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Why Do Kids Kill Their Parents?

Updated on March 10, 2008

Murder in the family, although shocking and unsettling, is not uncommon. An analysis of publicly available national homicide data reveals that; when the relationships between victims and offenders were known, one of four murder victims was slain by members of his or her own family during the period 1977-1989. Approximately 1 out of 11 of these family murders involved parents being killed by their children. More than one third (36%) of parricide (the killing of one's parent), cases are accounted for by youths 19 years of age or younger, (Heide, 1989).

Beginning in the 1980's, a series of journalistic and literary accounts of youths killing their parents generated enormous interest. Other studies appeared analyzing the anthropological and psychological factors in cases where children have killed their parents.

In the overwhelming majority of findings parricide is a spontaneous, unfounded, individual act, shown to be a rational conclusion of factors, notably; severe abuse, the presence of guns in the home, and family and community ignorance, or denial of the that abuse.

The vast majority of the more than 5,000 homicides fell into three categories. Most commonly, [Heide] said, sons and daughters who killed a parent were abused at home. This was the case even more frequently among parricides involving a child under 18.

The child who kills his/her abusive parent is taking that action which is most likely (in the child's perception) to prevent him/herself from being further abused. The act is one of self-preservation. The relationship between the victim and the assassin is one in which the parent/victim abuses the child severely, pushing the child to the point of explosive violence. Professionals who have encountered or researched this find a common theme; children that kill a parent have usually been severely victimized.

In most of the parricide studies it has been found that there is a pattern of frequent assaults on the children, and all of the adolescents had either been threatened by parents with a gun or had watched other members of the family being threatened.

The second category involved children with severe mental illness, including conditions ranging from bipolar disorder to schizophrenia. This appeared more often in cases involving adult children who killed.

The third category are children with severe antisocial tendencies. Often young adults who kill one parent or both do it out of greed or anger over restrictions placed upon them. Sometimes they do it simply to buy drugs.

It has been found that killing a parent is about 2 percent of all homicides committed. Unlike homicide in general, parricide spans all social classes and is found to be more likely in middle to upper class families.

Could a behavioral profile be established that would indicate whether or not a child was predisposed to commit parricide as a result of psychological imbalances or as a result of abuse? Early detection methods, possibly instituted in the schools and the therapeutic community, could potentially save hundreds of lives each year. Not to mention the rising number of individuals who are committing suicide attacks or murdercide.



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      jim the killer 4 years ago

      i have a knife i set something on fire????????!!!!!!!! anyway BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      jim the killer 4 years ago

      ummmm i have a knife i set something on fire hahahahaha????!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      PHAMELA 5 years ago


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      JJJ 5 years ago

      Karebear, i look forward to seeing the six a clock news of your death...

      I mean you are just god awful, some of these cases where a child is beaten half to death in my opinion are more than acceptable, they are Self Defense!

      I wonder if you get drunk and beat your kids senseless too.... you should be cornered and shot for that attitude.

      Only a truly good parent can raise a child without resorting to any sort of physical punishment and if it is deemed necessary then a simple slap on the butt is acceptable as the sound alone scares them(Albeit at a young age under 6)

      My point is there are better ways to disciplining a child and as for this topic i feel any child who kills their parent because of extreme abuse should not ever be tried as an adult or tried period. Maybe get psychological counseling to make sure they are not schizo....

      But to punish them for trying to survive is highly ignorant and not only destroys the child's life but completely destroys any faith in the legal system.

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      Edilisa27 6 years ago

      You need to do your kid said

    • profile image

      Edilisa27 6 years ago

      You need to do your kid said

    • profile image

      Karebear 6 years ago

      I say a kid who could kill his parent probably didn't get their ass beat enough growing and never had consequences.

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      Scaredmom 6 years ago

      Does anyone have a bipolar step child that wants to kill them because they do not est to share their parent

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      Grecia 7 years ago

      Crimes committed within the family in a state of mental hallucination drug, alcohol, or money. In Sorbas, Andalusia, Marina Gijsels hacks killed his mother. In Amatlan, Mexico, Fernando Sandoval Lozano like her mother killed, and Licata, Chile, Danilo Soto did the same with his mother. In Peru they are known murders of Eva Bracamonte Fefer, Elizabeth Espino Vásquez, Giuliana Llamoja Hilares and Maria Teresa Cruzado Vera. What happens in the world today never to have seen ... These facts raise questions whether it is worth bearing children who will be our executioners.

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      gjyfu 7 years ago

      if someone points a gun at a loved one who cares who they are. it's all very well saying they shouldn't use violence but they shouldn't have been abused. no-one can give them such fabulous advice when no-one knows, now can they? for the consequences of committing murder to seem preferable than your current situation it would have to be something terrible, to seriously have such feelings at all an ordinary kid must be treated very badly.

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      Winter 8 years ago

      you don't treat them with respect. you get help, but you don't retaliate, becuase that would make you just as low as them

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      Brooke 8 years ago

      well, isaac. how do we treat our parents with respect if they constantly abuse, rape, mistreat, and neglect us?? how do you respect someone who is abusive to us. for some kids out there, jail would be a heaven from what they have to deal with at home...


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