What would compel a father to take the life of his children? I’ve been asking myself that question lately. A story that recently caught my attention involved a North Dakota man who killed his three daughters because he was angry at their mother. A few days earlier a man murdered his wife and daughter. This action is becoming increasingly common and I worry about the safety of our children when a relationship between the adults who are supposed to protect them falls apart.
“What makes a man kill his child or children when he’s angry at his partner”? What makes the kids so expendable? The answer has many possibilities but I think that this one is highly probable . . . It really has nothing to do with any of the children, but is instead intended to hurt the mother in the worst possible way.
I hear fathers complain about how the mothers of their children often seek revenge because of a failed relationship or for his developing a new relationship. They will usually do things that interfere with the father’s ability to see or have a relationship with his children or try to destroy a new relationship he has with someone else. When a father seeks revenge due to a failed relationship it can come in the form of not communicating with the mother, not providing financial support for his children, and based on recent headlines revenge is now coming in the form of murder.
Some men may have the attitude that if I can’t be with you, I can’t handle you being with some else and the kids only become a reminder. Because he pays support, some fathers are dead set on being in control of their kids, their home and their mother, even when he is living somewhere else with a new relationship. Most of us know that when we can’t control something we either become frustrated or angry. The issue then becomes how to handle that anger?
Before the child came, a relationship developed between two people and although we like to say that the most important relationship is the one between parent and child, it really isn’t. The most important relationship is the one that exist between two parents, whether together or apart, it is the one thing that in some cases will decide the success, happiness, emotional well-being, confidence, or as recent headlines have revealed, the life span of their child. Partners and Ex-Partners will put so much focus on hurt, revenge, and control that they sometimes forget about the negative consequences awaiting the child. A child’s safety should always be an absolute priority. But in reality when we seek to hurt those we are in a relationship or ending a relationship with, the easiest, weakest, most defenseless target is usually the child.
When a mother and father have a healthy relationship their children are more likely to be psychologically and emotionally healthier. The big question is how do we aid parents in dealing with separation and encourage them to take responsibility for their behavior? In today’s social climate hanging on to anger over a failed relationship is an acceptable thing. I once asked a friend why he seemed to hate is ex-wife, the mother of his children, and his reply to me was “That’s the way it’s supposed to be. You should never get along with the ex-wife.” To me this sounds completely irrational and insane, but in some families it’s the prevailing thought. Some of us are quite free with our advice on how to start or be in a relationship yet how many of us talk about how to break up and get past all the hurt, bad feelings, or betrayal we feel, real or imaginary and take full responsibility for our own contributions to the demise of a relationship? If we don’t start including peaceful breakup conversation with all of our marriage and relationship advice, what will become of us and most importantly what will become of our children?