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Is Autism caused by "bad parenting"?

Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology, believed that almost all psychological issues stemmed from early childhood trauma. Autism was believed to be a form of mental illness, and so it was logical to assume that it was caused by early trauma. Later, as autism pioneers Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger began to explore the disorder, they worked almost primarily with upper class parents whose self-presentation may have appeared formal and cold.
The term "refrigerator mother" was coined to describe a parent whose cold, uncaring style so traumatized her child that he retreated into autism. The expression was originally coined by Leo Kanner, who gave autism its name.
Given that recent research suggests that autism is strongly related to genetics, is it possible that Kanner and Asperger were actually seeing very mild signs of autism in these "cold" parents? About.com

 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 8:42 PM on Jun. 30, 2009 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (25)
  • No, that was a theory at one time, and I am sure it was very hurtful to the parents of the children with Autism, but...no one believes that any more at all. It is not even worth the controversy right now.....completely out of date information.
    BJoan

    Answer by BJoan at 11:14 AM on Jul. 1, 2009

  • This was believed in the past. Not anymore.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:46 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • I don't know if anyone knows what causes it, but I can tell you that 32 years ago, it was unheard of. That's how long it's been since my youngest child was born, and not only was the name unknown, so were the symptoms. So whatever it is or whatever causes it is relatively new.
    NannyB.

    Answer by NannyB. at 8:47 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • Sigmund Freud was an idiot who had an unhealthy sex drive. He believed that all problems in girls were caused because of "penis envy" and we were all screwed up because of potty training. If any modern psychologist put forth Freud's theory's now they would be laughed out of academic circles.


    They don't yet know what causes Autism.  Some believe it is genetic because it affects boys twice as often as girls.  Some believe it maybe caused by a virus, or by vaccines.


    Before you post some garbage like this do a little research

    teamquinn

    Answer by teamquinn at 8:47 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • Oh my God.....if you think it is true then explain families with multiple children where only one is affected.
    ColleenF30

    Answer by ColleenF30 at 8:49 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • If that's the case then half the people I know should be autistic. This is pure garbage, and extremly insensetive to all the mom's on here with autistic children. Why don't you go eat an Asperger!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:55 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • Bad parenting? Children who were born of drug addicts ironically don't have any complications.

    But I had a remarkable healthy pregnancy. My son was developmentally growing up just fine up to his second birthday and then something took away my precious boy. He is re-learning all the things he once knew how to do it. I love my son and I would've never done something that would harm him.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:56 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • I have 3 kids of my own and 1 stepson. ONE of my children has Asperger's, the other 3 are nt. Though I know you did your research, you could have asked your question in a much less offensive way. Yes, I do believe that there may be a genetic link, but no, I don't think that is what those doctor's saw. I think they had preconcieved ideas and found ways to support those ideas. Bad parenting does not cause autism. A child either has it or doesn't. If it were caused by bad parenting, then every abused or neglected child should be diagnosed with autism, and yet, they aren't.
    Petie

    Answer by Petie at 8:57 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • I have to live with the idea of my in laws thinking that I'm a bad mother.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:59 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

  • "Bad parenting does not cause autism. A child either has it or doesn't. If it were caused by bad parenting, then every abused or neglected child should be diagnosed with autism, and yet, they aren't."


    That is a good point.

    VeronicaLee

    Answer by VeronicaLee at 9:07 PM on Jun. 30, 2009

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