Why kids kill parents: child abuse and adolescent homicide

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Ohio State University Press, Mar 1, 1992 - Family & Relationships - 197 pages
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Kathleen Heide's sensitive and important account of family life gone wrong examines the shocking phenomenon of adolescents who kill their parents. Using harrowing case studies and a careful analysis of FBI data, Heide examines the motivations and backgrounds of these troubled adolescents, and what emerges is a tragic portrait--the adolescent murderer is almost always a terrified victim of severe child abuse, neglect, and dysfunctional parenting who kills out of desperation. Drawing upon her skill and experience as a scholar, clinician, and expert witness, Heide claims that a combination of five interconnected social problems creates the conditions for parricide: the youth is raised in a chemically dependent or otherwise dysfunctional family; the child is severely abused sexually, physically, and/or verbally; violence in the child's family escalates; the youth becomes increasingly vulnerable to stressors in the home environment; and the child has ready access to a firearm. Two of the five factors are crucial and require detailed discussion: the chemically dependent or otherwise dysfunctional family and the availability of a firearm. Why Kids Kill Parents concludes with an examination of types of intervention that are effective in treating both severely abused children and abused youth who kill their parents. According to Heide, most adolescent parricide offenders can be reintegrated into society through treatment, not imprisonment. Heide also proposes ways in which the media and the educational system can prevent child abuse and parricide by fostering functional families and mitigating the effects of dysfunctional ones. Why Kids Kill Parents is essential reading for all those who careabout the nurturing of children and families in today's society, as well as for professionals in juvenile justice, criminology, law, mental health, education, and youth advocacy.

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The Phenomenon of Parricide
Child Maltreatment and Parricide
Which Youths Kill

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About the author (1992)

Dr. Heide is a Full Professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of South Florida, Tampa and is an internationally recognized consultant on adolescent homicide and family violence. She is a licensed mental health counselor in the State of Florida and has been court-appointed as an expert in Florida Circuit Courts in homicide, sexual battery, juvenile, and family matters. Dr. Heide's publication record includes more than 100 publications and presentations in the areas of adolescent homicide, family violence, personality assessment, and juvenile justice, along with two books - Why Kids Kill Parents (1992) and Young Killers (1999). She received her B.A. from Vassar College in Psychology and her M.A. and Ph.D in Criminal Justice from the State University of New York at Albany.