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Why are kids murdering their parents in Thailand?

Two incidents of kids murdering their parents in Thailand in the last few weeks has sparked concern about what is going wrong with the institution of the family in Thailand.

On March 8th a couple in Pathum Thani and their son were shot dead in their own home, shockingly by their eldest son aged only 19. The police say that the child admitted murdering his parents and younger brother in a fit of rage brought on after being continually ridiculed by his mother. The man said that his mother promised to buy him a car but failed to keep to her word. On the night of the murders she refused to let him use the family car to pick up his girlfriend because he had been drinking.

man murders his parents ThailandIn a second case on April 3rd in Bangkok a husband and wife and their eldest son were killed in their home by two gunmen who the police say he had been hired by the couples youngest son. According to investigating officers the son, who had left home and was living with close family, felt slighted and angry with his parents for frequently comparing him with his brother who has a success career as a police officer. His parents owned land worth over 100 million baht and had more than ten million baht in the bank, this fuelled suspicions that the crime was financially motivated.

The possible motives of these crimes have been heavily discussed on social media and many questions as to what is going wrong in a country normally known for its close family ties and respect for elders. Many of those discussing the matter on social media networks have expressed their disgust, horror and disbelief and have asked who in their right mind would kill their parents. Many are calling for the death sentence for the perpetrators of the two crimes, that they believe is unforgiveable.

Psychiatrists and experts on adolescent behaviour have attempted to shed light on the factors that lead young people to kill. Dr Panpimon Vipulakorn of the Mental Health Department has said the way some children are raised can drive them to use violence to try and solve problems. She said domineering parents who encourage competition among their children might cause rivalry that spills over into violence.

man murders his parents thailand 2Anchulee Thirawongpaisan of the Police Hospital said too much parental pressure and high expectations can spark aggression in their kids. Educator Sompong Jitradab of Chulalongkorn University pinpointed increasing materialism as a potential source of adolescent crime.

Ticha Na Nakorn of the Kanchanaphisek Remand Home in Nakhon Pathom said lack of self-awareness and self-control were key factors behind murders committed by youngsters.

American criminologist Kathleen Heide, who has studied patricide and matricide, believes most perpetrators had been abused or neglected and lacked any emotional attachment to their parents.

Others, she says, were overindulged and had never established personal boundaries or respect for others. Either way, they had not learned ways to cope with anger and emotional distress and had resorted to murderous violence.

Cases in which people kill their parents form part of the larger problem of domestic violence, which includes the murder of a spouse or partner, a sibling and even a child. Shocking though they are, such cases provide lessons we can use to lower the incidence of violence within the home.

Parents should guide their children in how to deal with conflict in constructive rather than violent ways. Kids also need to be guarded from the toxic mental side effects of a diet of parental pressure and materialistic desires.

The consequences of violence within the home are terrible for all involved. We can help reduce the frequency of such tragedies by becoming more aware of the deeper causes and tackling them before they explode into life-ending violence.

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