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Why would a 13-year-old kill a dairy owner?

Why would a 13-year-old kill a dairy owner?

John Cowan from The Parenting Place

It's impossible to comment on this specific case but, generally, the causes of crimes like the one that took place in Henderson usually means you have to look at the cause of ineffectual parenting. An individual crime could have any number of contributing factors but research shows that juvenile crime in general has some recurring features and, as a parenting organisation we have always taken very seriously the research that points to the influence of parents, older siblings and the family in life in general.

M. Hoghughi wrote in the British Medical Journal some years ago that parenting was the single biggest factor in youth crime. Violent parents, parents with mental health problems or drug and alcohol issues, and parents involved in crime themselves are obvious negative influences on children, but so are less obvious features like a lack of parental engagement and ineffective parenting techniques.

Any changes parents make to enhance home life will increase the odds their child will have a happier, healthier life; anything society does to support parents will return many benefits including reduced crime. No magic wands fix problems like this, but good parenting has got to be part of the solution.

Note: The Parenting Place offers an extensive range of resources and courses for parents and students. Check out

Reference: "Parenting is probably the most important public health issue facing our society. It is the single largest variable implicated in childhood illnesses and accidents; teenage pregnancy and substance misuse; truancy, school disruption, and under achievement; child abuse; unemployability; juvenile crime; and mental illness. These are serious in themselves but are even more important as precursors of problems in adulthood and the next generation." [BMJ Volume 316 23 May 1998].

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