New clues identifying which children may be at risk for the worst antisocial behaviour later in life, and the origins of these behaviours, have been discovered by scientists.

Researchers found that while most children grow out of the “terrible twos” to become well adjusted, most career criminals started their antisocial behaviour during their toddler years.

The study focused on “callous-unemotional” traits in children, including behaviours such as lying, a lack of empathy and showing little emotion.

They found when these actions were not corrected children could get into trouble with the law later on in life.

Luke Hyde, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, said: “These are signs for parents and doctors to watch out for, as they may signal more than just the terrible twos.”

The study also examined the origins of these early signs of trouble in children, opening up new questions about the decades of research which have shown that harsh and negative parenting is linked to the development of antisocial behaviour.

Read the full article "Why the 'terrible twos' could be the first step to a life of crime" at The Telegraph.