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Kidnapped Alabama Boy's Mom Forgives Captor

Dr. Phil

When someone’s wronged us, it’s often hard to let go, take a deep breath and move on with our lives. The phenomenon is magnified a thousandfold when it’s got something to do with our kids. 

But Jennifer Kirkland, mom to Ethan, the Alabama Kindergartener held hostage for a week by Jimmy Lee Dykes, says she’s forgiven her son’s captor.

She appeared on the Dr. Phil show and explained that forgiving Dykes at the beginning of the situation was part of a coping mechanism that helped her get through the ordeal and remain calm for her son.

Plus: 5 Tips on Talking to Kids About Scary News

“I didn’t want Ethan to see me and break down,” Kirkland says. She speculates that if Ethan had a violent emotional reaction to seeing his mother, she isn’t sure how Dykes would have reacted to that. 

Plus: 4 Ways to Teach Kids How to Forgive      

Kirkland was advised by police not to talk to Dykes herself, so all she could do was sit, wait and let the police take care of the situation. Kirkland explains that it helped her to envision Dykes as a troubled man who cared for her son (cooking for him, asking for toys, etc.) – but who needed help.

Have you ever forgiven someone who has hurt you or your family? How did this help in the healing process? Share your comments below.