Children and Cruelty

I am inspired to write this post after reading a FB post about children being kind to animals and whether some children are born kind & good and some are born wicked ?

To be honest, I am quite taken aback. Can it be true ? Is there no role for parental and environmental influences in the kind of choices children make in their lives ? Is it all in their genes ?

I remember reading a book long ago as a teenager – an English classic, where one of the characters, enjoyed torturing small animals- I specifically remember the author writing about how he pulled insect wings off and derived pleasure from doing so. Does any one remember which classic book it was – was it Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights or a book from one of the other Bronte sisters ?

To tell you the truth, I don’t think this holds true in all cases or in any case at all. I think parents and other influences can totally mould a child’s character and his behavior ? What they see as they grow up is how they will behave.

What do you think ? Can cruelty be an inherited trait ? Can children be inherently cruel and especially to beings smaller and more helpless than them ?