How to watch for violent behavior in your child - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

How to watch for violent behavior in your child

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - To everyone around them, the Hadleys seemed like a normal, tight-knit family.

That's why the arrest of son Tyler in connection with the killings of Mary Jo and Blake Hadley puzzles relatives.

"It was a significant act of rage, combined with a complete lack of empathy," said Marion Mollica-Minson, a child psychologist. "Earlier on, there were probably lots of symptoms about his inability to really form significant attachments and relationships."

Which is why, she says, it's important that parents listen and observe. "You need to not deny what is going on in your family, to take a look at what is happening and deal with it," she says.

First, she says, parents need to watch for are sudden fits of rage. "It could be kicking a garbage can," says Mollica-Milson. "It could be your newly licensed driver has episodes of road rage."

She also says it's crucial to observe how they react to frustration and disappointments. Also, is your teen having brushes with the law? And finally, she says, its important to notice any changes in behavior. Are grades dropping, are friends changing, are they spending more time alone?

"If it's out of character for them, and it's just an episodic thing, that's one thing," she says. "But if you start to see it escalate, it's a problem."

Finally, Mollica-Milson has a word of advice for parents: the good ones are the ones who aren't afraid to say, "help me help my child."

"It's a sign of your strength, not your weakness, to ask for help," she says.

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