I strongly believe no one is born evil. Most of all I don´t believe in evil children.
If someone acts evil, it is because someone else made them that way. In particular, for children, we grownups and parents are most of all to blame. I have heard the most astonishing descriptions of “horrible” children from toddlers to teenagers, and how every adult criticizes them and tries to exclude them from their children´s circle of friends. I am not saying that the criticised children are angels – most probably they are not. What I find sad is that no one can see what could be the reason for the children´s behaviour. I believe that behind every badly behaved or problematic child or teenager is someone crying for help. Particularly as an educator, you have the responsibility of opening your eyes and try to figure out what the problem of the child could be, and try to help them. Exclusion and punishments won´t help.
I remember a boy in the same kindergarten group my son was, who was frequently hitting the other children, including my own son. However, how could you not feel sorry for that boy? His mother had died from drug overdose and his father, you could just see from his eyes how tired and overwhelmed he was. The boy was suffering from the loss of his mother and, most probably, from lack of attention. You see, behind the troubled child there was a suffering child.
I believe, that behind any troubled person there is always someone in pain – no one is a drunk or a drug addict by choice, as in the same line no one becomes a murderer or a pedophile because they think it is a wonderful way of life. At some point of their lives, these people were severely hurt and damaged in a way that leads them to do what they do to try to ease the pain – however without any success. Unfortunately, frequently you try to ease your pain in the same way you were hurt as a child. I, frequently, find myself repeating the things I hated the most on my parents – the same things I promised myself as child or as a teenager I would never do! Hasn´t that happened to you too?
I first heard about this reading some work from Alice Miller, a Swiss Psychologist who analyzed the effect of trauma and abuse on childhood. She analyzed the childhood of several known people including Hitler and Jürgen Bartsch, a German serial killer. From her work you understand how they became evil people, though, it does not justify the atrocities they committed, you do understand why they turned the way they were. After reading Alice Miller´s work you will never see the world the same way – you will have much more understanding and compassion with people and you will not that easily start criticizing people.
People are not born evil … but, most probably, along their lives someone made them evil.