Last week Cindy Anthony testified in Casey’s trial. As she she left the stand, the cameras caught her silently mouthing “I love you” in Casey’s direction. The Anthony’s have supported their daughter in spite of the overwhelming evidence that she murdered their granddaughter.
I find that a bit bizarre. I love my children and certainly try to help them in any way possible. But, there are limits to behavior that I could accept. Certainly murdering my grandchild or anyone else is too much. Rape, pedophilia, or any violent crime I just couldn’t accept or condone. My relationship with that child or other relative would be permanently severed. There would be no jail visits, care packages or anything else. In my mind, my child wouldn’t exist anymore. If necessary, I’d leave the state to permanently remove any chance of contact with that relative.
Other crimes, drug dealing, robbery, white collar theft etc. I’d be a bit more flexible. I’m not welcoming a drug dealer into my home. But, if they turned their life around and changed then there would be an opportunity for reconciliation. It’s something that would require a case by case evaluation.
How do you feel? Are there crimes that you’d feel required severing contact with a child or other relative? Would you visit a rapist or murderer in prison? Accept phone calls or letters? Pay for lawyers to represent them? What moral obligations does a parent have if a child or other relative commits a serious, violent crime?
I really can’t predict that. I think this is one of those things that I’d have to experience - such a huge, painful, devastating thing - it’s impossible to know what I’d do in the face of that.
One one hand, it seems like I’d love my child no matter what, even if I had to cut him/her out of my life. I have been in a situation where one of them apparently commited a crime. In a case like that, I think “if you do the crime, you must do the time”. That doesn’t preclude me having a loving heart.
On the other hand, I have been extremely hurt by different people in the past, so that I know it’s possible to go from love to hate in the blink of an eye.
I agree the love for a child can never be totally extinguished. I always think back to when my kids were 4 or 5 years old. The good times we shared.
Thankfully my kids never got into much trouble. One got caught drinking beer with friends when he was 15. Cops brought him home about 11pm. Considering what he could have done, my wife & I got off pretty lucky.
Disowning a troubled adult child wouldn’t be easy. No one can just turn off the love a parent feels. However, having a child commit a serious crime like murder or rape has to be a parents worst nightmare.
I really don’t know either. It depends upon many differing factors.
A drunk driving crash that killed someone would be completely devastating, but I could probably find a way to forgive and still love. I guess the same would hold true for second degree murder that wasn’t planned but somehow came about due to circumstances.
First degree murder would be quite hard to forgive. I’m not sure what I would do, especially if there was an Anthonyesque pile of blatant lies.
A mistake can be made. A whole ongoing series of mistakes, and lies, would hurt immensely. It would be really difficult to look at pictures of happier times and not feel love.
I sincerely hope I never have to find out the answer to this first-hand.
I don’t think I could ever disown my child. Disinherit based on actions/crimes committed, yes. But to totally disown my child, to deny he was mine and cut off all communication, no, I don’t think I could do that.
However, if either of my parents, or my sister, committed a crime that was serious enough, without mitigating circumstances, I’m pretty sure I would cut that person out of my life.
The thing about the Anthony case is that it seems likely that the child died from criminal carelessness followed by a clumsy cover-up, rather than from premeditation. I think that might make a difference to my feelings, if I were the grandparent in that case.
I’m not going to argue the merits of this statement with you, I’m just singling it out because I completely disagree with it.
I’m my children’s parent for now. I’m their parent for as long as they want or need me to be. But if my offspring grows up and consciously discards the values I tried to give them, then they’re really their own person and I can’t imagine feeling any connection to them. But I must say I would always entertain the idea of forgiveness and acceptance with evidence of reform.
In her book Motherhood: The World’s Second Oldest Professoin" Erma Bombeck reprints a letter she received from a woman whose son is a criminal on the run from the police. She says that while she doesn’t condone her son, she still loves him, and she hurts with a helplessness she can’t begin to describe. She describes parents of criminals as those who love the children socierty hates.
There’s probably a lot, including rape, pedophilia and murder - as mentioned in the OP - that I’d stand behind my child on, as it relates to a defense … depending on the circumstances. If I thought he had some sort of mental problems that caused him to go over the edge, or if there were some sort of exigent circumstances … idunno … crime of passion or what have you … I’d support that end of the defense.
If on the other hand he was led into court for torturing, murdering and dismembering 20 prostitutes and his statement to the court was, “I’m just sorry I couldn’t make it 21 because I just loves killin’ me some ho’s,” then yeah … he’s on his own.
My mother’s main failure as a parent was protecting and shielding my brother from the consequences of his actions. Seeing how he turned out, and how she wrecked her life and my childhood to do it, I don’t think I could do the same.
The lengths some families will go to for their ne’er-do-well offspring is just shocking. My friend S, he cut off ties with a family he’d been friends with for years after their son was accused of rape – twice. Both times there was strong evidence he’d done the deed. But the family was wealthy, and the rape victims weren’t, and they hired scary lawyers and pulled strings and kept their Pwecious Ittlekins from doing jailtime. S was so disgusted he couldn’t stand to have anything to do with them.
I just couldn’t imagine doing that, even if I had the means. I think I’d have to be like, “Sorry son, but you’re just gonna have to go to prison!”
BTW, S recently heard from a friend-of-a-friend that the rapist guy has cancer – testicular cancer. He said “it’s almost enough to make you believe in a loving God.”
I don’t think I could ever completely cut them out of my life, but I’ve read the stories of junkies who come in and out of their parent’s lives, full of lies and accusations.
I would be sorely tempted to stop answering the phone after the fifth or tenth or twentieth time they’ve promised to clean up and relapsed. But, I don’t know if I could live with myself if they went out and died on the streets.
Life is full of shitty choices that you hope you never have to make.
For me (and I’m not a parent) it would depend on the crime. Murder in the heat of passion (that is to say, something that’s not likely to be repeated, like killing a cheating lover), I could probably live with. Not be happy with, and the relationship would probably never be the same, but yeah.
Something like rape or child molestation, though–nope. I don’t love anybody unconditionally, and I’m sure that would be true of a hypothetical child. Don’t get me wrong–it would take a lot to get me to sever ties with someone I loved. But it could be done. Serious animal cruelty would probably be another one that I would have a hard time forgiving.
I think enabling and loving are different. You can still love someone without agreeing with or being an accomplice to their mistakes.
I find it hard to believe that people like Casey Anthony are mentally well, and the thought of not loving my own child when they are that sick and probably more in need of support than many people will ever be is incomprehensible to me.
I don’t have kids, so my opinion may not mean much to the discussion.
But I don’t really believe in unconditional love. I think you can love someone so much that you’re willing to take absolute hell from them, but I think even then, your love can reach a limit. And I also don’t think having such blinding love makes you a saint. Sometimes it can make you a fool or worse, an enabler.
That said, it would depend on the circumstances whether I disowned a kid or not. If I knew my child was troubled and I suspected their crime was due to some psychiatric instability, that would make me feel more compassionate for them than if they did something intentionally and maliciously. I guess in the case, where my child was later deemed to be psychopathic (to my absolute surprise), he or she would be a stranger to me. So did I really love them or just an idea of who I thought they were? I might disown them more out of fear than out of hate, but I might continue to feel love for them anyway. It depends on the nature of their crime and how foregone they seem.
If I knew my child was troubled and I was caught in the throes of their constant and fruitless struggle to be “right” and they ended up doing the most horrible thing ever, I think I would still love them. Would I love them as much as my other, more angelic children? I don’t think so. But I don’t think I would disown them UNLESS they had inflicted willful harm on the family, ruining the lives of my other children and just making the whole family dynamic a travesty. I think that would be my limit. But even then, I might still have loving feelings for them just the same. You can’t help feeling love for someone, but you can help who you keep in your life and support.
It’s easy to say what I would or would not do when I’m not in the dilemma.
If my child made a very bad mistake, but was remorseful, I can’t imagine disowning him/her. But the kind of person who is capable of feeling remorse will only do certain kinds of bad things. They’re not going to sadistically murder people, for example. They might murder someone in the course of a robbery or something though, which is obviously still horrible, but doesn’t necessarily make them a purely evil person. I don’t think I could ever disown my child unless I thought they were purely evil.
Casey Anthony seems like a sociopath, so I don’t know what could be gained by a relationship with someone like that. But I can’t really say what I’d do in that situation, because I might be in serious denial.