Navigation Links
Don't Blame Parents for Sins of the Child
Date:4/29/2013

By Mary Brophy Marcus
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- When the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were identified as two brothers -- one of them a teenager -- many parents wondered, "Who raised these boys?"

Mental health experts say it's normal to want to blame parents or close relatives of young people whose violent acts lead to unfathomable tragedy, but in most cases, it's just not that simple.

Did something in their family life influence Boston Marathon suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother, Dzhokhar, 19? Could the parents of James Holmes -- the suspect in last summer's Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting -- or the mother of Sandy Hook Elementary School killer Adam Lanza have predicted and stopped such crimes?

The experts don't think so.

"I don't think it's right to point a finger at the parent and say, 'You caused a child to grow up and be a shooter,' " said psychologist Kenneth Dodge, director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University in Durham, N.C. "It's much more complex than that."

You can't predict violence, added Dr. Catherine Mogil, co-director of Child and Family Trauma Service at the Nathanson Family Resilience Center at the UCLA Medical Center, in Los Angeles.

"If we could do that accurately, we'd be able to avoid these incidents," Mogil said. "But we can look at people who have perpetrated violence and see what they have in common. And we can also look at the factors that help people grow up to lead happy, healthy lives."

Factors that parents can't control include genetic conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder, said Dr. Joanne Sotelo, division director of psychiatry at Scott & White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas.

The earlier these issues are identified and treated, the better, Sotelo said.

"Most kids and adults have a normal range of anger and aggression," Sotelo said. "But when you recognize that a kid is repeatedly expressing anger, whether they're 3 or 10 years old, when violence is the main emotion they express -- violence without necessarily being provoked -- then you can't ignore that. If you question if a behavior is normal, then it's probably not."

The family pediatrician is a good initial resource, she added. "He can address it if there is a developmental problem -- symptoms of autism, Asperger's or mental retardation, for example," she said.

Prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol also raises a child's risk for violent behavior, too, Dodge said. High levels of lead in the blood also are linked to aggression and impulsive behavior.

But aggressive behavior doesn't necessarily mean a child is trying to be malicious, Sotelo said. "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the impulsivity that comes with it, as well as mood changes from depression or anxiety, can look like aggression. It doesn't mean a child is mean," she said.

Sotelo suggested that parents connect with their school principal, a school counselor or nurse, or a local community health clinic or child services agency for support if their child shows aggression.

And Dodge said that parents can do a lot to set a positive, supportive environment at home that discourages such behavior.

"There are certain risk factors that have to do with parenting and the home environment," he said. "One real risk factor is children's exposure to violence and abuse. Children who experienced this in a home setting are at a greater risk for later violence."

Dr. Stephen Leff, associate professor of clinical psychology in pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, said violent kids sometimes feel isolated at home and at school.

"Even if their parents are around, they may use punitive forms of discipline -- they may not be strong adult role models," Leff said. "Even one positive role model that they learn to trust and have good communication with when they're frustrated can make a difference. Someone who can help them think through and become a problem-solver as opposed to a reactor."

Having one good friend their age, or even older, also helps prevent aggressive behavior. "That can really buffer a child from a lot of negative repercussions," Leff added.

Parents can think of their goal as building resilience in their children, and it starts as early as infancy, Mogil said.

"One of the things we know even about newborn babies is that when they're picked up and nurtured they cry less in the second six months of life," Mogil said. "They know someone will be there for them."

Mogil said parents can weave resilient-behavior messages into everyday life. If you're cut off in traffic, you might remark that that wasn't smart, she said. But keep your cool. "Use those as teachable moments," she added.

Family communication is key, Mogil said. As a child enters adolescence it is normal for them to separate. But stay available, she said, and be there for a hug or to talk about confusing life issues.

Resilient families usually get their kids involved in extracurricular activities that expose children to a network of other helpful adults -- coaches, teachers and other parents, Mogil said.

Another simple tip: Limit your child's exposure to violent imagery in video games, on television and online, Sotelo said.

"As parents, we might not be able to control everything. We can't control their genetics, the personality traits they're born with," she said. "But early recognition of a problem, early diagnosis and treatment, and a supportive, loving home environment -- that's our biggest role in terms of prevention."

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about positive parenting.

SOURCES: Kenneth Dodge, Ph.D., child clinical psychologist, and director, Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Joanne Sotelo, M.D., division director, psychiatry, Scott & White Healthcare, Round Rock, Texas; Catherine Mogil, Psy.D., assistant clinical professor and co-director of Child and Family Trauma Service, Nathanson Family Resilience Center at UCLA Medical Center; Stephen Leff, Ph.D., associate professor of Clinical Psychology in Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and University of Pennsylvania


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Connecticut Periodontist Dr. Richard Amato is Changing the Way Patients with Gum Disease in Monroe, CT Receive Gum Disease Treatment with Laser Surgery
2. Rockville, MD Periodontist, Dr. Steven N. Rice of The Advanced Laser Gum Surgery Institute of Washington Now Has Laser Surgery for Gum Disease Available to Local Patients
3. Research Shows 10-15% Will Need Periodontal Treatment – Act Now, Warn Eludril and Elgydium
4. Periodontists from Ohio Valley Center for Periodontics & Implants Now Offer Patients with Gum Disease in Milford, OH Laser Gum Surgery for Their Gum Disease Treatment
5. Encinitas, CA Periodontist, Dr. Ann Mineo Kania Now Treats Patients with Periodontal Disease Using the Only FDA-Cleared Laser Gum Surgery for Gum Disease Treatment
6. Gulfside Dental Now offers Arrestin in an Attempt to Treat Periodontal Disease
7. Faces Orthodontics Announces Availability of AcceleDent Technology that Cuts Braces Time in Half
8. Williamsburg, VA Periodontist, Dr. Michael Schroer, is Trained and Now Treating Patients with the Advanced Laser Gum Surgery for Gum Disease Treatment
9. In February 2013 Rochester Orthodontist, Dr.Kaufman Helps More Than 700 Students
10. Wilmington, DE Periodontist, Dr. Leo J. Kituskie, Now Brings The Latest Dental Technology For Periodontal Disease Treatment To His Wilmington, DE Gum Disease Patients
11. San Jose, CA Periodontist, Dr. Joyce M. Litch Now Uses The New, FDA Cleared Laser Gum Surgery For Patients Suffering From Gum Pain In San Jose
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Don't Blame Parents for Sins of the Child
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Textile Exchange is excited to ... public stakeholder review. The stakeholder review is an important opportunity for interested parties to ... delivers value to the wool industry., The RWS is intended to be a global ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Florida Hospital Pepin ... atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) an alternative to long-term warfarin medication with the newly approved ... April of 2015, Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute doctors successfully implanted the Watchman ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Spring Fertility , the only ... with egg freezing, today announced the grand opening of its first location in ... Spring Fertility offers both fertility preservation (egg, sperm, embryo, and testicular and ovarian ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Jose (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... art of self-love. Every day, LELO fans reach out via email, social media and ... question keeps upcoming up: “Is the way I masturbate ‘normal’ or ‘correct’?” , While ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Every year 220 Mississippi ... wishes of these children. The wishes provide hope and motivation through positive ... of Make-A-Wish Mississippi, Brent Wilson said, “In 2016, the organization will grant 50% ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/5/2016)... 2016  Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ... Brian Lortie , President, U.S. Branded Pharmaceuticals, has ... the appointment of a successor. Mr. Lortie joined ... business with responsibility for all strategic, commercial and ... portfolio development, commercial operations, managed markets, manufacturing, supply ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Calif. , May 5, 2016  Diagnostic ... a decade due to concerns that these tests ... the approach to imaging, as well as the ... new era of medical peripherals that help health care providers ...   Ampronix  advanced medical imaging is a renowned authorized ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... , May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the  "Europe ... - 2016"  report to their offering.  ... ) , ,The latest research ... Highlights - 2016, provides comprehensive insights ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: