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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I fear that my fourteen year old daughter is suffering from

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I fear that my fourteen year old daughter is suffering from a Sociopathic disorder. I have noticed something that doesn't feel right for years, but always find a way to reationalize it. That may be the case now was well, but it feels different, compulsive lying, lack of respect for anybody in the house, lying about everything.

If she hurts somebody with her words or ruining something or taking something, she may apologize, but then she will do it again. Any promise to clean her room, do her laundry, etc. is almost like she didn't make the promise at all.

I have been reaising children for 33 years (my own) and she is the baby, I thought my oldest gaughter didn't survive her teenage years because I wanted to throttle her, but the youngest, she is pushing every limit there is. I actually had to leave the house tonight so I would not hurt her. Her freinds brought Cigarettes, Wine and Pot to my house for a little gathering they were having in the basement.

I explained to all of the kids when they got here, empty your bags, pockets, etc. whatever I find I keep, you can join the get together, I thought I was being very rational about the whole thing. One girls snuck by with the wine, another gorl had cigarettes in her bra, and a boy had pot in his underwhere. My daughter told them I was going to bag and pocket check, so to hide it well.

They all knew who was bringing what. I called every parent to have them come pick up their lying children and then I was left with mine (and yes, I did tell every parent what happened), now I am horrible, she can never go back to school again I have ruined her life and she is going to cut herself, which is the "in" thing right now.

The stress in the house is high right now as we are getting ready to sell the house and move a town over. I am looking for whatever reason for her to not be a Sociopath or have any of the illnesses that are in the same family.

We are in forclosure and will be selling the house in the next few months, but she had exhibited the sysptoms even when most things are great. She may have GAD, which I have thought of, (and I hope it is, as it is the lesser of all of the evils and can be treated with talk therapy and light medication) she is highly stressed most of the time, except when she is with her freinds, but even then there is drama.

I just really need some guidance here, I do not want to put her through tests that are not required, I also do not want to miss anything, finding that balance is very difficult. Unfortunately she meets about 80% of the Sociopathic symptons/behavior.

The area that we live in is also terrible for her. her age group of girls are the worst little creatures I have ever encountered. I don't know it if is the blue collar area (we moved to semi-rural PA from So Cal. Even the boys are into the bullying, cyber and face to face.
I had to threaten to sue the school board last year because my daughter did not feel safe at school. That seems to have passed a bit, the peer pressure to be a complete idiot in this area is astounding.

Any insight, answers, questions, etc. are all welcome.

Please help.

Thank you,

Amy Austin

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like your daughter needs a therapeutic evaluation to determine what diagnosis she does have. Sometimes, teens can exhibit very strong symptoms just based on the amount of emotional volatility that goes on in that age group.


Along with her age, she is dealing with adjusting to moving. This is a difficult time for a teenager when friendships and stability needs are at their highest. Social status is also very important as well. The loss of the family home and adjusting to a new and difficult environment can also be causing her to act out. Friends have an extremely strong influence on behavior and being that the family home is somewhat unstable right now with the move can cause her to look to friends for stability. Once your family settles again, this influence will lesson somewhat.


Being the youngest in the family also has some impact on her behavior. Youngest children often have more freedom because as parents we are not as strict with them as we were with the older ones. They also tend to be more social and more open in their actions. This is not a strict rule across the board, but in most cases, child order can affect personality in a family.


There also may be a need to change the discipline level. Because of her acting out and her defiance of your authority, she may be in need of stronger guidelines to help her get back on track behaviorally. Talk with her father about what you both feel would work and try stronger restrictions with her. Sometimes children do not have the maturity level yet to rationalize their behavior on their own and need the guidance of parents who are more experienced.


Sociopathic tendencies in children can be confused with the volatility and strong emotions of the teenage years. This is why an evaluation is very important. What you witness with her behavior can be the normal defiance of a teenager against authority. The fact that your daughter has adjusted and made friends (even if they are not a good influence) is a good sign that she is not sociopathic. A therapist can help you sort out your daughter's actions and determine what type of treatment would help. You can find a therapist by asking her doctor for a referral or if you attend church, your pastor can help. Also you can search on line at


I hope this has helped you,



Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Kate,


I knew most of this, the fact that we haven't moved yet (and won't for several months) that she seems very excited about as she hates our school district, honestly the entire family does. Isn't in play just yet. My concern is that at 14, she should have a best freind by now, I think. She just bounces from person to person, group to group. So she has a difficult time connecting with a freind for longer than a few months and then maybe 6 months later that person is back in her life for a few months again and we have lived out here for 8 years from So. Cal.


She is very social and likes having freinds but just can't seem to find that BFF that by 14 should be established. This concerns me. The fact that she has no regards XXXXX XXXXX for anybody in the house or their belongings concerns me too or how that person feels when she violates their belongings. It's likeshe had no boundaries, what she wants, she will get somehow. The lying has to be the worst, out of the 5 I have raised I have not had one like this, she will look you or anybody in the eye and lie to your face and she is so beautiful, charming and charismatic you believe her, even though your gut is screaming something is wrong.


Do you still feel like Sociopathic behavior is a slim chance based on all of the information? She is obviously going to therapy regardless, since I have been up for over 24 hrs, a little piece of mind would be a good thing for me, I am at the end of my rope with this one, her cuteness had kept her alive to this point.


Thanks again,


Amy Austin

She does exhibit some of the symptoms of sociopathic behavior, but before you determine this, there could be other explanations for her behavior.


She could have conduct disorder. This is related to sociopathic tendencies and may develop eventually as she becomes an adult, but this could also stay a conduct disorder and resolve itself, especially with treatment.


She also does not fit some of the criteria for sociopathic disorder. So you are right to get her an evaluation to determine exactly what is going on.


Although having a best friend is common by this age, there are kids who do not chose a best friend and have trouble connecting with others for long term relationships. It is not necessarily a symptom of a severe disorder.


I understand that a mother's intuition is very strong and when something is wrong with your child, you pick it up before anyone else can. That is very natural. But you do not want to forget that as a teenager, there are many issues that can go on at this age and resolve themselves as your child becomes an adult. That does not mean that you should chalk this all up to her age, but that what she is going through could also be something other than sociopathic behavior. The evaluation will help a lot to get you the answers that you need.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Kate,


I will accept your answer so you get credit for it. One last question....worst case she is diagnosed as sociopathic. What are our options, treatments, etc., that will give her the best normal quality of life? College, marriage, kids, the whole American Dream thing. Would that be possible for her if she is?

If your daughter does have sociopathic disorder or severe conduct disorder, treatment is intensive inhome behavioral therapy such as wraparound therapy. She could also be followed in school by her therapists. They would coordinate her care with the school counselors. There are no studies that provide specific treatment recommendations or effective therapies since there are only about 5% of the population that has been diagnosed with this disorder. Because of this, wraparound intensive therapy is used to try to resolve the behavioral issues.


Prognosis is guarded but at her age, with intensive treatment, she most likely would be able to have a normal life.



TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi Kate,


Thank you so much for your time, just knowing that she CAN live a normal life after treatment if she has the worse case scenario, gives me the hope to keep fighting the fight regardless of how difficult it can be. As long as she can stay with me until she is ready to go out into the world and live the life that she deserves, and she deserves a great one.


Again...thanks so much.



You are very welcome, Amy! I am glad the answers helped you. Hang in there, you are doing a great job.