16 year old Illinois girl is dead stop me if you have heard this before
From the Associated Press comes a news story that hits very close to home but sounds so familiar as to make many think that this is the very same story that they have heard before. The situation may sound the same but it totally about a different child and a different set of parents who must now bury that child all because they thought that their child would never do something that would cause her death in such a grotesque manner as this.
The title is “McHenry County girl dies in Arizona after being shot” and it reports; “Police say a teenage girl reported missing in Illinois has died in Arizona after being shot. Phoenix police say 16-year-old Faith Kies of McHenry County, Illinois, died at a hospital Saturday after being shot Friday night. Police found her wounded inside a home where a man described by police as her boyfriend was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was identified by police as 24-year-old Alexander O'Neill. The shootings occurred at his parent's home in Phoenix.”
So here we are, young girl meets handsome guy on the internet, keeps his existence secret from parents and family and is convinced by this 24 year old to run away with him. He promises so many things, possibly things this 16 year old has only dreamed about and what they call love is nothing but lust that has gone awry. She figures out a way to escape with him by telling the parents something and instead of the parents checking and verifying the story, they wish to remain this child’s best friend and trust her at her word. It doesn’t matter that this same child lied to them before or may even have a history of embellishing the truth a little. What matters is to pretend that your child knows about the dangers of this world not because you have taught them but because she watches television or listens to the news.
Now she’s with her long lost love and far enough away so that he does not have to worry about her leaving him and going back home. What begins to happen is that she becomes home-sick because even though she pretended to be so grown, she really haven’t been away from home this long or this far. What adds to his dismay is possible someone educating him that since she is 16 there may be a chance of him going to jail for statutory rape. Now he may truly be willing to risk going to jail because she is worth it and the first girl who has ever really showed any ounce of caring about him but the pressure becomes too much as she begins to push more and more about missing her parents, family, home and friends. Well we all know how this story ends and many knows how their story begins but what seems to confuse so many of us is what happens in the middle.
Parents, teach your children what they may need to know to deal with this world. Give them options for every possible scenario that you can think of and never shut the door on them because they will make mistakes or miscalculations as we all do. Hold them accountable when they make miscalculations but don’t hold that over their heads for the rest of their lives. Know that once you have covered a situation, your child will retain that knowledge and will use it if and when the time comes. Then and only then can you release and untie the apron strings to allow your beautiful butterfly to soar, only then can you be much more than your child closest friend, you can actually be their parent.