Unexpected Killers: a Look Into Parricide

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Unexpected Killers: A Look Into Parricide
EN 101: English Composition
Miller-Motte Online
Stacey Reid


Several nights ago, my eight year old daughter and I were lying on the sofa together watching a movie. I remember stroking her hair as she fell asleep and thinking, as I often do, how much I love her. If you are a parent, then you know exactly the kind of moment I am describing: the moments where you are overwhelmed with the love you feel for your child, but what if that child, one day, turned out to be a killer? Worse yet, what if you, their parent, turned out to be their victim? Most of us couldn't imagine meeting our deaths at the hands of one of our children, but for some parents it becomes reality. Parricide, the murder of a parent by their child, accounts for 3 percent of all homicides in the United States. Although this is a very small number in the great scheme of things, it translates to about 5 parents per week being murdered by their children, which I think really puts it into perspective. Parricide is fascinating, and always presents one main question to us: Why do they do it? There are varying motivational factors and circumstances surrounding parricide. First, as one might suspect, mental illness often plays a role in parricides. I personally can't imagine a child who is mentally stable and who has a secure, balanced home life killing their parents. Therefore, I think it is fair to say that there is almost always going to be some form of mental and/or emotional instability present when a child commits parricide. Unfortunately, in most cases, the condition goes undiagnosed and, thus, untreated, until it is too late. Findings show that in cases where a mental illness is diagnosed prior to the parricide, it is most often major depression, bipolar disorder or some form of conduct disorder. The minority of diagnoses are psychotic disorders such as...
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