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Marie Bohn Photography | Batavia, N.Y. Family Photographer 615.521.6938

Meet Lucas!

You see that cute little face? That’s the face of a fighter, a survivor; a baby! He has overcome so much more than many adults have in their entire lifetime, and he’s ONE!

I met Lucas’s mom in a social media mom’s group. I won’t go too much into the story of how because I don’t want to lose track of the real story here, but needless to say, a couple of other moms were being very rude and selfish. Lucas’s mom in-boxed me to share kind words. This was just before Christmas, and so our family was doing our annual Christmas donation. It was Christmas trees to families in need. She shared with me that her son had, had three, THREE brain surgeries that year and that she was just thankful he was alive! She was appalled to see these woman acting the way they did. I was so touched by her story that I just knew I had to meet her and her little guy. So I sent mom a little surprise in the mail; a gift certificate to have her family photographed.

Here’s Lucas’s story:

“3 days before he was 4 months he was rushed to children’s hospital because he couldn’t eat without choking and wasn’t breathing right. He had lost movement in his arms. After 5 hours of being there he was put in picu on a ventilator to help him breathe. After numerous tests and MRI’s they found chiari malformation and syringomyelia myelia. He had emergency surgery at 4 months old to help treat his symptoms. We was there for 2 weeks in picu. Little did we know our journey had just begun.

A few days before his 8 month Birthday he showed all the symptoms and signs again and was rushed back up to children’s where they found he had hydrochephalus and at 8 months had emergency surgery yet again and had a shunt placement. After this surgery he showed improvement again but was hospitalized twice for a week each for high fevers and had to have his shunt tapped and antibiotics each time. We finally got home and was okay for awhile, but at his 11 month checkup (MRI) they found his csf fluid was blocked and the fluid in his spine had grown and he would require another decompression surgery.

So, at 12 months, he had another brain surgery. He did well the next few months and in November we got great news that his MRI showed fluid was flowing and the fluid in his spine had gone down. He has good days and bad days. When the weather changes it is really rough on him. His shunt was just checked recently and is working great. He will have the shunt for life and it does require revisions as he grows so everything is checked every 6 months. His next MRI is in May and we are hopeful for good news as this is an incurable disease and treatment is the only option.

He continues to grow and is the happiest kid. We got lucky and he has no motor skill delays but does require pt to keep on it as the syringomyelia affected his left leg for a bit. He will continue to have MRIs every 6 months and if I think he’s acting off. It’s been a rough road for our family but looking at him you would never know.

He will need revisions in the future and possible surgeries are unknown as he grows. He also will never be able to play contact sports, no roller coasters and no bounce house or trampolines he’s going to give me hell when other kids can. I feel so bad about it but his life is far more important than any sport.” -Mom

Mom, thank you for sharing Lucas’s story with me, and now the world, but most of all, thank you for sharing your little guy with me. I had a blast! He is definitely a happy, spunky little boy. I can’t stress it enough that just because someone appears to be happy, healthy, or on top of the world, doesn’t mean they actually are. We all lift our heads and put on a happy face when in public, but the real story of each person lies deep inside.

The parents using Facebook groups to reclaim their murdered kids’ legacies

Early on 20 April 2018, Joseph Alexander woke up to a multitude of text messages, missed calls and voicemails. He turned on the local news and saw footage from a crime scene at a convenience store in Richmond, California, and a body lying on the ground covered by a yellow tarp. As he went through his missed calls, he realized that the body under the tarp was that of his 21-year-old son, Joseph “Bunk” Alexander II.

Alexander doesn’t remember much from the days following his son’s killing, he only recalls crying uncontrollably.

“He was my namesake, my first child. We’re almost at day 500 and it feels like it happened yesterday,” he told the Guardian on a recent afternoon.

Alexander’s son was one of four young men shot and killed in Richmond, a city less than 20 miles from San Francisco, that April. And for the father, his world collapsed.

Joseph Alexander keeps an altar for his son, Joseph ‘Bunk’ Alexander II, at his home in Richmond, California. Photograph: Jason Henry/The Guardian

“I was trippin’. I saw my son under a tarp on the news while I’m reading the texts,” Alexander said. “Every time my alarm goes off now, I think about it. The morning time is really rough.”

linker box

Grappling with his loss a few months after his son’s death, Alexander started the “Justice for Bunk” Facebook group. It’s one of hundreds of public Facebook pages created in memory of deceased family members and celebrities.

For some, the pages operate as a place to collectively grieve and share positive memories. For others, including Alexander, they operate as informal tip lines, and spaces where people can express anger, sadness, hope and encouragement.

And they provide an outlet for people to reclaim their loved one’s memory and rebuke the narratives about gang activity and poor parenting that come with the violence that occurs in low-income black and Latino communities.

“I’ve met so many moms and dads who have lost their kids all kinds of ways, and the connection is so strong ’cause we have the same feelings,” Alexander said. “The world thinks life is supposed to go on, they don’t understand it.”

“Justice for Bunk” has 582 members, and is a part of a community of parents and anti-violence activists in California’s Bay Area. There’s Richmond Street Angels, Adamika Village #stopkillingourkidsmovement, and Who Murdered My Child? Each of these hyperlocal pages share breaking news about murders, stories about the victim, pleas for information from family members, and updates on any cases following the murder.

Photos

More than 1,700 people were murdered in California in 2017. Almost 500 (about 30%) of the victims were under the age of 24 when they were killed. Across the United States, homicide was the third leading cause of death in the US for people ages 10-24 in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dinyal New started her Facebook page in November 2014, almost nine months after both of her sons were murdered within 19 days of each other in east Oakland.

Dinyal New started the Facebook group ‘Who Murdered My Child?’ in November 2014 after her two sons were slain in east Oakland, California. Photograph: Jason Henry/The Guardian

On the night of 31 December 2013, New’s youngest son, 13-year-old Lee Weathersby III, was shot over 20 times as he walked home. On 19 January 2014, Lee’s older brother, 19-year-old Lamar Broussard was sitting in his car when he and his friend Derryck Harris were fatally shot.

In the five years since the murders, New’s Who Murdered My Child Facebook page has grown to over 40,000 members and there are now Who Murdered My Child Facebook branches in cities including Chicago, New Orleans and Sacramento.

“I was just a mama who was very young when she lost her kids. Now that they’re not here, I have to channel this energy,” New said.

An altar in Dinyal New’s home is filled with pictures of her slain sons, Lee Weathersby III and Lamar Broussard, killed within 19 days of each other. Photograph: Jason Henry/The Guardian

New said a major motivation to create and maintain the page was to dispel the stereotypes that are attached to black murder victims and their parents.

“Oh, the welfare recipient mom, she kept her kids in the hood,” New says of the stereotypes that were invoked following the news of her son’s killings.

“Since it happened 19 days apart, and it was two brothers, they automatically assumed gang activity,” New continued. “But it’s not always what the news media puts out; that one son got killed because of the actions of the other. You have to dig deeper.”

Camille Hannays-King, a counselor and researcher who specializes in anxiety and depression among black families, said that in reports on young black men being lost to gun violence, the assumption of innocence is often lost.

“The assumption is that they were involved with something illegal and as a result people may withhold support or may be judgmental,” she said.

“Parents who feel stigmatized often times retreat,” Hannays-King added. “But social activism is powerful. It builds communal connections, and it retrieves the child from being just ‘murdered’ to someone the protecting.”

A flyer for an anti-gun violence event hosted by Dinyal New. Photograph: Jason Henry/The Guardian

While these pages exist primarily online, the social support and sense of purpose that these pages offer can help build the type of community that experts like Hannays-King say is a valuable part of bereavement and healing.

“ keeps my mind off of what happened,” Alexander echoes.

“I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. That’s why in the morning and at night it’s so heavy on me because most of the time: I’m fighting for justice making posts.”

Both Alexander and New say that their version of justice includes the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for their sons’ murders. And while neither have experienced this justice, they are active members of a network of parents who, because of their shared trauma, have become community activists.

“I hope may touch the heart of someone who’s about to go pull the trigger,” Alexander said, “and lets them see that they’re gonna hurt someone’s whole family just by pulling the trigger over some bs.”

Mandy Junco, son of Camaguey writer Pedro Junco, murdered by a street gang.

Pedro Junco López* (Café Fuerte)

Pedro Armando “Mandy” Junco Torres

HAVANA TIMES — It is very hard for me to write these lines. I ask all mothers and fathers reading this to step into my shoes for a moment. Just for a minute, imagine it was your son who was stabbed to death on the street by four murderers who didn’t even know him, who didn’t even want to rob him or settle accounts with him.

Imagine their motive was the sheer pleasure of killing. Put yourselves in my position for a moment and then try to process what you feel in your hearts. That is what I’ve been enduring and will endure to the end of my days.

I write to thank the many people who, in Cuba and abroad, have been by my side these days, during the cruelest days I have experienced in the course of my long life. I also write for the sake of the many friends who haven’t yet heard the news.

On Saturday, May 16, between 2:40 and 3 in the morning, my young, beautiful, intelligent and kind-hearted 28-year-old son was ambushed by a gang of sadistic murderers who, with no other aim other than killing, beat and stabbed him to death. Forensic doctors found 46 contusions on the body of my dear son.

Mandy was a jovial rocker who was always smiling. He had no enemies. He was adored by the prettiest girls in town. He was coming home from a rock festival, where he was scheduled to perform, as a guitarist, with his band the following night. Minutes before his murder, he talked with friends about his projects, the success he’d already enjoyed and his hopes of improving his skills more and more every day, as he was already a professional musician.

I want to write what I’m feeling at this moment. As I told a priest yesterday, I am angry at God. I ask: where were you, all-powerful Lord, when you let that terrible injustice take place? Were you sleeping and could not go in my son’s aid? What debt did you wish to settle with me? I believe in you, all-powerful Lord, for I see evidence of you, but I doubt your kindness and your justice.

To those who govern this country and dictate its laws, to the members of the courts that claim to dispense justice, how long will we have to wait until acts of violence such as this one are met with punishments that make examples of the perpetrators? Those responsible for violent crimes spend their time in prison as though in a boarding school. Once inside, they are offered an education, enjoy conjugal visits, are granted regular passes and, halfway through their sentence, are offered “parole” for good behavior, a parole many take advantage of to kill with impunity once again, as the death sentence is no longer applied in Cuba.

The city of Camaguey has been chilled by this incident. My son was the third victim of the gang that carried out yet another crime that early morning. We hear of cases like this almost every day, but the press, tied hand and foot, isn’t authorized to report them – and concealing the truth is the most sordid way of lying.

The distress weighing on me today will not leave me as long as I live. But, from this day on, I will fight with all of my strength to make the streets safe for our young, whose horrified parents today lock them up at home. It was me today, but the next victim could well be one of your kids.

Let us all demand true justice; let us make examples of these criminals.

I have always been an ardent defender of the right to life. But if applying capital punishment helps save innocent people, let it be applied, I say.
—–

Editors Note: The Ministro of Interior informed that five suspects are being held in connection with the murder.

*Camaguey-born writer and blogger. In 1987, his La furia de los vientos (“The Fury of the Winds”) received the Testimony Award at the David literary contest. His testimony attests to the murder of his son, Pedro Armando Junco Torres, guitarist for the band Strike Back, which participated in the Sonidas de la Ciudad (“City Sounds”) Rock Festival held in Camaguey. This post appeared on his blog La furia de los vientos.

Paris Bennett murdered his sister in 2007

This week Piers Morgan will go behind bars to meet a diagnosed psychopath who murdered his four-year-old sister at the age of 13.

Paris Bennett stabbed his younger sibling Ella 17 times, after convincing their babysitter to go home for the evening.

The then-teenager, who is a genius with an IQ of 141, told police that he had done it in revenge for his mother relapsing into drugs.

Charity Lee, 44, had previously been a heroin addict before both Paris and Ella were born.

She relapsed when Paris was 11, taking cocaine for a six-month period and causing him to step in and look after his sister.

He told police that he wanted to get revenge on his mum (Picture: Plum Pictures/ITV)

Paris and sister Ella were close as young children (Picture: Plum Pictures/ITV)

Charity had been at her waitress job in Abilene, Texas, on February 5 2007, when she police arrived to tell her that Ella had been murdered.

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Paris had planned out the killing, attacking his little sister in her bedroom while she slept.

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He then called a friend, before dialling 911 and telling an emergency worker what he had done.

The operator had responded by saying: ‘You think you killed somebody?’, to which Paris then replied, while crying: ‘No I know I did. My sister. I feel so messed up.’

At first he lied that he had suffered a hallucination, but later claimed he was in his right mind, stating it was revenge for his mother’s relapse.

Mum Charity Lee has managed to forgive her son for what he did

She has continued to visit him in jail and has accepted that he is a ‘predator’

Paris convinced the babysitter to leave him alone with Ella

He said: ‘For many years, there was just this hot, flaming ball of wrath in the pit of my stomach and it was directed at my mother.

‘One of the reasons why I chose to kill my sister and not someone else is because I knew that by doing that I could hurt my mother in the worst possible way, because I had always known, as a child, that the most devastating thing to my mother would be the loss of one of her children, and I found a way to take away both her children in one fell swoop.’

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He still maintains that he is not insane and does not suffer from any mental illness.

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Charity said she managed to forgive her son after recognising him as a ‘predator’, likening him to a shark, unable to be anything other than be ‘what they are’.

She wrote in Good Housekeeping she has ‘learned to live with the past’ but will never understand why her Paris ‘did what he did’.

Paris is likely to be in jail until his 40s Charity has since set up the Ella Foundation in memory of her daughter

In a 2017 documentary, she said she would be frightened if he was free – particularly as she now has another son, Phoenix, born in 2013.

Paris has never met him, as he is not allowed to have any contact with children due his conviction.

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Charity said: ‘If Paris wasn’t in prison or was able to meet Phoenix, I would have to do a lot more soul-searching.’

She now runs the Ella Foundation, set up in 2007 to aid those affected by ‘violence, mental illness, and the criminal justice system’, and does public speaking across the US.

Good Morning Britain host Piers described Paris as ‘more intelligent, more cunning and more manipulative’ than any of the killers he has met before.

Psychopath with Piers Morgan airs on Thursday at 9pm on ITV.

Got a story for Metro.co.uk?

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] For more stories like this, check our news page.

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Piers Morgan will be seen coming face to face with diagnosed psychopath Paris Bennett for a new ITV documentary, titled Psychopath with Piers Morgan.

Following a week after Susanna Reid’s documentary about Death Row prisoners, the hour long programme will show Morgan heading to the American jail where Bennett is being held in order to find out what drove him to murder his own sister.

The documentary will feature Bennett talking about the day it happened while making the cold admission that he “struggled to stop” stabbing his sister.

Here’s all you need to know about Paris Bennett.

At the age of 13, Bennett killed his four year old sister in an act of revenge against his mum

Who is Paris Bennett?

Paris Bennett is a 25 year old man who is currently serving time in the Ferguson Unit Texas State Prison for murder.

With a reported IQ of 141, Bennett hit the headlines in 2007 when – at the age of 13 – he confessed to murdering his four year-old sister, Ella at their home in Abilene, Texas.

The teen stabbed his young sibling 17 times with a kitchen knife while she lay asleep in her bed.

Why did he kill his sister?

© Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd Having planned the event for weeks beforehand, Bennett carried out the act after he had told the babysitter who was looking after Ella to go home. Soon after he committed the murder, he rang the emergency services and told them what he had done.

In the aftermath of Ella’s death, Bennett claimed that he had suffered an hallucination where a demonic version of Ella appeared to be laughing at him. However, he later went on to claim that he had woken the morning of the murder with a clear state of mind.

How long is he in jail?

© Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd Bennett was sentenced to 40 years in prison – the highest sentence a juvenile gets for murder in Texas months after he committed the crime in 2007. Having already served 12 years of his sentence, Bennett is eligible for parole in eight years in 2027. If he is refused, the inmate won’t be released until 2047.

However, his possible early release could have dangerous repercussions for Charity who has been advised to go into hiding over fears Bennett could still harbour violent intentions towards her.

Due to the nature of his crime, Bennett is not allowed to interact with children.

What does he have to say about the crime?

During his conversation with Morgan, Bennett acknowledges that he committed a heinous act but adds: “Yes, I did commit a monstrous crime but does that one mistake define my entire life…I don’t think it does.”

Despite his diagnosis, Bennett claimed in another interview that he didn’t suffer from any mental illnesses. Appearing in the documentary The Family I Had on the Investigation Discovery channel in 2017, he told the directors: “I chose to do my crime and I take full responsibility for my crime. And I wouldn’t say there was a predisposition to what happened. I’m not insane and I don’t suffer from any mental illness.”

What does his mum say?

© Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd Regardless of his crime, Charity has forgiven Bennett and continues to visit him in prison.

Explaining her reasons for still supporting her son despite losing another child as a result of his actions, the New York Post reported Charity as saying: “I have forgiven Paris for what he did, but it’s an ongoing process. If he was free , I would be frightened of him.

“The fact that he is incarcerated gives me peace of mind, but I worry about his own safety.”

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Charity, who has since had another child during Bennett’s incarceration, also insists that she won’t give up on Bennett despite getting worried about what he could do when she goes to visit him.

“I sometimes have to say to myself : ‘Okay, Charity, take a breath, you know how Paris is wired’. But I am not going to be that parent who abandons their kid,” she explained.

Meanwhile, during her appearance on Psychopath with Piers Morgan, Charity confessed: “He’ll be nice, personable, polite. He is very charming when he wants to be. I mean he is a psychopath.”

With the possibility that Bennett could be a free man in eight years, Charity has to make the decision about whether she continues to support Bennett or go into hiding to protect her youngest son.

When is Psychopath with Piers Morgan on TV?

Psychopath with Piers Morgan airs on ITV on Thursday 27 June at 9pm.

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My sociopath son killed my daughter

Charity Lee was approaching the supermarket checkout when a fellow shopper blocked her path.

“I know who you are,” shouted the woman. “You should watch your son be executed, because he is a monster and you raised him!”

Drawing on all the strength she could muster, Lee shakily replied: “Ma’am. I don’t know who you are, but you really need to get counseling.”

With that, the mother of child-killer Paris Bennett, age 13, abandoned her grocery cart and rushed out.

The stranger’s harsh judgment only added to her agony: In a shocking twist, her son’s victim was Lee’s 4-year-old daughter, Ella.

Paris had stabbed his half-sister to death in cold blood with a kitchen knife.

“There have been other moments like that,” Lee tells The Post of the 2007 incident in the Abilene, Texas, store. “But people often have one opinion at first, and then change it once they’ve talked to me and offer compassion.”

The 44-year-old’s powerful story of grief, love, fear and forgiveness is featured in the documentary “The Family I Had,” airing on Investigation Discovery at 9 p.m. Thursday.

It examines Lee’s conflicted emotions as she struggles to come to terms with the catastrophe that tore her life apart 10 years ago.

‘I have forgiven Paris for what he did, but it’s an ongoing process.’

A prison rights activist, she keeps Ella’s memory alive while frequently visiting her now-24-year-old son in jail. He is serving a 40-year sentence (the maximum in Texas for a juvenile for murder) and will be eligible for parole in 2027.

“I have forgiven Paris for what he did, but it’s an ongoing process,” explains Lee. “If he was free , I would be frightened of him.

“The fact that he is incarcerated gives me peace of mind, but I worry about his own safety.”

It was about 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 5, 2007, when Lee was met by cops at a Buffalo Wild Wings near Abilene where she worked as a waitress.

“ told me that my daughter had been hurt,” she recalls in the film. “And I was saying, ‘You need to take me to Ella now,’ and they were like, ‘You can’t go … she’s dead.’

“And that made no sense, because I knew that I’d left her at home with a baby sitter and her brother, so I said, ‘Is my son OK?’ And they said, ‘We have him.’ … That’s when everything stopped making sense.”

Sometime around 10 p.m., Paris, an unusually gifted child with an IQ of 141, had convinced the baby sitter she could go home. It was after that, according to detectives, that he grabbed a knife and entered the room where Ella was sleeping.

He proceeded to beat and choke his little sister and stab her 17 times.

Next, the boy spent six minutes calling a school friend before waiting two minutes and phoning 911 to report the murder.

“He pretended to follow the dispatcher’s directions and do CPR,” says Lee. “But that was all a lie.” Cops found no evidence of attempted first aid.

At first, Paris claimed he suffered a vivid hallucination in which an inflamed, demonic version of Ella was laughing maniacally at him. But he later described how he had awakened that morning wanting to kill someone.

Lee with Paris as a babyCourtesy of Investigation Discovery

Says Lee: “Ella was an easy target — predators don’t ever pick on anybody bigger than themselves.”

Paris told investigators that his original plan was to murder Ella before lying in wait for his mother and stabbing her when she returned from work. “He said the first reason he didn’t go ahead with it was because it was a lot harder to kill someone than he thought,” says Lee. “The second reason was the realization if he’d killed me, I only would have suffered for five, 10, 15 minutes. But, if he left me alive , I would suffer for the rest of my life.”

One of Paris’ motives was punishing his mother. A former heroin addict who kicked drugs shortly before conceiving her son, she’d briefly relapsed on cocaine when he was 12 and Ella was 3. This followed more than a decade of sobriety for Lee. Paris claimed she had put her habit before him.

“The only regret I’ve ever had about my own personal behavior is my relapse,” says Lee, who has not abused narcotics since Ella’s death. “The fact is, it made him angry and he chose to handle it that way .

“It’s just another indication that he is a sociopath. I don’t regret how I’ve handled Paris, I feel like I’ve been true to myself and followed the right path.”

After his sentencing, an assessor told Lee she deserved to know that her son was a sociopath. Psychiatrists whom she hired when Paris was 15 agreed that, had he been 18 and old enough ​to qualify ​for the label, they would have diagnosed him as having anti-social personality disorder​ (sociopath​y​)​.​ He confessed to having had homicidal thoughts since the age of 8, often expressing them through violent and disturbing drawings.​

Since becoming an adult, Paris has refused further psychological evaluations. In a jailhouse interview behind glass in “The Family I Had,” he tells directors Carlye Rubin and Katie Green: “I chose to do my crime and I take full responsibility for my crime. And I wouldn’t say there was a predisposition to what happened.

“I’m not insane and I don’t suffer from any mental illness.”

‘I am not going to be that parent who abandons their kid.’

While Lee describes him as “manipulative” and “narcissistic,” she is quick to explain how her maternal instinct means she puts her love for her son above her anger.

“I sometimes have to say to myself : ‘Okay, Charity, take a breath, you know how Paris is wired,’ ” she says. “But I am not going to be that parent who abandons their kid.”

In 2012, the single stay-at-home mom became pregnant with a third child, Phoenix, now 4. She was delighted to at last be given a new hope.

The pair now lives in Savannah, Ga., and Lee goes to see Paris in the Lone Star State for four-hour stretches as often as she can. She is grateful that prison rules ban him from having visitors under age 17. “Texas won’t allow him to see Phoenix because he killed a child.

Lee with her baby, PhoenixCourtesy of Investigation Discovery

“If Paris wasn’t in prison or was able to meet Phoenix, I would have to do a lot more soul-searching.”

Mercifully, the soul-searching is helping Lee cope with the devastating loss of Ella, whom she describes as “extroverted, very outspoken and very smart.”

Butterflies became Ella’s symbol after her preschool teachers gave her mother a remarkable picture she had painted of the insect. A friend also found a butterfly brooch in Lee’s back yard on the day she finally returned to the house where the murder took place.

Ever since then, Lee associates butterflies with the presence of her daughter.

“That’s her thing, I guess,” adds Lee, who has a collection of butterfly tattoos.

In 2011, the grieving mom founded the nonprofit ELLA Foundation — an acronym for Empathy, Love, Lessons and Action — which assists people involved in the criminal justice system and those affected by trauma.

“On the night that Ella died, I vowed to do something meaningful in her memory,” concludes Lee. “It also gave me a place to direct my rage, other than at my child.”

Through all this, she is also a loving mother to Phoenix, who, she says, gave her “joy, life and happiness again.”

“Because I was living with the dead, I was barely living,” adds Lee. “Phoenix really brought me back into the moment.”

MURDERED By My Daughter is a new documentary that’s set to take a harrowing look at a double murder – committed by FOURTEEN year olds.

Here’s everything you need to know about the shocking new Channel 5 documentary…

3 Kim Edwards instructed her boyfriend Lucas Markham to kill her mum and sisterCredit: PA:Press Association

What happened to Elizabeth and Katie Edwards?

Elizabeth and Katie Edwards were brutally murdered in their home in Spalding, Lincolnshire in April 2016.

The 13-year-old and her 49-year-old mum were stabbed ten times as they slept in their beds.

Kim Edwards, 14, and her boyfriend Lucas Markham, also 14, later confessed to the killings.

Edwards told police: “He was joking. Then he realised I wasn’t joking. Then he said he wasn’t joking either and it escalated from there.”

In court, the jury heard that the plan started as “a joke” that “escalated”.

It has also been revealed Edwards and Markham had sex after the killings, then shared a bath before watching the Twilight films.

As a result, the murders are often referred to as the Twilight Killings.

The pair were discovered at the address in Dawson Avenue afterwards and arrested by police.

3 Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

What happens in Murdered By My Daughter?

Channel 5 gained exclusive access to the confession of one of Britain’s two youngest double murderers.

The programme will air never-before-aired exclusive extracts of the audio recording made by police as they interviewed Lucas.

It is believed that Kim was jealous of her mother Elizabeth’s attention for her 13-year-old sister, Katie.

Lucas is believed to have begrudged Mrs Edwards for trying to end his relationship with Kim.

In the audio, Lucas confessed in a calm, undramatic voice and said: “I went into her mum’s room and stabbed her in the neck while she was asleep on her side and smothered her face with a pillow.

“And after I knew she had gone, I went into Katie’s room – which is the same room as Kim’s – and I thought I stabbed her, but… I thought I stabbed her, but I’m not a hundred per cent sure – it was, like, her on a mattress and then I smothered her face with a pillow too.”

He admits killing Elizabeth then admits he killed Katie because he thought she would call the police. Asked to confirm if that was the only reason, Lucas casually replied: “Pretty much.”

3 Lucas stabbed and smothered both Elizabeth and Katie Edwards in their beds – then watched Twilight with his girlfriend

When is Murdered By My Daughter on?

Murdered By My Daughter aired in June 2017, but is being repeated on 24 May 2018 on Channel 5 at 10.05pm.

The show can be accessed after transmission on streaming service, 5 On Demand.

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Twelve years ago a Texas mother learned her 4-year-old daughter Ella had been brutally murdered.

The person who murdered Charity Lee’s child wasn’t a serial killer or known criminal.

It was her 13-year-old son, Paris Bennett.

Ella was stabbed 17 times and strangled by her sibling while she slept in her bed. Paris had convinced their babysitter to go home and later phoned 911 to confess to the murder.

Advertisement Paris and his sister Ella as kids. Photo / Supplied

He confessed he did it to get back at his mother.

ITV presenter Piers Morgan interviewed the now 25-year-old Bennett in a jail in Texas where he is serving 40 years behind bars.

Having spent almost half his life in prison, he will soon be eligible for parole.

With an IQ of 141, Bennett qualifies as a genius. Less than a quarter of one per cent of the world’s population has that level of intelligence.

As Morgan wrote in his story for Daily Mail, Bennett is also a psychopath, “someone who has been formally diagnosed as a psychopath by medical experts”.

Echoing famous scenes from The Silence of the Lambs, Morgan met Bennett in a secure room behind reinforced glass with heavily armed guards standing by. He was told he could not speak to the killer face to face.

“Why not?” Morgan asked.

“He’s too dangerous,” came the reply.

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Morgan wrote: “True psychopaths have a chronic mental disorder that manifests itself in a number of personality traits including amoral or antisocial behaviour, extreme egocentricity, a lack of ability to love or establish meaningful relationships, and no sense of guilt, shame or embarrassment.

“Psychopaths can also be quite terrifyingly violent. Paris Bennett ticks every box.”

The facts of the case are chilling.

When he was 13, Bennett says he decided to punish his mother Charity for perceived wrongs. He planned to kill her. But instead decided to kill his 4-year-old sister Ella, effectively doubling the impact – one child dead, the other in prison.

While mother Charity was at work in a local bar, Bennett put his plan into action. He told the baby sitter to leave early, then calmly walked into his sister’s bedroom and began ferociously attacking her.

Piers Morgan met with Bennett in secure custody. Photo / ITV

Bennett then called a friend on the phone and talked for six minutes before calling the police, who came and arrested him.

Lee told Morgan: “If Paris had killed me as he originally intended, I’d have only suffered for a brief few moments.

“But by killing Ella instead, he knew he was sentencing me to a lifetime of suffering.”

Incredibly, Lee says she has forgiven her son and visits him regularly. But she fears that if he is granted parole, he will torment her all over again.

As Bennett walked into the secure room he announced, “Hello everyone”.

“Since this is going to be done for ITV, would you like me to speak in the Queen’s English?” he asked Morgan.

“Why are you doing this interview?” Morgan asked Bennett. “To show people that I am not a monster or villain,” he replied.

Paris with his mother Charity. Photo / Supplied

“Can you rationalise or explain what you did to your sister?” Morgan asked.

“I can’t easily explain everything. I think that’s been one of the biggest challenges for other people through the years, because no one likes to be confused. No one likes to be bewildered. We like… easy answers.”

Morgan asked why he had so much fury.

“For many years, there was just this hot, flaming ball of wrath in the pit of my stomach and it was directed at my mother,” Bennett said.

“And one of the reasons why I chose to kill my sister and not someone else is because I knew that by doing that I could hurt my mother in the worst possible way, because I had always known, as a child, that the most devastating thing to my mother would be the loss of one of her children, and I found a way to take away both her children in one fell swoop.

“Part of me loved my sister and would have turned the world upside down for her.” But there was a part “wounded, twisted, dark… the part that had been in pain for so long”.

“Misery loves company,” he said.

“I love her with every fibre of my being.”

Paris Bennett says he will not kill again. Photo / ITV

Bennett was then asked if he would kill again.

“The only person I’m dangerous to is myself because the very moment I feel the chains slipping and the bars bending, the very moment I detect that dark part of myself coming back out again, I would remove myself from the equation.

“Every single person walking around has it in him or her to commit murder. Margaret Atwood once wrote that if we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged.”

“This morning we were reading a space book and was talking about how he was going to kill the astronauts. Aggressive talk really freaks me out.”

When one of the parents I mentor in the Ninja Parenting Community posted this recently, I knew that you might be hearing “aggressive talk” with your child as well.

Why DO kids seem to talk and think so much about death, and killing?

We get into that today, and I share 3 ways you can address what might seem an unhealthy obsession with the macabre.

Plus in Parenting News:
We discuss this recent Boston Globe article, about young schoolchildren not being given enough time to eat their lunch, the problems parents are seeing as a result, and what they are doing to try to make it better.

Also! I plan to be at an event that might interest you, if you can be at the Newton Community Farm in Newton Massachusetts on Saturday, November 9: A movie screening, and author signing!
Ken Danford, author of Learning is Natural, School is Optional, a book I am currently reading and loving, will be on hand to sign copies! And us attendees also get to see a movie about self-directed learning and how cool it is.
Hope to see you there! ( to sign up for the event : )

Join us!

Sign up for my Weekly Parenting Newsletter

Each Wednesday I send out a Parenting Newsletter, to help you stay sane while raising your kiddos.
Past editions have included remaining calm even if your kids are throwing dirt at each other, and helping when your child is frightened.
Useful stuff.
so it zooms right into your inbox each week!

Access the cheat sheet on the three ways to help when your child seems overly excited by death and killing; plus links to everything we talk about today, by clicking weturnedoutokay.com/302

Today’s episode is sponsored by the amazing Janine Halloran, expert in teaching kids coping skills, who has created a great resource to help your child handle it when the going gets tough!
Listen to today’s show to find out how to get 15% off your order, and then
Click copingskillsforkids.com/okay to check out Janine’s Coping Skills for Kids Cue Card Decks.

3 Ways to handle your child’s attraction to death and killing

1. Address it calmly.
This means understanding that, while it feels terrifying to us, kids don’t have the same conceptions of death or killing that we do. So calmly asking questions, and then answering them in a calm way, will help you get a sense of why they’re even asking. It will also help you be that trusted adult that your child needs when grappling with big issues.

2. Answer questions on their level.
Listening for their questions, and answering on their level – without going too far beyond their original question – helps them gain knowledge, and helps them feel safe.

3. Make your expectation be that your child is kind.
Even, adopt a mantra like “I’m raising a kind child.”
If we worry about our children growing up to be violent and aggressive (based on their interest in things like death and killing when they are very young), that can turn into an expectation that we do not want.
The worry becomes the expectation, which in turn becomes the reality.
Instead, choose the expectation for the result that you want.
Tell yourself “I’m raising a kind child;” now, the expectation is that your child is kind. Therefore, the result will be that you have a kind child.
It’s either a vicious, or a virtuous, cycle. Think carefully on which you want to see.

Key Links

to join the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group, where this week’s Magic Words are all about how to help your child approach life with a resilient mindset.

for Trevor Noah’s wonderful book, Born a Crime, which comes up in this episode.

to see how Sesame Street handled it when beloved character Mr. Hooper passed away. (Watching it again I see how truly sad it is… And it is also truly beautiful.)

Need help staying sane while raising kiddos? Work with me!

If you need some extra help and support while encountering the challenges raising your children brings, work closely with me!
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/workwithme to find out more.

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Department of Health

Suicide Prevention, Children Ages 10 to 19 Years

As a parent or caregiver, you can play a major role in identifying if a young person is considering suicide.

What are suicidal behaviors?

  • Suicide occurs when someone purposely takes his or her own life.
  • A suicide attempt occurs when someone tries to take their own life but does not succeed. The person who survives may have serious injuries such as brain damage, broken bones, and organ failure. The survivor may also have depression or other mental health issues.
  • Suicidal ideation occurs when someone is thinking about taking their life.

Why do teens become suicidal?

There are many reasons why teens become suicidal. A suicide rarely has just one cause.

The teen years are an extremely stressful time for many children.Untreated mental illness, especially depression, is the leading cause for suicide. Many people who die by suicide suffer from untreated or poorly treated depression resulting from difficult life experiences.These life experiences might include family changes or illness, loss of family or friends, and feeling lonely, helpless, hopeless or depressed.

How do I know if my teen is at risk for suicide?

The following factors may increase the risk of suicide or attempted suicide. However, these risk factors do not always lead to a suicide.

  • Depression and other mental disorders, or a substance-abuse disorder (often combined with other mental disorders)
  • Feeling hopeless and worthless
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Physical illness
  • Feeling detached and isolated from friends, peers and family
  • Family history of suicide, mental illness, or depression
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Access to a weapon in the home
  • Knowing someone with suicidal behavior, such as a family member, friend , or celebrity
  • Coping with being gay (homosexuality) in an unsupportive family, community, or hostile school environment
  • Incarceration (time in prison)

What factors can help protect my teen from becoming suicidal?

  • Effective medical treatment for mental and physical health problems and substance abuse
  • Strong support network of friends, family, peer groups or outside activities
  • Skills in solving problems, resolving conflicts and handling disputes without violence
  • Cultural and/or religious beliefs that discourage suicide

What are warning signs or behaviors that my teen may be thinking about suicide?

Teen suicide often occurs after a recent stressful life event in the family, with a friend, or at school. It is important for you to know the warning signs for suicide so you can get your teen the help she/he needs. A teen who is considering suicide might have one or more of these behaviors:

  • Suicidal ideation (thinking, writing, drawing or talking about suicide, death, dying or the afterlife)
  • Dependence on alcohol or drugs
  • Lack of a sense of purpose in life
  • Trouble focusing or thinking clearly
  • Increased withdrawal from family, friends, school, jobs and society. Poor grades may be a sign that the child is withdrawing at school.
  • Lack of interest in favorite activities
  • Reckless or risk-taking behaviors
  • Rash, bizarre or violent behavior
  • Changed eating or sleeping patterns (such as being unable to sleep or sleeping all the time)
  • Deep feelings of grief, uncontrolled anger, anxiety, shame, hopelessness, guilt or anxiety

What are signs that my teen may have a suicide plan?

  • Threatening to or talking about wanting to hurt or kill him/herself
  • Creating suicide notes
  • Expressing odd or troubling thoughts
  • Showing a dramatic change in personality or appearance
  • Throwing or giving away or promising to give away valued possessions to family members or friends
  • Talking about not being around in the future or “going away”
  • Searching for and trying to obtain weapons, pills, or other means ways to take their own life

How can I help a teen who is thinking or talking about suicide?

  • Do not ignore these warning signs.
  • Talk openly with your child and express concern, support, and love. If your child does not feel comfortable talking to you, suggest that s/he talk to another trusted adult such as a family member, a pastor, minister, rabbi or priest, a coach, a school counselor, or a family doctor.
  • Do not leave your teen alone.
  • Remove the objects your child might use to harm him/herself. Make sure your teen does not have access to guns, other possible weapons or medications.
  • Seek help immediately from:
    • Your child’s doctor;
    • Mental health services (Ask your doctor for a referral.);
    • The nearest emergency room;
    • Emergency services (911); and/or
    • A suicide hotline.

How can I find a suicide hotline?

What NYS laws related to the prevention of suicide are important for me to know?

Timothy’s Law requires that health insurance providers provide comparable (similar) coverage for mental illnesses as they provide for other medical care. Timothy’s Law ensures that adults and children with mental illness receive the same health care coverage benefits as those provided for physical ailments.

Only people covered by group health insurance or a school blanket health insurance policy are eligible for the mental health benefits required by Timothy’s Law. Group health insurance is insurance that you obtain through an employer or through an association, such as a chamber of commerce. A school blanket health insurance policy covers students enrolled in a college or university who purchase their insurance through the school.

Where can I find more information?

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Association of Suicidology
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Kid’s Health by Nemours
  • New York State Department of Health
  • National Institute for Mental Health
  • New York State Office of Mental Health
  • Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

How to Help Kids Worried About ‘Bad Thoughts’

A mom writes to ask how to help her 10-year-old daughter, who is worrying a lot about “bad thoughts.”

Sometimes these thoughts are bad because they are mean: A family friend is “fat” or “wrinkly.” Sometimes they are sexual: She imagines a classmate naked. Or violent: She thinks she wants to kill her mother. They have one thing in common: she feels a need to confess all these thoughts to her mom, who wonders what’s going on.

It’s a scenario we hear a lot: A child is suddenly desperate to confess disturbing thoughts. A 9-year-old noticed his teacher’s cleavage, and feels guilty about it. As his dad writes: “The more he tries to control the thoughts, the more they come.” He worries out loud that there might be something wrong with him, and asks for reassurance that he’s okay. Over and over.

Kids can get very upset about these thoughts, though of course not all of them feel compelled to share them with their parents. But when they do, the constant confession and requests for reassurance can be stressful for parents, too.

Why do kids worry about “bad thoughts” and feel the need to confess them? And what can you do as a parent to help them?

What does this thought say about me?

Jerry Bubrick, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, reminds us that we all have random thoughts that we think, as these kids do, are bad. We may think, Wow, that was unkind, or weird, or inappropriate! And then we dismiss them. We don’t express them, or act on them, and we quickly forget about them.

In contrast, Dr. Bubrick says, kids can get upset when these ordinarily fleeting thoughts get “stuck” and they are unable to dismiss them and move on. Instead of recognizing bad thoughts as meaningless, the kids hold themselves responsible for them.

“These kids are placing value on themselves based on the thoughts they’re having,” Dr. Bubrick explains. So they think, There must be something wrong with me in having that thought. Or, I must be a horrible person if I’m having that thought.”

Dr. Bubrick calls it “over-responsibility of thought”—kids literally holding themselves responsible for their thoughts, instead of letting them go. “And that’s why kids feel compelled to confess. They’re asking parents for reassurance, for a parent to say, ‘Yeah, that’s okay. Don’t worry about it,’ ” he adds. “That calms that fear: Okay, I’m not a bad person.”

Why do some thoughts get stuck?

Thoughts are often driven by emotional states, Dr. Bubrick notes. For example, “when I’m happy I’m more likely to have happy thoughts, and when I’m scared I’m more likely to have scary thoughts. When I’m hungry I’m more likely to have thoughts about food.” When we get frustrated or angry, we can all relate to imagining bad things happening to the person who’s standing in our way.

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But most of us don’t become alarmed or self-critical based on our thoughts alone—what matters are the actions we take. Becoming fixated on “stuck” thoughts can be a symptom of anxiety, whether it’s just an anxious personality or a full-blown anxiety disorder.

What kids consider “bad” depends on the culture and what they’ve been taught. In religious families, for instance, kids worry about “bad thoughts” they think might offend God. Sexual thoughts are not infrequently disturbing to boys, especially before puberty makes talk of sexuality common among their teenage peers. Worries about wanting to murder people are surprisingly common in young children. Rachel Busman, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, treated one 10-year-old girl who felt she needed to sit on her hands because she had thoughts about strangling someone.

Kids who feel compelled to confess and ask for reassurance are usually less than 12, Dr. Bubrick notes. “Older kids tend not to tell parents what they’re thinking, I would imagine, because the thoughts are darker or scarier. They’re more sexualized, or they’re more violent.”

How can we help kids handle ‘bad thoughts’?

The goal is simple: to help kids recognize that their thoughts are just thoughts.

“Just because you have a thought—whether it’s a good or a bad thought—doesn’t make it true,” Dr. Bubrick explains. “A bad thought doesn’t make you a bad person—It just means you’re having that thought. ”

That’s the message clinicians use when they treat kids with anxiety disorders using cognitive behavioral therapy. Kids are taught to identify their obsessive thoughts as separate from themselves—as a “bully in the brain,” as Dr. Bubrick puts it. “When thoughts get stuck in our mind, they kind of bully us into thinking they’re more important than they are,” adds Dr. Busman.

“Seeking reassurance is a way to relieve the distress or anxiety,” she says. “And it works, for the moment.” But the only way to stop the cycle of getting stuck on intrusive thoughts and asking for reassurance is to learn to tolerate the distress without confessing, and see that the anxiety will fade.

If bad thoughts really become a problem for a child—if they continue, if they cause great anguish or interfere with the child’s functioning, it may be a sign of an underlying anxiety disorder that deserves professional help.