There is nothing…NOTHING that my children could ever do that would cause me to stop loving them. And I doubt that I’m on my own with this sentiment.
But a PART of loving our children is paying attention to their behavior, and addressing/correcting it when they take wrong actions. Which every, single child will do. But not every parent will address those actions, and there is no law that says they have to. So, kid’s don’t always grow straight. Sometimes they get crooked, because they never learned to be held accountable for their actions.
That is the wrong way to apply parental love; to treat our children as if they can do no wrong; to defend them to teachers and coaches. To make excuses for them. To blame others for things they do. All of these things some parents do in the name of love are the very things that create the monsters they’re so shocked to find out they have raised.
And in the case of true, organic psychopathy, which is what it sounds like your arsonist brought to the table, coupled with the “my kid is perfect” mindset, the denial that anything was wrong when the siblings were injured, and the defense of his actions even through the trial, as far as I’m concerned, the parents are pretty much as much to blame as the murderer.
Because another part of love is paying close enough attention to notice when something is VERY wrong and to not let our own grief get in the way of making sure our child is in a safe environment (safe for him and for others), even though it makes us sad, and shocked, and ashamed, and we mourn the person we thought he would grow up to be.
They didn’t do the things they did in his defense out of love. They didn’t turn a blind eye to the danger he was placing their other children in because of love. They did those things because those things are EASIER to do than loving their son enough to allow him to shoulder the consequences he brought upon himself and find his own way through the self-imposed maze of the unknown that lay ahead.
Love, at its purest and most true, is about letting go.
Not tightening our grip.