The Story of Alexa Linboom
I can only imagine what was going through Alexa Linboom’s head in the hours before she passed away.She was sick. She us unwell and she probably wondering why the two people she adored were still making her hurt so much.
On New Year’s Day, 2012, Alexa was just being a five year old kid and sneaked a swig of her step-mom’s soda. As punishment for her action, Alexa was made to imbibe almost two and a half litres of grape soda and water in no more than two hours. The blonde haired and blue eyed Alexa wet herself and vomited throughout the ordeal before passing out. Her father and step-mom bought Alexa’s unresponsive body to the hospital three hours later.
Alexa died two days later from acute fluid intoxication. The insurgence of liquid caused Alexa’s sodium level to drop which swelled the brain can causing brain damage. The autopsy report also notes that Alexa has bruised on her body and cuts on her face.
Both parents have been charged with first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and a couple of counts of aggravated child neglect and pleaded not guilty at a court hearing last Friday.
An obituary in the local rag described Alexa as someone who loved being with her family, loved animals and enjoyed coloring and playing with her Barbie dolls. She sounds just like an ordinary five year old to me.
It has always amazed me how someone could treat their offspring with such callous regard and since I have become a parent it has absolutely disgusted me; but instances such as this seem to be in the headlines at regular intervals.
It was only last week a Californian couple were charged with the murder a three year old girl who was beaten to death before having her body placed in a suitcase and put in the freezer. In 2011, an Australian man posted on Facebook before stabbing his child to death in an effort to get back at the child’s mother, the presiding Justice remarked during sentencing“the victim was your infant daughter, and she was killed by the one man in the world whose duty it was to love, nurture and protect her”.
These are just two examples of many and though the facts around each case may differ, the tragedy is the same.
Imagine the thought of these little kids not understanding why one of the people they love the most is hurting them. At that age they don’t realize that their parents/parent are complete tools; but have nothing but adoration and affection for them. They don’t understand the politics of a relationship, they don’t understand what they have done wrong or even if they have done wrong.
Now, I am not one to send in the cavalry when a child has done wrong, nor am I a hippy who believes that children should free of punishment and consequences for their actions. What makes me irate about Alexa Linboom’s case in particular is that she was emotionally shamed into punishment. At no stage was Alexa shown any respect from her parents or thought into what may have motivated her behavior considered.
I do believe that children do need to have boundaries set and they do need to be set far enough so that they can develop emotionally but not too far that they lose the influence of their much needed role models. Punishments that serve no purpose other than to shame do nothing but implode a child’s self-esteem, stain their self-expression and stagnate their development of emotional intelligence.
The story of Alexa Linboom continually plays in my mind. I find myself switching from anger to despondency. The thought of this poor little girl suffering whilst just to appease her parents is too much. Should Alexa need to be addressed for taking something she shouldn’t have? Yes. But what was her punishment teaching her?
To Alexa Linboom and all the other children killed at the helm of their parents or guardians, my heart goes out to you all. You all deserved better.
A slow and painful death is no suitable punishment for taking an unpermitted sip of soda.
For more information on the repercussions of shame punishment please read in Robin Grille’s article Good Children.