why do some children kill their parents (parricide explained)

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do people kill others?

Every sane human feels horrible when he hears about a story where a child killed his parent. It just doesn't sound logical because after all the parent is the one who should be providing the child with the most help in his life.

In order to understand why a child might kill his parent you first need to understand why people kill each other. Each person tries to solve the life problems he comes across by assessing the different options available to him.

These options are usually constrained by the person's ethics and beliefs. For example if a child gets severely bullied by a friend everyday then he will consider all the options available to him that are aligned with his beliefs.

If stabbing the bully was OK for the child then he would have thought about it as one of the possible solutions for that problem.

In other words, when we examine killing from a psychological point of view we only look at it as a way of solving a problem that is really troubling the person.

Why do some children kill their parents

It would be wrong to say that every kid that kills his parent do it as a result of the abuse he gets subjected to but we can confidently say that some children kill their parents because they found no other way to solve an extremely important problem that they were facing.

Child Abuse, neglection, wanting to feel Superior to the parent and believing that the parent is a source of pain are all problems that might lead to the killing option.

Now the important question is, why don't every abused child think about killing his parent?

Its because of the way the child was brought up to think of killing. If violence was always a preferred option in the environment where the child was raised then killing the parent might be on the top of the list of possible solutions. (see also How behaviour is learned)

If the child was brought up to believe that killing is a really bad thing, as a result of being in a more religious environment for example, then this option might get removed from the list of possible solutions.

What to do as a parent to raise healthy children

First of all you need to make sure you perfectly understand the child. What kind of problems is the child facing? Is he suffering from any psychological disorder?

Is there some kind of a problem that is troubling him the most? How about the solutions the child is working on? Does he feel stuck? Or is he feeling in control?

of course you wont be able to understand the child before you get to understand humans in general. By increasing your people understanding skills you wont just be helping your children grow in a healthier environment but you will also be helping yourself.

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