“Parent abuse is a serious problem”

A tragic story today from Tulsa, of a son, charged with the murder of his mother. There was apparently a history of violence from him in their relationship and he had been arrested in the past for domestic violence assault and battery as the accompanying video makes clear.

Missy Iski, Director of Programs and Counseling at DVIS, comments on the piece, encouraging people to talk more about the serious problem of parent abuse. She gives phone numbers of helping agencies in the Tulsa area.

I was reminded of a journal article from Walsh and Krienert of 2009 which drew distinctions between child to parent violence and parricide. Their own study suggested that these were two distinct problems. Nevertheless, abused parents report frequently feeling fearful for their lives, sometimes with good cause as demonstrated here.

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One response to ““Parent abuse is a serious problem”

  1. Very sad.
    It’s true that “family violence is underreported because a lot of parents are probably embarrassed or ashamed about what’s going on in their household,” but since this mother had reported it several times that is obviously just one part of the story. Parents who do report often get unhelpful, confused and negative responses.

    The comparison of child to parent violence and parricide is interesting. To quote myself: “fathers are more often the victims of parricide by adolescents. Some studies suggest that (in the U.S. at least) about 70% of victims of adolescent parricides are fathers or step-fathers (Heide 1992; Heide 1993). A large number of adolescent parricides appear to be defensive or retaliatory, which may explain the higher rates of violence to fathers than mothers. It is noteworthy that in a number of detailed accounts of parent murders, this appears to have been the very first act of violence towards an abusive parent (e.g. Mones 1991), suggesting a very different dynamic to most CPV.” Gallagher 2008
    So statistically a lot of murders of parents by teens are son’s (mainly) killing abusive fathers. This is similar to a lot of murders of male partners by women. But not all are this pattern. There is no doubt that (especially in the US with so many guns around) that violence to parents is going to occasionally result in murder. Some of the accounts of parent murders I’ve read sound very similar to the pattern we see where over-entitled children bully indulgent (mainly,not always) parents. However, once the parent is dead there is huge pressure for lawyers and psychiatrists to justify the child’s behavior and it is then easy to accuse the dead parent of being subtly abusive or over-controlling. This pressure is greater in the US where the adolescent can face the death penalty unless they are given an excuse.
    I am very thankful that here in Australia we have stricter gun laws than in the US or I’m certain some of the several hundred families with CPV that I’ve dealt with over the past 20 years would have seen murders (not to mention more impulsive suicides).

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