Parents Must Share Some Responsibility When Their Teens Kill

dinner tableThis week we saw a string of teenagers being arrested for some horrific crimes. Two brothers age 15 and 17 charged with the murder of Autumn Pasquale, a 17-year-old arrested for the murder of Jessica Ridgeway, a 19-year-old for the murder of a woman and two of her young children. It's got us wondering: What's going on with our teens?

But another question it raises is -- what's going on in these homes? I asked that question in my post about the brothers arrested for Autumn Pasquale's murder. I didn't ask in order to place blame solely at the feet of the boys' mother. After all, she turned in her sons in just like Austin Sigg's mother turned him in. But you still have to ask: How does your kid turn out that way? And how responsible are the parents?


We still don't have all the details about these cases and the kids who allegedly committed these crimes, just lots of questions. Did their fathers shirk their responsibility and fail to stick around and provide their sons with guidance? Were the moms overwhelmed, working to keep a roof over the family's heads? Was there a history of mental illness in the family? And beyond that, were there social safety nets that failed these families as well?

I know we can't control our kids, especially as they get older. But part of our job as parents is to teach our children morals and ethics -- and to try to keep our kids from harming other children. That goes for anything from online bullying to kidnapping and murdering. 

Again, I'm not saying it's all the parents' fault. The kids themselves take a lot of the responsibility, obviously. But they're still kids. And somewhere down the line something in their upbringing or home life helped set the conditions to enable their crime. But maybe, if we weren't so obsessed with "personal responsibility" and total independence, and we asked more often "what's going on at home?" tragic crimes like this wouldn't happen as often.

Do you think parents have any responsibility when their kids murder?


Image via siddhu2020/Flickr

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