Among yesterday’s news headlines on Yahoo! is the reappearance in an adult court of then 15-year old girl (now 18) who murdered a nine year-old in 2009.
The teenager’s background is highly dysfunctional: drug users as parents, parental abandonment, on Prozac, recent suicide attempt.
Her mom told her she hates her for murdering the younger girl.
If I may conclude, the girl is a victim and did what she did as a way to regain control of her sense of self, albeit in the wrong way (which to her wasn’t, at least at that moment of the kill). The murder was an extreme form of bullying.
The teenaged girl didn’t deserve the hate word straight from the horse’s mouth because she has been living in the shadow of that hate (premising on her background) since her birth (or perhaps even before that, in the womb). To her mother’s credit, she had finally actualized that mountain of hate.
Myself a parent and mother, my heart goes out to both the bully and the bullied, both so young, both children. To me, they are both victims.
How children turn out is not entirely without the influence of their parents or caregivers and families. Fifteen is a time of transition into the last phase of childhood and transitions if one isn’t prepared for it and if not well managed could lead to undesirable outcomes.
If the killer is a 30- or 40-something normal adult, I’d say this person is fully accountable for the act. I’d say that this adult has failed to be an adult.
I believe in the philosophy promoted in the book, Living, Loving, and Learning by Leo Buscaglia (which I’ve thoroughly and repeatedly read in my youth though I must say I had to struggle against myself in order to practice it). I believe that one major reason why young people and even adults crave for physical and emotional love from their peers (even if these border on the dysfunctional and abusive) is that their mothers and fathers and families – our first and lasting loves – were unable to show or impart to them the desired and enough stock of love. Delegating love and parenting to Prozac starts off the children with the wrong set of tools in finding and shaping their own lives.
Parents shouldn’t be afraid to show physical acts of love to their kids, young and old(er). But this ability only comes after parents have had worked out their own personal and relationship issues. A parent with unresolved personal issues cannot be fully present to the child. Neither could couples with unresolved relationship issues.
What happened to both the teenaged girl and to her young victim presents a grave lesson for parents, caregivers, and families everywhere.