the attachment parenting murderess

I just finished reading this book. True crime is my guilty pleasure and Ann Rule is the master. This was a fascinating read about a woman with what appears to be Borderline Personality Disorder and how she manipulated people around her into believing she was being abused by her husband so she could kill him "in self defense."

Unfortunately for her, her plan didn't pan out. She's in prison.

This was also an interesting read for me because the protagonist was someone I certainly would have liked had she lived in my community. She was a La Leche League member and she breastfed her older son til he was five and her younger until she killed his father when the little boy was a toddler and thus, was separated from him by jail. She was a Waldorf homeschooling, earthy crunchy mama, a writer, and by all accounts, a charming and fun person. Unfortunately, she is also a murderer.

Anyway, this is my favorite of Ann Rule's books so far.


Anonymous said...

yes I read that book too. I saw her parenting practices as just more of her sickness. it only confirmed for me that to go to those extremes of parenting was pretty pathological.
its a shame if you judge peoples parenting by these practices. because honestly, while maybe there are a few sane people doing this stuff...a lot of them the need to take things to such an extreme and isolate from what everyone else is doing is yet another facet of their psychopathology. when I read that book MY response was "and that is an extreme case of why I think attachment parenting is a philosophy concocted by not terribly healthy minds" I dont know anyone really emotionally healthy who has gotten conned into the whole lock stock and barrel. maybe a few people here or there who co sleep so they can get more rest and are ignorant of the dangers. or a few people who "wear" (god I hate that term, children are not clothing articles!!! soooo hokey) their babies because they take long walks in areas not conducive to pushing a stroller. but the people who buy into the whole package and fear they are "damaging' junior if they fail to do so...sick sick sick.

billie said...

Sounds like an intriguing book but she doesn't sound in the least like a borderline personality disorder - more sociopathic.

WRT parents wearing babies "because they take long walks in areas not conducive to pushing a stroller" - that just made me laugh out loud! Most of the best walks I know are not conducive to stroller pushing...

Vive la difference...


Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine why breastfeeding a child until five would be good for said child in any way.

Children start developing a concept of boundaries at around age 2.

Part of individualization is splitting from mother, and mother should help the child become independent, not keep the child dependent upon her.

Paula said...

I'm surprised at how threatening breastfeeding an older child appears to be. We humans are the least developed of all the mammals at birth, and so we are by definition dependant. Without an adult we perish. So different from say,calves, who can walk shortly after birth.

My breastfed and carried children are some of the most independant people I know, and I credit their getting their needs met early with that sense of security. (Along with luck of course.)

But I have noticed that all of us tend to defend the choices we made as parents.

We are an unusual culture in comparison to the world as far as baby stuff is concerned. Why should babies need less support during the night that during the day, for example. And baby buckets, or car seats are great for the car, but why are so many babies in them for so many hours. We think bottles and pacifiers are normal, even in a four year old, so why not the breast?

I certainly survived my upbringing of caro syrup and whole milk in a bottle and no attention at night after a certain age. My mom was doing her best.

I just couldn't resist my sweet babies. I didn't think that crying was normal, and I still don't. Not when you can do something about it by just being there with them.

The world is a rough place, but my home isn't.

I'll have to read the book!

katie allison granju said...

I breastfed my daughter until right before she turned five and my son until he was three.

They are now 11 and 8 years old and are healthy, happy, athletic, well adjusted kids.

I plan to nurse our new baby until he/she self-weans, whenever that may be.

KLC said...

There is so much great evidence which supports parenting practices such as attachment parenting (to include: feeding on demand; picking up a child and holding the baby when it actually cries; keeping the child close to your body more so then leaving the baby to "gel" in a pumpkin car seat; limited use - if any use at all - of pacifiers; co-sleeping/family bed, and so on and so forth). This type of parenting seems to result in calmer babies b/c they begin to trust that their caregiver is responding precisely to their needs. I haven't read this book - I plan to - but irrespective of the fictional nature of the storyline, the basic tenets of attachment parenting are hardly examples of sociopathic or psychopathic behavior. I presume this woman's issues and "mental health problems" reflect little about what positive influences result from "child centered" parenting. Perhaps the books message is that with the exception of the individual who overtly demonstrates some highly eccentric traits, there are multiple people in this world who harbor and practice quite normal philosophies about life, love, parenting, etc., and yet can also secret some deeply disturbing thoughts that are otherwise suppressed by such a well preserved exterior of "normalcy". Maybe? :>)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the boundaries issue. this blog is a very good case in point: re the personal details of her kids lives that Katie shares: she doesnt respect their boundaries!!!!
the "independent" children sounds exactly like mine. who were sleep trained, not carted around like fashion accessories, one of whom was bottlefed and both of whom slept in their cribs. to be honest I think the "independent' thing is probably part personality and part just how individuated and developed the parents are. clingy clutchy parents tend to produce clingy clutchy kids, probably in part genetics, probably in part modeled behavior.
I just plain dont think its healthy AND I think that people making more of the 'need" to nurse indefinately etc etc has been a needless source of marital strife that doesnt have to be there.
as far as Lysa King (the woman in the book) obviously everyone who takes their parenting to such an extreme isnt this sick BUT her seeking out such weird parenting and being so obsessed with it "for the good of her child" while at the same time being oblivious to everyone else is very very telling. normal people are not into these extremes. as far as what people do in third world countries. WHO CARES! I am so sick of the idealization of other cultures. people always are very very selective about what they admire about these other cultures. most of these cultures who engage in these "idyllic" parenting practices also have some extremely barbaric ones but I dont see anyone wanting to emulate those. you just cannot compare. a lot of these people are doing what they do out of neccessity. if you breastfeed for six years becasue there is no food and at least this way your kid will survive another year you cannot then apply this to even the most poor in america who have access to food stamps, food banks, etc etc.
we are obviously searching for something in this country. a lot of people falsely think they can get it by mimicking what they see as kinder gentler cultures or kinder gentler times.

billie said...

Just want to be clear that I wasn't in any way suggesting the parenting practices themselves were sociopathic - the manipulation and murder are what I was referring to, and this is assuming there was no domestic abuse going on.

The reason I say she doesn't sound like a borderline personality disorder is primarily *because* she sounds like she was able to parent her children well - most borderlines do not have the ego structure to do that.


Elizabeth said...

These anonymous opinions are exactly what I was afraid of people thinking after reading this book, or at least from what I read of your description. People don't need much to blame lots of evil on what they see as aberrant behavior. Like when homeschooling families turn out to be abusive. Everyone wants to blame it on homeschooling. It becomes a platform for dealing harshly with homeschooling, wanting more regulations on homeschooling, when it was a problem with the individual, not the concept of homeschooling.

Anonymous said...

well a lot of homeschooling families ARE weird and dysfunctional and the homeschooling is part of it, its not an irrelevent factor like oh, say, that they like spinach... I know a lot of people who homeschool for very good reason (kid has different learning style, very gifted kid, learning disabled kid and they are tired of the public school runaround and cant afford/find a suitable private school) BUT there are also a lot of reasons that people homeschool that are part of their pathology. think Andrea Yates. a lot of people homeschool because of some superiority attitude they have or a fear their kids will get "contaminated" by getting out in the world and learning some critical thinking. now I am very very lucky and have the most awesome reasonably priced private school I could ever hope to send my kids to a mile from my house. maybe if I didnt I would be rethinking homeschooling. but I am sure so glad I dont have to. I personally am glad my kids have other adults to look up to besides moi. I am glad they have other input from people I trust so if I ever screw up and they are pissed at me they have other adults to input into their lives. plus I am an awful teacher. and I just dont buy the "anyone can do it" mindset. I have heard some appalling stories from teachers about homeschool kids who were woefully behind when they finally got sent to school. I do know a couple of former teachers who homeschool and seem to do a good job. but yes, homeschooling can be and is part of the problem with some people, its not just an irrelevent factoid.

Anonymous said...

Don't know who you are anonymous, but I find your comments both highly offensive and exceedingly rude. Perhaps if you had spent more time attached to your mother as a child she could have taught you better manners.

Anonymous said...

so uh, is anyone who is outraged by stupidity "rude". I guess we are all supposed to say that something is BS when it is BS in a much more polite way. oops I did it again.....

carolyn said...

God bless you Katie, and all your breastfed, well-worn babies. May they fill the world with the peace and joy that comes from having strong, centered people like you in their lives.

Anonymous said...

strong and centered eh? this is one of the most navel gazing self absorbed people i have ever seen in my life.

Anonymous said...


Maybe it would have been better had you been homeschooled and maybe it is better your children aren't, if this is a sample of your ability to compose and argue.

Your venom, poor logic, and inability to punctuate do nothing for your cause.

I've both worked with hundreds of homeschoolers and taught thousands of out-schoolers, and there are extreme cases everywhere. In fact, your rhetoric reminds me of the anti-school rants that some of the most extreme homeschoolers engage it. Extremity by any name is wrong.