To paraphrase, Fey pondered aloud whether her 2 year-old might be a sociopath because of a few incidents, including an end-of-bath-time choking episode. All of this was in a humorous way but it's an interesting observation.
Most are familiar with the term "sociopath", but for clarity I will highlight some characteristics of a sociopath. Sociopaths tend to lack remorse, shape their sense of morality for personal benefit, manipulate and exploit relationships, are intelligent, have violent tendencies (especially against the defenseless or weak), and can seemingly respond unemotionally to an emotionally-charged situation.
I imagine your child has exhibited these traits at some time in their short lives. I hope so, because it is largely normal and part of the developmental process. Think about it, your toddler disturbs your sleep and functions on their schedule, your child might lie to get something or hurt someone's feelings without showing care/concern, and your teen may have behaved in a self-centered, selfish manner. These are all sociopathic behaviors, not traits, just behaviors.
So what can Tina Fey and other parents do to nurture these sociopaths into emotionally well-adjusted adults?
Teach your child about emotions and relationships. When they act, help them understand why their friend (or you) felt happy, sad, or any emotion. There is a big difference between saying "Don't do that!" and explaining why something should (not) be done.
Explain to them why sometimes it's appropriate to say, "I'm sorry". Learning to apologize will help your child gain empathy and insight into other's thoughts and feelings. Apologizing is uncomfortable for some, so it's good to normalize the process.
Role play. With kids, simple is best. Any lecture on empathy, respect, or trust will probably be too overwhelming. If your child calls someone a name (e.g., stupid), you can ask your child how it would feel to be called stupid. The message can really sink in by acting out each role so your child can see what they are like and what it feels like to be the other.
Model appropriate behaviors and emotional expressions. A child's main reference for learning is their caregiver(s). Show your child how to express emotions appropriately and how to engage in healthy conversations. No one is perfect, so when you make a mistake or say something you shouldn't say, own it. This will teach your child that it's perfectly okay and normal to make mistakes.
If you are having trouble managing your emotions and relationships, find someone to help. It doesn't have to be a professional. It can be a family member, friend, or anyone who would be a positive, healthy person in your child's life.
It's important to always remember that kids make mistakes. With your guidance, your child will develop a sense of empathy and respect for others. It will take time and is a long-term project. I encourage you to work on empathy as early as reasonably possible, but know that their behavior won't consistently change until early to middle childhood (5-10 years of age).
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