Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Sins of the Parents?

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Sins of the Parents?

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Sins of the parents?


An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published Jan. 16:

It's one of the oldest adages about children: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

But what happens if it does?

What if your child is profoundly different than you because of autism? What if they're transgendered, a prodigy or even a sociopath?

How are parents meant to cope when their child is born so far from the family tree?

Andrew Solomon, a reporter for the New York Times, has written a book called Far From the Tree that attempts to answer these questions.

Solomon began to think about this idea when his parents struggled with the fact that he was gay. He realized that it was possible to love someone without understanding them completely.

In the book, one of the things he realized was that, for the most part, despite any perceived flaw, parents love their children regardless.

An example of this was when he interviewed the parents of Dylan Klebold, one of the boys responsible for the mass shooting in Columbine.

Solomon asked them, if their son was there right now, what, if anything, they would like to say to him.

Sue Klebold responded: "I would ask him to forgive me for being his mother and never knowing what was going on inside his head."

The natural tendency when something horrific happens, like a mass shooting, is to put some of the blame on the parents, citing their lack of attention to the child.

In fact, there is a long history of blaming the parents.

Only 60 years ago, it was believed that autism was caused by "refrigerator mothers." The theory was that autism was caused by the emotional frigidity of the mother. Schizophrenia was also thought to be something you develop because your parents had an unconscious wish that you not exist.

If you go back 100 years, there was the idea of imaginationism, which said that the reason your child was a dwarf or had deformities, was because the mother had lascivious longings, which were expressed in the deformities of her child. …

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