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Deadly serious

February 14, 2011

My lovely friend Z, who lives in California, has sent me a link to a New York Times article on parents killing their teenage children.  Now everyone knows my own children are perfectly behaved *ahem* *ahem ahem* (I really must get some lozenges for my persistent tickly cough) but there are moments when I’ve been sorely tempted …..  I shouldn’t joke about something which is deadly, forgive me, serious, but who, if they’re honest, would say they have never wanted to end one of those grinding arguments with teenagers, when you’re being told everyone else’s parents let them stay out all night/spend the family fortune in Superdry/get multiple piercings, with a satisfying blast from a sawn-off shotgun? This article really puts things into chilling, horrifying, serious perspective, though. Have a look. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/opinion/12ellison.html

It’s not possible to know what on earth drove this mother of two apparently ideal teenagers to shoot them both in the head and then cover up their corpses with blankets. I’m not sure what lessons there are to be learnt from such horror. But one thing did strike me forcibly – the fact that the mother, even in her final months with the children when she was seeking counselling and admitting there were problems, was still posting stuff on Facebook that made them look like the Waltons. There is such pressure now, to appear perfect. The whole incident reminds me of those awful cases where the father, usually an apparently successful, self-made man, suddenly loses his business and, instead of facing up to his financial problems, kills his entire family and usually himself as well. These men choose death rather than admit to a less than perfect truth. Are women now going the same way? And taking their children with them?

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  • CherishedByMe February 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Isn’t it so sad that she was pushed to such limits that she did something so absolutely awful. She now has to live with that for the rest of her life which I expect will be punishment enough without what the law will deliver. The whole thing is tragic, for her children and for her and her husband. Yes you are right I think there is so much pressure on women nowdays that anything less than perfect is a failure in their eyes. I have seen so many quivering women putting their children under so much pressure because if the children fail the husband blames his wife for not taking the child to enough classes or practices etc. 🙁

  • notSupermum February 14, 2011 at 11:09 am

    An absolutely awful, shocking episode. That woman must have needed help a long time before she did what she did, why did nobody notice? Even after the slapping incident?

    As the mother of a 14 year old and an 11 year old I know that teenagers can push your buttons and be very difficult, but to take it to this extreme is beyond my imagining.

    Such a tragedy.

  • Crystal Jigsaw February 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    An horrific case and one that is very much happening everywhere. Of course we all feel like we could throttle our kids at times, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t, but to shoot them literally is pretty damn awful. You’re right about perfection and pressure – there is too much idealism in our world where one is supposed to live up to the perfect human being. None of us are perfect. Well, not all the time…!

    CJ xx

  • Lynda February 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I can remember leaving book group several years ago with a friend( where I have to admit the book is often the last thing we discuss) and her wondering why one group member never had any problems with her two daughters while we always have at least one child doing something that winds us up. It’s simple I replied – she lies. I still hold to that.

    You also have to wonder why in that entire article no one mentioned the fact she used a gun. I don’t know about you but I know NO ONE that has a gun in their suburban home.

  • muummmeeeee! February 17, 2011 at 6:41 am

    That is a truly terrible story made so much worse by the fact she actually planned to do it! My kids drive me absolutely nuts at times and I can’t tell you the times I’ve wanted to swing them round the room by an ankle but obviously I refrain from doing so!

    Thank God I don’t live in a country where it’s legal to drive your children to football practice with a gun by your side….