Social Question

chyna's avatar

Should this 8 year old be punished?

Asked by chyna (47638points) August 29th, 2013
43 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

An 8 year old boy in my state stabbed his 4 year old sister in the neck. She recovered. Should he be punished and if so how? Article
Are 8 year olds capable of understanding their actions?

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Blondesjon's avatar

If it were the other way around, the four year old stabbing the eight year old, I would say the four year old didn’t know any better. Eight years old is old enough to understand the consequences of your actions.

Why did the kid have a knife in the first place and why was he stabbing a doll with it? If he’s exhibiting behavior like this at eight I think he needs some time in a quiet place with a lot of doctors.

I think the parents have some serious explaining to do.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

How can you not punish him? That’s some scary behavior.

DWW25921's avatar

My first thought is a question… What kind of environment does this kid live in that he would think behavior like that is acceptable? I mean, boys tend to be rough on things, maybe a little aggressive at times. But stabbing? I would focus on the guardians as they seem to be a bit lacking when it comes to conveying moral fortitude. Kids do as they observe. Maybe cut down on some TV? No pun intended. Punishments at that age only work if the kid acknowledges he did something wrong.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Judge Dredd would say yes

poisonedantidote's avatar

All humans are born wild, we don’t grow up or mature, we simply become domesticated and develop a larger vocabulary.

8 is old enough to know what is right and what is wrong, or at least, 8 is old enough to know what the adults say is right and what they say is wrong. (regardless of if the kid agrees or not)

Children are basically selfish, they have very pure clean logic, and are normally very frustrated because their small vocabulary wont allow them to express themselves.

My guess, is that the kid did this because of a lack of domestication or education.

Part of me wants to say that we should punish the kid, and the other part of me says we should tell him “don’t worry about those assholes, you was right to stab that other kid, it is the world that is wrong, not you, just try not to do it again”, and then punish all the adults for not having figured out how to make the world perfect yet.

At the age of 8, if I were the judge, I would be sentencing the kid to a stern talk, followed by 5 to 10 years of obligatory education, focusing mainly on the kids vocabulary and on giving him various moral and philosophy puzzles to examine and form opinions on.

While I am at it, I would send him off to see if he is a psycho or not, if not, no further action taken.

DWW25921's avatar

@poisonedantidote “lack of domestication or education” That’s a very interesting observation. I know a family where the kids are free to roam wherever and school is treated like free daycare. It’s a free for all. In that sort corrosive environment there’s really no telling what it will produce but I’d venture to guess nothing productive. A couple of those kids have already had run-ins with the law. It’s almost like they don’t care what’s right or wrong they only care about the moment.

livelaughlove21's avatar

According to my criminal justice professors, children under 7 are not held accountable, 7–12 is partial accountability, and older than that is full accountability.

Yes, there should be a consequence for his action. Was he fully aware of the ramifications of what he did? Maybe not. But he’s old enough to know he shouldn’t stab someone.

marinelife's avatar

Punishment, no? Therapy, yes. Possibly removing him from the same household as the four-year-old.

Jenniehowell's avatar

yes the kid should be punished. The how is another story but I can say that it should start with him being separated from his family for a few years aside from supervised visits of some sort that would be inclusive of some remedial training/therapy for the whole family.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar


Parents should be charged with neglect, based on review of the home environment by social workers. At this point seems like the authorities are acting reasonably.

Unless the therapist can establish otherwise, the burden is on the parents to prove that they taught him right and wrong.

ucme's avatar

Either the little fucker is named Damien, or the doll in question was Chucky.
Any right minded 8yr old should know basic right from wrong by now, unless he’s copying a deranged relative.

YARNLADY's avatar

A child that age does know right from wrong, but they cannot fully understand the long term consequences. He should be put in a special day long therapy class for at least a year.

This child should not be sent to a mainstream school class. It would probably be a good idea to find a residential program to get him away from his family.

I once met a child who was totally amoral. He had zero empathy for other people. His parents did nothing other than watch him closely, and warn other parents to keep an eye on him

augustlan's avatar

How sad. That is definitely not normal behavior for an eight year old, so he clearly needs therapy. I don’t know about punishment, but other children need to be kept safe from him.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I used the term punishment to refer to corrective therapy, not incarceration, or whatever. This kid has problems. He needs help addressing those problems, and I don’t think the family is up to it.

ragingloli's avatar

He should be executed immediately.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ragingloli What’s your preferred method? And by the way, we’re on to you. You have a nice side.

ragingloli's avatar

cut him in half with a rusty chain saw in the middle of town, so everyone can see!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

While someone pours alcohol and salt on the saw!

ragingloli's avatar

absolutely! and force every child in town to watch the spectacle, and tell them that the same will happen to them if they dare to disobey or question direct orders from their owners

Brian1946's avatar

I say arm all the kids with assault rifles, because with no background checks, this wannabe Micheal Myers will soon have one too!

gondwanalon's avatar

When I was 4 years old, I stole toys from another little boy. I knew it was wrong to do so and worried that I would get caught.

An 8 year old boy who stabs his little sister knows exactly what he is doing and should be locked up in a high security school where he can get treatment until he is 21. Then parole him for another 10 years.

rojo's avatar

Some people are just broken.

longgone's avatar

I would need more information to decide.
Where did he get that knife? Was there a scuffle beforehand, or did he just walk up to his sister and stab her?
What does ‘stab’ even mean here?
What are their parents like?
If he was angry, is remorseful now and has parents who seem capable of dealing with a difficult kid, I would get him to therapy but also remember that he’s only eight years old. Children develop at very different rates. If he cold-bloodedly hurt the girl, though, understanding his actions, that is extremely scary.

kavita000's avatar

I don’t think punishing him would be right. He is too young to get punished. Instead we need to make him understand that what he did was not right. He need to learn to control his anger.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@kavita000 Welcome to fluther. He was stabbing a doll and then his sister. Do you think he knew right from wrong at 8?

Mimishu1995's avatar

I think he deserves a punishment. No, not a legal one. An 8-year-old child should not receive a legal punishment. His family should do something about him.

Maybe this boy need a doctor as well.

By the way @chyna your question remind me of this

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Tough one isn’t it? He’s a child. But he could have killed his sister. I’d like to know if there is any animal abuse in his history.

hearkat's avatar

I’d want the entire family and home environment evaluated. Quite probably, both children (—and any other siblings—-) should be removed from the home at least in the short term. Not only did the parents fail to secure knives from the children, they failed to protect the 4-year-old from an attack.

If it is determined that the attacker has a biological issue causing him to behave with no regard toward other living creatures, then he should be isolated from society and given treatment to stabilize his behavior and teach him compassion or at least logical reasoning of right and wrong, dependent on his diagnosis; and the rest of the family can be reunited.

If it turns out that environmental factors played a large part in what happened, then the parents should not be allowed access to the kids until everyone has undergone serious therapy and the parents can demonstrate an ability to act responsibly in raising children.

Pooh54's avatar

Absolutely. My 5 year old nephew knows the difference between right and wrong and hurting others.
Does this child who did the stabbing have some medical condition that would explain why he did this (is he autistic?) My concern is if he did this once, what is to stop him from doing something else like hanging them in a closet or putting a pillow over the 4yr old face. The child needs some serious help and as quickly as possible. Why would anyone even think the child should not be punished?

Pooh54's avatar

@poisonedantidote – I just hope he doesn’t have pets.

ragingloli's avatar

Here is a simple solution for this:
You get every little child a puppy. You let the child get really attached to it, play with it, cuddle with it.
And then you brutally slaughter it in front of their eyes. That will teach them not to kill or harm others.

Pooh54's avatar

@ragingloli – I don’t believe that would do anything except screw the child up for life. Just what we need is more screwed up kids.

rojo's avatar

The other question here is if you do punish an 8 year old, what is the appropriate punishment? I don’t think we, as a society, have an answer for that?

Dutchess_III's avatar

The child is seriously disturbed.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Pooh54 Are you sure? My neighbor is a 5-year-old and he doesn’t know half as much as your nephew

Ron_C's avatar

The kid need therapy and the parents need to be trained. What made the kids think that stealing the family car was a good idea?

Pooh54's avatar

@Mimishu1995 – my nephew is so smart at 5, it shutters me to think how smart he will be at 25. Both his parents are very intelligent. He plays chess and beats my brother (it is too funny). My brother said he will not let him win but encourages him to do his best every time. My neice, his sister, is also very bright. She is going into pre-school and knows everything her brother knew when he was going into kindergarten. It must be the healthly eating or fresh air they are getting. I feel so stupid around them—not that they are mean and make fun of what I don’t know but maybe the right word is inadequate. I also noticed that they both learn alot from the examples that their parents set. As you can tell, I am very proud of them.

Pooh54's avatar

I know of an instance where 6 yr old and 4 yr old sisters were in a foster home with very wonderful people. One day the 6 yr old put a pillow over her sister’s face and sat on her. Luckily the foster mom was in the next room and came in to check on them. A few days later the older one tied a bathrobe belt around the little one’s neck and tied her in the closet. These 2 sisters definitely had something wrong with them. The older didn’t know the consequenses of her actions and the younger one didn’t know that she shouldn’t let her do it. The younger one never even struggled. Luckily for both of them, the foster mom called to get them help. The older one went to a psychiatric hospital and the younger one to another foster home with no other children. Maybe you should not punish the child but I would not hesitate to get some serious psychiatric help for everyone in the family. Something is obviously going on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Re your niece and nephew….It’s just genetics and environmental stimulation @Pooh54.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Dutchess_III I agree with you. My neighbor still thinks he can jump down a tall building or stands in front of an explosion without much harm just like the cartoons :(

ragingloli's avatar

Also a failure of the education system to properly teach the bare basics of physics.

kavita000's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I can totally understand what you are trying to say but a least we can try. These things are better learnt in childhood and then they stay with you forever. Punishing would only increase his anger.

Pooh54's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Maybe the punishment should be realizing that each action he does brings about consequences. He should learn there are consequences for everything he does. If he doesn’t learn now then when he gets older what is to stop him from robbing a bank or hurting someone else. I believe rights & wrongs are learned very young and they should be held accountable.

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