How Dads and Moms Can Prevent More Killings and Suicides


In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to share how moms and dads can help prevent more killings and suicides, and reveal the findings of a 50-year study that rejection by dad can be even more devastating than by mom.
How dads and moms can prevent more killings and suicides

First a quick update:

“Lessons from “It’s a Wonderful Life
It’s a Christmas classic; the movie with the message that no matter how bad things might be for us financially, as long as we have friends and people that love us and if we can recognize that we each make a contribution and difference to someone’s life and the world around us, then we can be grateful and recognize that yes, it’s a wonderful life. However, few of us experience that. Why? Find out here.

“The Top 10 Celebrity Meltdowns of 2012”
Loneliness, bad parenting and toxic friends are the new themes of the bizarre behavior by celebrities in my 6th annual list of The Top 10 Celebrity Meltdowns. Read the article here.

Now, let’s talk about how moms and dads can help prevent more killings and suicides, and reveal the findings of a 50-year study that rejection by dad can be even more devastating than by mom.

For people outside the US, the second deadliest school shooting and massacre in US history occurred on Friday December 14, 2012, when a lone gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children (all under age 7) and six adults in a Connecticut elementary school, a mass shooting that sent shock waves across the country.

As people, groups and organizations struggle to find an answer and explanation to the motive of the killings and a way to prevent future killings, the US President, Barrack Obama, has indicated that any effort to prevent a repeat should include new restrictions on guns, improved access to mental health services and better management of violence in popular culture.

Here is a brief list of a recent spate of murder-suicides:

  • December 1, 2012: Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend (mother of his baby) and then took his own life
  • December 13, 2012: Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, killed two strangers in an Oregon mall before taking his own life.
  • December 14, 2012: A man shot and fatally wounded his girlfriend, then killed himself at the Excalibur hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip
  • December 18, 2012: A man killed at least one other person and then himself, part of an apparent murder-suicide that left four people dead in Colorado

Chronic Stress

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When referring to mental health problems, most people quickly assume that someone has been diagnosed or labeled with a mental disorder. However, mental health refers simply to the health of your thoughts and emotions. An imbalance can easily occur based on the stress caused by circumstances and events in one’s life. A constant battering from stressful events actually shrinks the prefrontal cortex region of the brain and can lead to addiction, depression, loss of impulse control and diabetes. Click here to read more.

In studying the various characteristics, motives and profiles of mass killers, it’s been identified that hopelessness & despair are common characteristics. Listen to my radio interview “Common characteristics and motives of mass killers” with Russ Morley show news/talk 850 WFTL

Footballer, Jovan Belcher, who murdered his girlfriend & mother of his baby, had texted another woman to say that “his child’s mother threatened to take all his money and his child if they split up.” And after killing his girlfriend, he then drove to team headquarters, where he killed himself in front of his coach and general manager after telling them he “wasn’t able to get enough help.”

Also to listen to my interview with Dr. Peter Breggin visit here.

Parental Rejection
It may sound trite and oversimplified to state that the love, acceptance and approval of parents play a tremendous role in the development of personality and adjustment to society. However, a new study conducted over 50 years reveals that rejection by father can be even more devastating than by mother, negatively impacting the development of happy, well-adjusted children and into adulthood.

“In our 50 years of research in every continent but Antarctica, we have found that nothing has as strong and consistent an effect on personality development as does being rejected by a parent — especially by a father — in childhood.”
–       Ronald Rohner, director of the Ronald and Nancy Rohner Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut.

The study published in 2012 analyzed 36 studies, from 1975 to 2010, involving 1,400 adults (ages 18 to 89) and 8,600 children (ages 9 to 18)  in 18 countries.

The study looked into seven key personality traits (aggression, independence, positive self-esteem, positive self-adequacy, emotional responsiveness, emotional stability and positive worldview) and the parents’ degree of acceptance or rejection during childhood. The level of acceptance or rejection greatly impacted those seven personality traits, with rejection predicting a specific set of negative outcomes such as hostility, low self-esteem and negativity.

“Unfortunately, humans respond more dramatically to negative things.”
–       Ronald Rohner

The study also revealed that dads have a greater impact on children (boys and girls) than do mothers. This might be explained because dads often display the dominant personality or wield the most power in the relationship/marriage. The conclusion is that dads need to become more involved in the love and care of their children and from an early age.

“We need to start giving greater acclaim to dads, and put them on an equal footing with moms in terms of their impact on children.”
–       Ronald Rohner

But today, more than ever, mothers are raising children on their own.

Men are progressively being viewed as unnecessary as more women opt to raise children without a father. “Women are realizing more and more that you don’t have to settle, they don’t have to fiddle with a man to have that child …They are realizing if it’s that time in their life and they want this part they can do it with or without that.” – Jennifer Aniston. ( Read my article  “Women are taking over” )

Mothers, beware of trying to block out the father of your children for selfish purposes. In some cases, the biological father is truly detrimental for the child and it is truly in the child’s best interests not to spend time with his/her dad. But, unfortunately, many women chose to spite their former husband by cutting him off from the children, removing access to his children. And this only hurts the child. I have three separate teenage clients (2 boys and a girl) who have loving step-dads and yet all three suffer from a sense of rejection by biological dad, and they long for the love, bonding and relationship with their father.

Many mothers make the mistake of thinking that they simply know best what the child needs. This is often false and comes from a place of insecurity, selfishness and arrogance. Look in your heart and consider what your child needs. And if the dad chooses not be in the life of your child, explain to your child that it has nothing to do with them; it is the result of dad’s problems and not a lack of worthiness of love on the part of the child i.e it’s not their fault and there is nothing wrong with them.

“It takes a village to raise a child.”
It’s believed that the institution of marriage is over 4,300 years old. And prior to that, families consisted primarily of loosely organized groups of 30 people, with several male leaders, multiple women shared by them, and children. In other words, the village and community were heavily involved in raising and rearing a child. Based on the current evolution of society, we are seeing more and more single parents, less and less of a “village”, and even less of a community. Meanwhile, it is up to each individual parent to ensure that his/her child receives love, approval, acceptance, recognition, validation, praise, bonding, guidance, discipline, and so forth.

“I’ve taken blame about being a bad father – if being a bad father is working your butt off trying to create a career. I’ve also confessed the fact that I was in rehab 20 years ago…My marriage and my family now come before my career.”
– Actor Michael Douglas in 2010, on the Today TV show speaking about his son Cameron’s drug and legal problems

Read my article  “Dads, hug your sons”.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

Facebook Comments



5 replies
  1. Avatar
    Dave McRedmond says:

    I cannot believe we as a society are in denial about what causes most of the violence we have in our society.
    First: young men are not initiated into manhood. They are not taught how to handle their pain.
    Second: We all see a huge amount of violence on TV, video games and movies before we even turn 14 years of age.
    We have seen things we should never have seen just like a soldier. Are we ALL suffering from PTSD.
    I cannot believe we are so far down the tracks of perversion that we do not call the destruction of the human body for our entertainment perverted.

    I hope someone will start talking about this publicly!
    Thanks for your letters
    Pax vobiscum

  2. Avatar
    Erol Fox says:

    Great insight mate! Where is the father? The boy lost his father to divorce 3 years earlier. At 17, when he’s about to be an adult, where is his male role model?

    How much is the 50% divorce rate, men and women egoistically arguing and never satisfied, ruining children’s lives? People just rush into marriage, with no commitment to grow and resolve their differences, for the sake of the child.

    What’s really puzzling is why a woman would own and assault riffle? Am I being sexist saying that? Especially when it seems she was concerned about her sons mental healthy, why kind of mother owns assault weapons? Was she preparing to defend our country from an invasion?

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