Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    You know, 50 years ago they said autism was caused by cold mothers.
    Maybe cold mothers were caused by behavior disordered kids.
  2. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Cute!!! We should really look into that. lol :)
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well, it's certainly put a damper on my parental enthusiasm!
  4. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I agree with that theory.
  5. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Actually, I know I'm not as affectionate with Daughter I as probably should. I'm trying to change that. But, after all I've been through with her, it was a matter of survival on my part. I don't think that anyone that truly knows me personally would ever call me "cold", but I can really put up an iron wall, emotionally, if needed.

    So, I think there's a lot of truth to it if a parent wants to survive.
  6. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Dazed, I am very similar. Sometimes I find it very hard to be nice to my daughter, even when she is being nice to me. I am just worn out and always on the defense. She often asks me whats wrong and I end up just telling her I am tired. I can't very well tell her, "Nothing, I just can't be nice to you right now". That would crush her. But I agree with you, it is a matter of survival.
  7. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    I think you have something there!

    My easy child's are both very affectionate and give lots of hugs, and I am naturally more affectionate with them. difficult child doesn't like anyone to touch him and doesn't take compliments and gets aggravated if I say "I love you," so I don't nearly as much.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Heh heh.

    I wasn't aware of that.

    Makes me want to go back in time and strangle a few "experts."
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think there may be something to it. I didn't realize it at the time, but as a young child Wiz was strange in the amount of cuddling he would accept. Even at 2 MONTHS old he would have to have time DAILY where NO ONE was around. Not in same room, not where he could even HEAR a person. Totally alone. I spent a lot of time using mirrors to look around the corner to check on him.

    As long as he got 30-60 minutes a day of this he was fine. Cuddly, on target for most developmental things, etc... with-o this time alone, he was a monster. Inconsolable, totally just unable to cope with anything.

    The docs told me I was nuts. That NO baby could have a need for time alone that was this strong. Even my mom thought I was crazy. Until seh spent a couple days watching him while we had the flu.

    I think this was our very first sign of the Aspergers.

    And many autistic kids don't like to be touched, so that could lead to the perception that the mom is "cold".

    But mostly, the docs were nuts.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think whatever it is that we see in this corollary (that cold mothers are caused by autistic children) is superficial and a judgemental generalisation (as was the original statement).

    I have yet to see, formally defined, the medical term "cold mother". Back when tis idea was being kicked around, the difference between psychiatry and guesswork was much harder to see.

    If you have a child who screams when you touch him, it is going to make you very reluctant to touch him; you will still love that child but not EXPRESS it in ways which casual observers can understand. The child who screams on being touched - again, the casual interpretation is that the child hates physical contact and probably hates the person who is trying to touch him. But often that is not the case.

    Again, it comes back to the casual observer - what gives ANYONE the right to define a condition based purely on their casual observation, and to not also take into account information from those who spend the bulk of their time caring for that child?

    I've met prejudice and similar casual judgements from health professionals. A throwaway remark by one doctor, often speaking outside his speciality, can lead to it being considered a "pronouncement from on high" by junior doctors in another branch of medicine.

    I had a pediatrician (difficult child 1's first specialist) playing psychiatrist with me. The guy was becoming obsessed with psychoanalysing me, to the detriment of his care for difficult child 1. The bloke was playing with difficult child 1's medication dosages just to get me to react. I suspect I'd have got the "cold mother" label very soon, if I hadn't finally got fed up with him and told him, in writing, what I thought.
    The guy was trying to make me angry, I could see that. And I wouldn't give him the satisfaction, so I stayed calm and formal. I've had a lot of practice - working in an all-male environment, with men making sweeping statements about emotional females, I stayed calm and unemotional, getting on with the job.
    Then the pediaitrician began saying things like difficult child 1 was suffering from depression - OK, I could see that. But this doctor was saying that depression was the primary cause. Sorry, I won't wear that. Turned out - this doctor had interpreted my (then) diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) as a psychiatric condition. He actually discussed it with me - a child had been admitted to the psychiatric ward with a diagnosis of CFS and that kid was found to be depressed.
    I said, "Of course. Why wouldn't he be? He's been running around playing happily then he became ill. It's been months since he could run and play, he's always tired, he feels sick, he aches all over, he has headaches - and now he's been locked up in a hospital away from his mother, he probably believes he has some terminal illness that nobody is telling him about. Why wouldn't he be depressed?"
    At which point I saw the condescending smile on the face of the pediatrician. So I changed tack and reminded him of recent (then) research by psychiatrists which made it clear that CFS was a physical illness independent of depression but which itself could include depression.
    By this stage we were getting off topic - difficult child 1 - but he always kept trying to come back to this fixed belief (obsession?) that because to his mind I had 'depression' that this means my son did too, purely because he was my son. He tried to tell me that if we treated the depression then all the other problems would go away.
    "You mean the distractibility, the inability to sit still, the inability to remember more than one simple instruction at one time, the inability to apply a value judgement to any part of text - it's all due to depression?" at which point he would backpedal.

    I finally took myself off to see a psychiatrist (head of the clinic where we saw the pediatrician) and laid my cards on the table. "If there's a chance that all these problems are caused by depression, I want you to make me well so it will all go away," I said.
    She interviewed me at length and finally said, "There is something physically wrong, I can't help you there. You're already seeing the best man in the field for that. And maybe you had a significant depressive episode in the past when you fist became ill, but you handled it well and you're not suffering form depression now."

    I told the pediatrician that Dr K had given me a clean bill of mental health. "What would she know?" he said.
    "She IS your boss," I reminded him. "What would YOU know? At least SHE is qualified in psychiatry."
    "I did top my year in psychiatry at medication school," he told me. "And if you could fool her, then you're good. You're really good. You don't know how sick you have to be, to be able to fool a qualified psychiatrist."

    My failure to react and get angry was only giving this guy more ammunition. But I know that if I had reacted with rage, he would have labelled me as unstable.

    SO when your child is different, and medicine hasn't got the answers, then someone must be to blame. Doctors need an alibi to justify their inability to help. And since mothers are the ones who bring the child in, who spend most of the time with the child (law of averages - we do have some fathers on this site who are primary carers) then the blame gets dumped on the person most vulnerable - the mother.

    The blame was laid by qualified health professionals, hence it stuck. Those needing to defend themselves are "only" mothers, not medically qualified as a rule. So what WE have to say about it never gets listened to. Or it didn't back then.

    Doctors used to be seen to be on a pedestal. especially difficult child 1's first pediatrician. I can picture the mothers of the 1930s, wanting to venerate the experts of the medical profession but at the same time frustrated by what life they lived trying to help their children, and the inability of medical science to help. How many mothers allowed their anger to surface and told the doctor what they thought of his failure?
    The best defence is offence. If you want to extricate yourself from guilt, blame someone else.
    But when only a few mothers got snaky, they needed another reason to attack mothers in general. OK, let's attack them for NOT getting snaky. let's attack them for being unemotional.

    And once attacked, mothers stayed attacked. Because a doctor had said so.

    difficult child 1 and difficult child 3 were cuddled a lot. I knew I wasn't a cold mother - I loved kids, I had helped raise my sister's kids before I had my own. These days the "cold mother" theory has bitten the dust, except for a recalcitrant few idiots masquerading as doctors. But the attitude that led to the initial label - it still exists. Flourishes. I've been 'labelled' a couple of times, but never with a label that stuck for very long. Still, it was nasty to have to waste time refuting an allegation (including Muchhausen's by proxy, at one point) when it was laid out of a combination of laziness, and malice.

    So be aware (and grateful) that the 'cold mother' label is gone, but be alert to the dangers that still exist, in the lazier, more incompetent and arrogant members of the medical profession.

  11. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Actually, I just stated this in response to my own response to difficult child's antics last night. Even tho he wasn't hitting me that hard, the action of hitting me at all just makes it so very easy for me to walk away from him without any emotion at all. I have learned so much on this road thru difficult child-land - and not all of it is positive (ie the ability to be a "cold mother").
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You're right, Shari. We react to how we're treated. And a lot of parents are shell-shocked. If it's bad you can end up with the parental equivalent of battered wife syndrome.