Why Parents Kill Their Children

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Katy Mallory
Jennifer Langi
English 1010 Section 003
12 April 2012
Why Do Parents Kill Their Children?
Even though many mothers and fathers are loving and figures that should be looked up too, they can also be deadly and dangerous. My question is: why would a mom and dad would want to kill their child? I am interested in this because our world depends on fathers and mothers and it is interesting how in many ways we can depend on them but in some ways we can’t. Parents all over the world have problems with their lives and many lash out and do things they wouldn't ordinarily do because of relationships, marriage, or financial problems. A quote from The Nature and Extent of Child Homicide and Fatal Abuse stated that “The killing of a child by a carer is likely to have been preceded by a distortion in family relationships. But should these trials in their own lives be taken out and blamed on the child? (Browne & Lynch 315) There are many questions I have about this and it deserves to be examined and explored. It saddens me that there are so many filicides-suicides, infanticides, and child- homicides and there seems to be no end to it. I have found many answers in the research I have done, and I believe it has satisfied some of my questions. Whenever I see a child getting yelled at or threatened at the store or in public, I cringe. I fear the child will be hurt later once they get home possibly for making the parent angry. I do not ever want to meet someone who abuses and harms their children in any way. I would not want to come across any of the men or women who have committed these crimes. I suspect that the more parents refuse to help each other and be more supportive for each other the more likely they will be able to take out their anger on, and possible harm their children. Heather Strang from the article The nature and extent of child homicide and fatal abuse analyzed over a thousand victims of homicide in Australia in 1989 and 1992. Of all the victims only 8% were under 15 years old. Only 59 out of 83 got killed by parents or step parents. Other family members and friends killed the other remainder. It said that three were victims of strangers, and the 30% of them died in a family fight and 20% were mentally ill. One third of the children were pronounced victims of abuse and neglect (312). Before I could focus on the impact of parents killing their children, I needed to learn more about filicides and the crimes associated with them. In a case by Kevin D. Browne, he defined filicide as a parent who kills their child or a parent substitute such as a stepfather (309). Resnick described filicide in a 2005 study: Filicide is the third-leading cause of death in American children ages 5 to 14 (Browne 312). My opinion on the research question why parents want to kill their children is definitely negative towards filicide and I feel my research gave me a better understanding of the definition on what filicide is. Before I could focus on why parents would want to kill their children and what motives they have. I also needed to read about a filicide case itself and establish what filicide really is.. This murder case was an altruicide case which is a type of filicide. I started reading the news article, “ Yates Thought She Was Possessed,” from Good Morning America, to help me better understand the topic I’m researching. I learned that on June 20th ,2001 Andrea Yates drowned her five children in a bathtub because she thought she was possessed by the devil and had the sign of Satan, “666,” on her head. Her five children were all less than ten years old and they were found dead in their home (ABC News 2012). According to the Times Magazine, Andrea told the police that she drowned her children because “ they weren’t developing correctly”(Times 2002). Russell Yates, her husband, said she has been suffering from postpartum depression since the birth of her youngest daughter. This didn’t surprise me...
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