Heather Murphy-RainesEarly in my marriage and shortly before kids, my husband (despite his views) and I made a deal to have no video games in the house. None. Nada. Zip. I firmly believed they were the true path to rotting out my future children's brains.
Fast forward 15 years later ...
Welcome to the land of Wii, Xbox, each child having a DS and iPhone filled with games! They thrive on it. I know, I absolutely caved.
One good thing? It gives me more leverage to get my spawn to obey. I've added games to my arsenal of parenting incentives. Sadly, such an arsenal was fatal to 37-year-old mom Rashida Anderson. Her son Kendall Anderson allegedly killed her with a claw hammer and tried to cremate her in the kitchen oven for taking away his PlayStation.
The 16-year-old confessed to police that he decided to kill his mother after a 90-minute argument that culminated in her taking the video game console away.
Even more horrific? Her son waited three hours before acting. This was no teenage impulse. This was cold-blooded, premeditated murder. After making the decision to kill his mother, he hit her 20 times with a hammer as she slept. But when that didn't kill her, the boy dragged his mom downstairs and tried to "cremate" her in the kitchen oven. Then he beat her in the head with a chair leg.
My mind reels at the sheer horror. How a video game, used for parental leverage, became a reason to kill is beyond me. I am hesitant to call it an addiction, but I can surmise that if the loss of something spurs you to brutally extinguish the mother who birthed you, it's an addiction.
Yes, I use video games for leverage -- which is why my 14-year-old has lost his Xbox privileges until November. We worked up to that punishment. It involves grades, talking back, disrespect, and the usual teenage attitude. I guess I'm lucky that it generally works. Video games are my last arsenal in my angst in raising a teenager. I fight back against my son because I do care. I imagine that Rashida Anderson had the same mindset.
Sadly, according to police, the consequences of his actions have finally hit the teenager. He stated to authorities, "If I could, I would not do it again. I really miss my mom ... she was the only person who cared for me."
How very sad is that: To kill the only person who cared about you ... all for a video game. Do you let your kids play games? Do you use them as leverage to compel good behavior?
Image via ScoutsHonor