Next week I get to go into a home of one of our patients, observe him, devise a plan to help his parents deal with his most challenging behaviors, and spend part of two days helping them to implement it. Someone else from the office will follow up with the family the following week. I haven't met the child yet, but chance are that I'll like him more than I liked the twelve-year-old boy who grabbed my arm on Thursday because I wouldn't fix the broken video game in our waiting room.
I don't need to like the child, though. I need merely to be professional and to have a desire to help him. Teachers and other professionals sometimes beat themselves up over not liking some children in their charge. A person cannot necessarily control whether or not he or she likes a particular child. A person can control how he or she acts toward the child, though. It is the professional's duty to treat the child fairly and even to keep in mind that a person's view as to what is fair to the child may be skewed if the person does not like the child. A person has to try harder when working with a child of whom he or she is not particularly fond.
I've reached a conclusion in observing children in the pediatric neurology office and also while watching Supernanny. I decided to watch episodes of Supernanny on Youtube so that the behavior of the real-life child with whom I must work next week will seem less shocking to me by comparison. The conclusion that I've reached, which is surely a bit of a broad generalization but at the same time, I suspect, something that is generally true, is that people who give their children highly unconventional names, as in made-up names that rarely make it onto lists of actual names (or even if the names do make it onto name lists, make it there only by virtue of a celebrity child having been given the name, which inspired commoners to use the name as well, granting the non-name a place on a list of actual names) more often than not have children who are not inclined to play by society's rules. The reasons for this are probably as varied as the bizarre non-names themselves, but I'm willing to name two of the most common factors in the kids-with-bizarre-non-names-as-given-names-who mysteriously-grow-up-to-be-assholes syndrome: A) Children with bizarre names are angry about having been given bizarre names that are not real names. This is particularly true if they're boys. I suspect that boys are for some reason a bit meaner to other boys who have strange names. Perhaps conformity is a bigger deal among males as well. In general, girls are typically the gender that learns the art of psychological terrorism with amazing ease, but for some reason girls with highly unusual names fare better than boys with odd names. Years of research back this up. B) (and I believe this to be the dominant factor) Parents who give their children, particularly their sons, names that are not actually names, often view their children as being highly original and therefore often exempt in terms of the expectation of adhering to norms. They want their children to be different, and they often consider their children to be just a bit more special and more entitled than is than the average child. The same force that motivated the parent to give the child a bizarre name that is not an actual name is at work in influencing the parent not to force too much of society's baggage onto his or her child, because the child is, for want of a better word, just too special for such baggage.
Regardless of whether my factors are at work in the non-conformity of a given child, teachers will tell you that the boys named Wild, River, Royalty, Warlord, Champion, Maverick, Innocent, and Touche' (THAT one looks and sounds a bit too much like douche to me) will be children who think they do not have to follow classroom or school rules. It would happen regardless of how the parents felt about the child having such an entitled attitude, but in most cases, the parents have given tacit approval to the child's attitude.