One night not all that long ago, a mother in Newburgh, NY, drove herself and her four children into the Hudson River. Her eldest son escaped and ran to get help, but the woman and her three younger children drowned. The tragedy brings to mind similar cases — Susan Smith in 1994, Andrea Yates in 2001.
What leads a parent to kill their own child? Dr. Phillip Resnick, a leading expert on the subject, says there are several circumstances under which a parent might feel driven to it.
According to Resnick, as reported by Time Magazine:
“The first is ‘altruistic.’ The classic case is the mother who plans to take her own life and believes that the children are better off in heaven with her. Number two is the case in which the parent is acutely psychotic. The third type is fatal battering … The fourth is an unwanted baby, for example an infant born out of wedlock. The final category is spousal revenge, typically after infidelity.”