Ugh. I think I saw a former student of mine in the grocery store today. To say that he wasn't one of my favorites would be a huge understatement. That kid caused me no end of trouble, both in and out of school.
If I had to guess the root of his problems, I would say bad parenting. That's not letting him off the hook by any means, but his parents are nutcases. They are definitely mean, but not in the strict, no-nonsense yet caring way that I espouse. No, they are mean in the hostile/psycho/bullying kind of way. Very demanding, with high expectations, and no respect whatsoever.
Whenever the delinquent got in trouble for doing something, one or both parents came to the school and caused a scene. The mother even slammed the door to the principal's office. Really. They took the concept of "helicopter parenting" to the extreme, but they didn't seem nurturing in any sense of the word. Their kids (yes, there are more than one) were bullied and shamed and demeaned, all with the excuse of it "being in their best interests".
Clearly, there is a huge difference between being a "mean" (my definition) mommy (or daddy) and being a cruel mommy or daddy; a "mean" mommy or daddy has high expectations and does everything they can to teach their kids how to reach them. A cruel parent has high expectations and bullies their kid into achieving them; when the kid fails to do so (which typically happens), the parent tries to bully teachers, administrators, coaches, etc into excusing or fixing the kid's mistakes instead of trying to correct them.
I hope that time and maturity have led my former student to see how his parents did him a disservice. Especially since he had a small child with him. Whether he is a daddy, a step-dad, an uncle or a "manny", I hope that he uses common sense and is only mean in the right way.