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          Risk Factors for Children Who Kill Their Parents

          December 15, 2008

          An 8-year-old boy in St. John, Arizona was recently arrested for the shooting death of his father and another man. Although the boy’s story changed a few times, he allegedly confessed the crime in the interrogation. Dr. Phil and his guests, Nancy Grace of CNN’s Headline News, children’s rights attorney Paul Mones and criminologist Dr. Denise Boots discuss the common characteristics and risk factors of children who commit parricide.

          “When we look at young offenders that commit parricide, typically risk factors that emerge are things like the availability of guns in the house, very frequently we see severe abuse going on in the family, a child who has tried to get help but has failed to receive help from others, or they have entertained thoughts of suicide, or they have other types of mental health problems or depression,” says Dr. Denise Boots.

          Risk factors may include:

          • Abuse
          • Abandonment issues
          • Isolated/neglected
          • Anxiety/depression or other mental health problems
          • Availability of guns
          • Failed to receive help
          • Academic performance issues
          • Suicidal
          • Parents are substance abusers

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