A horrific child abuse case in Texas this week presents a difficult conversation: how much leeway can we give grownups who had "difficult" childhoods? Tiffany Klapheke was convicted this week of injury to a child, nearly two years after her 22-month-old daughter died of malnutrition. The Texas mom and military wife stood accused of starving her three daughters, resulting in the death of the youngest, Tamryn.
But Klapheke herself didn't have the happiest of stories. She was struggling with three kids while her military husband was deployed overseas. Mental health experts on both sides of the aisle testified in her trial that the military mom suffered from "post-traumatic stress disorder and reactive attachment disorder as a result of trauma she endured as a child."
Certainly, but I'm not surprised a jury came back in just six hours with a guilty verdict for the role Klapheke played in her toddler's death. I know I don't have any pity for her.
Maybe that sounds cold, but come on! Having a sucky childhood can screw you up for life, but it's all the more reason not to put another generation of kids through the same pain.
Oh, I know there's plenty of science about how abused kids can grow up and become abusers, and I'm not saying it's junk science. I am, however, saying that we are more than just our childhoods. We have free will, and we have the power to understand right from wrong. We can look back at the crap our parents put us through and see that it wasn't the right thing ... and make the conscious choice not to do it to our kids (or heck, if we're that screwed up, choose not to HAVE kids!).
The mental health witness for the prosecution in Klapheke's case, by the way, acknowledged her past trauma and did not dispute the defense witness' claims that it adversely affected her. BUT he discounted their assertion that the Texas mom was in a "dissociative state" before reportedly neglecting her children. Basically? He didn't give her the easy out.
And thank goodness the jury got that. Klapheke is now facing life in prison for Tamryn's death.
What do you think of her story? Do you give it any weight or have any sympathy for her?
Image via Taylor County Sheriff's Office