There is not one simple answer to this heartbreaking question. In fact, there are a conglomerate of factors that play into each case. Many things come together and influence a child to murder other children. Typically, the answers and causes don’t happen overnight. There are a series of clues that a child is in trouble and needs help. So why are parents, teacher, communities, and families missing these clues? Are they aware of a problem and just can’t seem to get help? There are many unanswered questions. There are some things in the society of the United States that have changed over the years. There may be some clues in those changes.
~ Decline of the nuclear family
It used to be considered odd and sad if parents decided to divorce. It was not the norm. Many times parents waited to divorce until the children were grown. That may not be the right way to handle things, but today it is hard to find a nuclear family. Blended families are now the new norm.
At a recent school event an older woman, who looked like she could have been someone’s Grandma, approached the teacher in charge. She said that she had be asked to come and chaperone because the parent was not available. The teacher asked her what her relationship was to the family. She thought for a moment and carefully said “Well, I am kind of a step grandmother.”
Any normal teacher probably would have left it alone, but this one persisted. Jared, the child who had asked her to chaperone came up and said, “This is Sue. In our house there is Terri, me, Katlin, and Justin. We all have the same Mom. There are three different Dads. My Mom lives with Cody and he is the father of Katlin and Justin. Cody’s dad married Sue. She just loves all of us the same and doesn’t care where we came from.”
The teacher just stared at the women. Sue finally said, “If you need help I taught school for many years and would be happy to help. If not I will gladly sit in the back and watch my grandson perform. The teacher suggested that she should take a place in the back.
So why is this so important? An older adult was attempting to fill a much needed gap in a family and just blend. The teacher couldn’t let that happen. The format of families have changed and somehow there is a need to catch up.
~ Need for a two income homes
It used to be that one parent could be at home with the children, at least when they were very small. Now most families need to have two incomes just to keep families in the basics. So children are spending more time away from parents for care.
~ Untreated mental illness
Although the medical advances have come a long way the stigma of mental illness is staying strong. Parents don’t want their children to be labeled so they are reluctant to get help, even when they begin to notice problems.
~ More school bullying
School bullying has been stepped up a notch. It used to be when you did something dumb, others may have laughed and pointed at you. Now someone catches it on their smartphone, it is posted to you-tube, others have sent tweets with links and texts are going out to everyone in the phone directory. Your mistake is suddenly viral and there is no going back.
~ Television and video violence
Children are playing games where they score points by killing people. Murders are seen on television every day. Clearly there is something that has desensitized most children to extreme violence. It doesn’t seem real to them.
~ Gun control laws
Americans have a strong affiliation with the right to have guns. The second amendment of the constitution gives them that right. The sad truth is that the gun laws have passed and gotten more strict, but the violence has increased. So gun laws have not accomplished what they were set out to do.
Maybe it is time for parents to take back the home and the children. Maybe there is some truth that talking to your children is not the same as texting them. Maybe if a child needs help parents, grandparents, family members and teachers should insist they get the help they need.
Maybe, because of all the changes some children just don’t have the cognitive and emotional skills to know that shooting someone is wrong. Food for thought is what you have here.