Children & Death

I debated whether to write this post, because it’s pretty rough stuff, but just be warned – it could be hard for some to read as it centers on children being killed by┬átheir┬áparents. I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to skip…I just need to get it out of my head, and it seemed like as good a topic as any for a horror/suspense blog post.

 

Recently in our local news there was a story about a younger couple who had abused their ten-week old twins to the point where one of the babies died. The other was seriously injured, and is now in the care of others while the parents are in jail. Both parents were complicit in the abuse, and admitted as much.

 

Shortly after, I saw another news story about a mother who smothered her baby to death, and left said baby in a closet (somewhere not local). And then just in the past week, a mother whose small kids were found left in a car and dressed for summer on a very cold day. When pressed, she admitted she left them there to die.

 

I have a pretty sick mind. I can generally look at things a serial killer does or says, and see the twisted logic in it. I can see how someone would arrive at the conclusions they do even when it’s just a one-off killing, given their own circumstances and environment or whatever. I’m almost too good at putting myself in other people’s shoes (it’s draining, as I also have a pretty high personal moral code, so my understanding their thoughts & actions doesn’t at all signify agreement with their decisions on any level).

 

I could even understand wanting to euthanize if a child has some horrific disease or problem that will plague them throughout their lives. Not a decision I’d probably make, but I can understand the logic behind it and how one would come to that conclusion.

 

These killings of one’s offspring though, probably due to stretched tempers/lack of sleep/messed up hormones (though in the first case, the father was abusive as well…) – that I just don’t get. There are so many people who want kids that there is just absolutely no excuse for keeping them if you don’t want or can’t handle them. So many ways to get help with parenting – and those programs are very easily accessed too. Yet so many adults choose to keep or kill the kids they can’t cope with. Which signifies something far worse going on in those psyches, in my opinion.

 

I have let a child die in fiction before (under my own name)…but it was an accident, and something that just sort of happened while I was writing, and it seemed organic and plausible enough that I left it in. I don’t know if I could even write a character who would deliberately kill a child though. Because to write that, I’d have to get inside their head…and that might be too much for even me to face.

 

I’m not a parent, so obviously my perspective is skewed a bit, but by all means, if you’d like to discuss, feel free to share in the comments…


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One Response to Children & Death

  1. Ardee Eichelmann says:

    I spent years working in child protective services. I have seen it all. I have worked with many parents who have killed their children. Being involved in the investigation of the murder or abuse of a child is a horrible thing. Many of the parents I was able to see what caused them to “snap.” Others were just very psychopathic people who should never have been around children much less become a parent. Still others had serious mental illnesses, usually a form of schizophrenia, and during a psychotic episode committed a heinous crime. You never get used to dealing with dead or maimed babies.

    I will never forget the first dead baby I actually saw. We didn’t usually see the children who had died. We might see photos but not the body of the child. I remember wanting to pick her up and breathe life back into her. I wanted to be able to nurture her. My heart was broken on her behalf. She was a beautiful and perfect little girl with lips that reminded me of rose petals. I wanted the hand of God to reach down and heal her. Instead I was just there in the emergency room horrified that someone could have murdered their precious child. It was a long day and will not be soon forgotten. BTW, that day was more than 27 years ago. Yet it is indelibly etched into my mind.

    This child’s “crime” was being too active. She was too noisy and playful. She didn’t want to just sit still and watch television. For that she died.

    As a parent I understand being stretched beyond belief. I understand dealing with a crying baby who will just not quit crying. I understand the frustration that can boil over in such a case. My choice was to just put him in his bed and walk away for a few minutes. Coping with these things is not easy as most parents can tell you.

    You mentioned parenting classes in your blog post. I don’t know about in your area but in our area parenting classes are hard to come by, usually cost money and are primarily focused on teenagers and parenting children with special needs. Most people who are referred to parenting classes for younger children have already injured a child and are in “the system.” Prevention is seldom available. To me that is a criminal act on the part of our society. We need to work on preventing child abuse not just dealing with it after the fact.

    I will stop now. As you can tell this is a “soap box” and very personal issue for me.