number and geographic dispersion across the South. It did not happen frequently and was meted out according to a consistent set of standards. There is no indication that T.J. was an abused child according to the standards of his culture. In light of the existing literature on childrearing and delinquency, the extreme consistency of childrearing practices here is particularly notable. There was none of the unpredictable fluctuation between inattention and sudden imposition of harsh discipline that is known to be associated with behavior problems, particularly aggression (Baumrind, 1978).
All the orderliness and close supervision of the household, however, appears to have to been related to another kind of problem for T.J.: a lack of emotional connection to others, particularly to his mother.
There is some indication in his mother’s own descriptions of him in court testimony. One community member who observed the hearings judged her to be “cold” and noted that she referred to him throughout as “this child” rather than “my son.” Inspection of the transcripts tends to bear this out. In response to multiple lines of questioning, she spoke repeatedly of her determined efforts to make sure that he performed well in school and behaved appropriately. She testified defensively to his normality in earlier childhood and voiced her fears about his well-being, especially in relation to taking Ritalin. She stressed her own careful monitoring and supervision as her primary response to these fears. She never expressed warmth or enjoyment of his company.
Whatever the state of T.J.’s mental health and his relationship with his mother in the earlier part of his life, the indications are substantial that both were in serious and worsening condition from the time of the family’s move from North Carolina to Georgia.
After the move, when he was in the eighth grade, T.J. became increasingly passive and withdrawn from others. This tendency affected every aspect of his social relationships: at home, in school, in organized recreational activities, and in informal relationships with peers.
After the move, T.J. enrolled in organized activities, with his parents’ assistance, but resisted active participation. Formerly a home run hitter in baseball, he would stand at the plate and let three strikes go by without swinging, while onlookers laughed at him. He also resisted joining a Boy Scout troop, even though he had previously enjoyed scouting. He did eventually join and appeared to continue enjoying camping activities. Being outdoors and alone or indoors and listening to music by himself were increasingly the main activities he enjoyed.
Around this time, T.J. did succeed in one achievement that earned him the approbation of others. At the age of 13, he killed his first deer. His stepfather spoke of it approvingly in court, and peers reported that talking about guns and hunting was one thing that T.J. always did with