot sweep it aside. There are clear symptoms that manifest in early childhood. Some parents don’t want to recognize that there is a problem until something serious happens like your ten year old son killing his dog, swinging the cat by its tail against the wall, or anything that involves cruelty to animals. Being cruel to a pet is a big sign. Hurting a sibling, like fighting and breaking her arm is another big warning. Don’t think that the child will outgrow this. There is a reason why he indulges in this kind of behavior. It is not even the same as bullying as bullying entails another person who has agreed to be involved in a fight. Breaking your sister’s arm on purpose is evil. How did the child become evil? When did it start? What can reverse this kind of malice? Normally children who are ten and older have developed enough sense and some values to know that harming a living thing such as a pet is wrong. Hurting animals is against God’s wishes. This is not normal playing and behavior.
According to a review of psychological and criminal research by child psychologist, Robert R. Butterworth, Ph.D., children with early and delinquent functioning and who do not get along with other children and have disruptive families and abusive parents are most prone to act out their rage through murder. There are other signs such as the child being a loner, having no friends, and doing poorly in school. These children often come from homes where the parents are indifferent and neglectful and deal harshly with their kids and they themselves indulge in physical punishment. Children who kill also often feel they have no place in society. Anyone who watches popular forensics sciences programs know the profile of killers like Dahmer and other serial killers who have had a wretched childhood resulting in extreme loneliness and feeling like an outcast, who later kill. Butterworth goes on to say that children killing have invaded the heartland of America, and that all children are at risk. He states further that until it is known what makes these kids tick, that it is dangerous to release them into society.