Thursday, March 19, 2009

Common Factor In Women Who Kill Their Children Is Mental Illness

Mothers suffering from profound depression differ from teens who kill their newborns and mothers who neglect or abuse their children. They often provide unheeded warnings and attempt suicide.

According to the American Anthropological Association, more than 200 women kill their children in the United States each year. Three to five children a day are killed by their parents. Homicide is one of the leading causes of death of children under age four, yet we continue to "persist with the unrealistic view that this is rare behavior," says Jill Korbin, expert on child abuse, who has studied mothers who killed their children.

We should detach from the idea of universal motherhood as natural and see it as a social response," Nancy Scheper-Hughes, medical anthropologist says. Women in jail reported that no-one believed them when they said they wanted to kill their children. "There's a collective denial even when mothers come right out and say, "I really shouldn't be trusted with my kids."

Studies show that maternal filicides are often due to depression and psychological reasons. That is contrary to a paternal filicide. The definition of a filicide is murders against children by their parents. Ironically statistics show that women only contribute to 13% of all violent crimes and 50% of those crimes are maternal filicides.

Here is one case :

Today, almost a year after she pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of her 6-year-old son, Garrett, Petrosky will speak about her ordeal on "The Oprah Winfrey Show,"
On Sunday the Web site repeatedly flashed a photo of the former Roanoke resident, an attractive, bespectacled blonde, sitting with her towheaded son, surrounded by Christmas presents. The caption beside the picture read, "Can bipolar disorder cause a mother to kill her child? Hear one suburban mom's story."

Petrosky, 41, wants to get the message out that mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder need to be recognized and treated rather than ignored in hopes the symptoms will go away, said Jay Finch, one of the state capital defenders who worked on her case.

She had a reputation as a "supermom," involved in all her children's school activities, working toward a degree at Radford University while managing the clothing and accessory store Present Thyme.

Then on April 15, 2005, she kept her son home from school. As they watched a cartoon together, she grabbed him by the neck and choked him until he stopped struggling. Then she took him to the bathtub, which she had already filled, and put him under the water.

She called 911 and said over and over, "I've just gone crazy."

"I do not know why I did this," she said in her confession to police, presented in court the day of her plea. "My thoughts are out of control, bad thoughts. I'm just crazy I guess. I should have called someone and asked for help, but I didn't."

The type of bipolar disorder Petrosky was diagnosed with, referred to as bipolar disorder II, is not always apparent to the families and friends of the person who has it, but can be more severe when it reaches psychotic levels, Finch said. Most people with the disease "will never have a breakdown similar to the one Andrea had, but a percentage of them will," about one in 20, Finch said.

Today Police found Emma Leigh Bakers body along a freeway in LA she was only 18 months old. The mother told police she was putting the toddler in her car seat when someone came up and struck her on the head she awoke to find her daughter missing. Do we have another case of a mother whom killed her child police say there are inconsistencies in her story
Take the Andrea Yates case she was hospitalized in 1999 after attempting suicide she was diagnosed as having major depressive disorder and given Hadol. After becoming pregnant again she stopped taking her medication in 2001 she killed her five children. Could she have been stopped ? The problem is a spouse of loved ones never would think that the people they love would harm their own children .
We had a policeman shoot his 2 kids last year and then killed himself but after this tragedy his family and friends all said he loved those kids. The problem is no one really knows what other people are really thinking .

Warning signs:
Depression and related mental illnesses like bipolar disorder are key warning signals for impending
trouble. In Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith to
the “Prom Mom” (2001), Cheryl Meyer and Michelle Oberman state: “In general, depressed mothers have
more thoughts of harming their child than do nondepressed mothers”

Look at the Casey Anthony case her parents are in denial that their daughter would kill her child but she did .Were there warning signs probably .It has to be up to the loved ones to help these women and heed the warning signs.


Ky Long Rider said...

I find it hard to fathom that anyone much less a childs mother would be capable of taking their child or any childs life.

fuzzys dad said...

It is a eye opening story.Thank-You!

Cpdcoppurr said...

bi polar can only be "controlled" if treated. You can't sweep the great big white elephant in your living under the rug. Bi polars will never be cured, but they can get some help and relief for themselves and for those around them that have to deal with them on a day to day basis or being part of ones family.

I am glad you posted this girls. It brings to light something that no one will talk about. I hope this blog doesnt fall on deaf ears. This is a very real and very serious disease.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog, Bitches. I feel weird typing that, and of course mean no disrespect. I found it tonight because I was doing some research on just this situation. I have an exwife who has primary custody of our 5-yr. old daughter, and she's extremely bi-polar (bat-shit-crazy is a more accurate term, actually). It's starting to affect our daughter and I'm not certain if I can do anything about it. I'm thinking in terms of "before it's too late" and that is scaring the hell out of me.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

most mothers hurt their children alienate from their loving fathers as one case in Suffolk County where mentally ill mother who was abused herself by her mother is abusing children fo many years turning them into haters and biggots brainwashing them on daily basis. The Masucio case where the so called law guardian(another court appointed child abuser) failed to save the children as h is doing same in every case he gets appointed to doing only whats best for his wallet$$$ taking pay ofs from these child abusing mothers

After six years of doing all that he could to defend himself, Darryl was granted full custody of his children with reasonable visitation awarded to his ex-wife.
Aftr her jail time

This is the only place for these mothers as one judge found for these chld abusers; 14 years in jail or mental hospital

She isn’t exercising her visitation rights, however, because right now she is serving the first year of a 14-year sentence behind bars for being convicted of filing false reports on her ex-husband.

Anonymous said...

Sadly those mothers have no right to the children more so the ones who file FALSE allegations brainwash children to lie alienate them. There are few cases in Suffolk I witnessed where mothers clear lie to the judges and use children to help in their sick abuse, those worthless mothers should all be sitting in Riverhead or Bedford Prison for woman.

Court Reporter

Anonymous said...

The Proof Is in: Father Absence Harms Child Well-Being;
National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) was founded 20 years ago because some very smart people realized that the most consequential social trend of our time is widespread father absence in the lives of our nation's children. They realized that growing up in a home without a dad increased the risk that a child would experience a host of poor outcomes in their immediate and distant futures. These outcomes include increased risk of living in poverty, performing poorly in school, emotional and behavioral problems, becoming violent, getting pregnant (or getting someone pregnant) as a teen, winding up in prison or jail, and committing suicide.

Despite reams of data that NFI has compiled in six editions of Father Facts (the most comprehensive collection of data available on the consequences of father absence and the benefits of father involvement for children), the recognition among people across the political spectrum of the need to combat father absence, and the commitment of many private and public funders to addressing this problem, there are still some scholars and members of the public who are not convinced that dads are important to children. Many believe that family structure doesn't really matter, as long as children are cared for and loved by someone, anyone. One valid reason for the skepticism among scholars, at least, is the lack of rigorous analytical methods employed in much of the research.

Late last year, researchers Sara McLanahan, Laura Tach, and Daniel Schneider stepped into the fray with their review of nearly 50 studies that employed innovative, rigorous designs to examine the causal effects of father absence. Published in the Annual Review of Sociology, "The Causal Effects of Father Absence" examined studies that focused on the relationship between father absence and four outcomes for children: educational attainment, mental health, relationship formation and stability, and labor force success. Although these studies varied in the use of analytical approaches and found different effect sizes, they prove beyond reproach that father absence causes poor outcomes for children in each of these areas.

This is a critical distinction. The old adage, "correlation does not imply causation," does not apply to the effects of father absence on children. In other words, for many of our most intractable social ills affecting children, father absence is to blame.

Furthermore, as an anthropologist, what impressed me about the review is not only its inclusion of studies that employed a variety of analytical approaches methods; it also included studies from nine countries, mostly developed countries (including the U.S.) but also developing countries. Consequently, this cross-cultural analysis of research lends strength and credibility to the conclusion about the devastating effects of father absence. It also supports other recent research on the importance of family structure to child well being, which I wrote about in a recent post on this blog. Father absence isn't just a U.S. problem -- it's a human problem.

As president of NFI and a father who has dedicated his career to seeing as many children as possible grow up with both of their parents, I find one particular conclusion of these scholars very sobering given that the U.S. has reached an all-time high in the number of children born to single parents: the earlier in their lives that children experience father absence the more pronounced are its effects.

Despite all of this evidence staring Americans in the face, too many of us just don't get it, or worse choose to ignore the evidence. Our primary and recognized ignorance has to change if we are to make a real difference in the quality of life for millions of our nation's children living in father-absent homes, and the millions who will follow if we don't reverse this destructive trend.