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`Lack of Parent-Child Dialogue Drove Boy to Murder Family`

`Lack of Parent-Child Dialogue Drove Boy to Murder Family`

Posted October. 23, 2010 13:30,   


A middle school student angry at his father`s nagging set fire to his house Thursday, killing his entire family.

This incident vividly illustrates the psychology of today`s teenagers and lack of communication between parents and children, according to experts.

The 13-year-old boy is 172 centimeters (5-feet-8) tall and weighs 76 kilograms (168 pounds). His homeroom teacher said he was a good boy with a positive attitude.

"He has a strong sense of responsibility and leadership to an extent that he was elected class president in his first year in middle school. He was a member of a digital camera club and highly interested in dance and fashion, so it never occurred to me that he would commit such a horrible act," the teacher said.

"When I advised him on a career path, he said that though he had no problem with his parents, his father had high expectations for him and that he was afraid when his father got angry."

His neighbors said they often heard his family raise its voice at night.

The discrepancy of expectations between parents and children and failure to properly deal with conflict led to the incident, but this is not an isolated case, experts said.

Behind the problem lies a lack of communication between parents, who unilaterally impose their values and excessive expectations on their children, and little understanding from free-spirited teenagers who rebel against such values and expectations.

With society changing, experts say teenagers believe they are on equal footing in their relationships with their parents like they are with their friends. So they feel unfairly oppressed by their parents or adults and even express their discontent through extreme violence.

Hwang Sang-min, a psychology professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, said, “As people enjoy material prosperity, they increasingly want to satisfy their needs instantly,” adding, “Teenagers are no exception. When their desires are not satisfied, they can easily become aggressive.”

A middle school teacher said, “When students cause trouble, I report them to police,” adding, “In the past, scolding students was considered a virtue, but today, not only teachers but also parents have lost control over children due to reckless policies such as liberalization of the hair code and the ban on corporal punishment in school.”

Experts advise parents to refrain from implanting their values in their children to avoid extreme incidents.

Jeong Seok-hun, a professor of neuropsychiatry at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, said, “The attempt to forcefully impose values of the older generation on children will only cause a backlash,” adding, “Restoration of trust though constant communication is the only solution.”

Another expert said parents must avoid using violence when their children reach puberty.

Ha Ji-hyeon, a professor of neuropsychiatry at Konkuk University Hospital, said, “Parents must on occasion avoid using violence against their children,” adding, “If not, we will see a similar incident.”