What about Children with an Asperger Parent?

have written a lot about what it’s like being married to someone with Asperger
Syndrome –  the many challenges you face daily. Now imagine what it’s like
having a parent with Asperger Syndrome. This scenario is real and affects many
children. So this leads us to wonder, what is life like for these children?

It is only realistic to expect that living with an Asperger parent will be a
challenge. Many adults who were raised with an Aspie parent are now reporting
severe depression and self-esteem problems because they lived with a parent who
struggled to nurture them and get to know them. With a lack of warmth, tender
affection, and communication, a child can feel emotionally rejected by their
parent even though they may have all of their physical needs taken care of.

This is not to say that an Aspie parent does not love their child. That is far
from the truth. But the communication and relationship deficits confuse the
child and can lead to the child feeling unloved. Remember it is the child’s
experience that defines the parenting, not whether the AS parent loves their

I am writing a new book entitled,  “Parenting
with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of
It addresses the unique issues that come up when
you’re co-parenting with an Aspie partner. Click
to download a free sample chapter.

If you have a child who has an Aspie parent, I highly recommend seeking
professional help from a mental health care specialist. For more information on
Asperger Syndrome, visit Asperger
Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions
on my website.

9 Replies to “What about Children with an Asperger Parent?”

  1. Perhaps people with mental disabilities simply make poor parents and should not breed? This strikes me as no more “ableist” than saying that people with visual defects make poor airplane pilots and should not be allowed to fly planes.

    1. Your views sound harsh – but unfortunately I think they’re mostly on the money.
      I grew up with a single Mum who’s Aspie (and a sister who’s probably Aspie, along with OCD!). And there I was, a Neurotypical, stuck in the middle of Crazy Land. Can’t say I liked much of my childhood! A distinct lack of warmth would be an understatement. My sister & I have suffered plenty of depression & self-esteem problems (I’ve now dealt with most of them over the last 2 decades since I left home…).
      Our oldest child is Asperger’s and my hubby and I are wondering if she should ever have kids. We were thinking that perhaps just ONE child might be OK, but I remember how I used to be when I was a lot younger…and unlike her, I was mostly NICE to people and children and animals. So yeah, although Asperger’s people are functional enough to cope in society (partner up, have kids, friends & a job etc), they generally don’t make good parents. Not unless they’re really on top of their Asperger’s (which I doubt most are). And if they have uncontrolled anger management issues & impulse control issues etc that extend into adulthood, then I would suggest that no, they really should not have kids.
      Conversely, I have met a few very nice Aspie adults who are now parents, and they’re doing pretty good parenting jobs. So perhaps some Aspies make good enough parents, but from my life experience (I’m a health professional), it would seem most do not…

      1. I know it sounds harsh, Robyn, but unfortunately all too true. That being said, there are always individual differences that help some on the Spectrum to do better parenting than others, just as this is true for NTs. However, the one thing that can’t be taught or well compensated for is the EmD-0. Well informed neurodivergent couples really need to take a look at the devastating effect lack of empathy has upon the developing mind of a child. Parenting is far more than child care.

      2. My dad and brother are aspie. I am an adult now and know as a matter of fact that my father should not have had kids. In many ways he has destroyed my family and destroyed my sense of self. He denies everything that he is. Quite the conundrum because I know he cares but is also emotionally ruthless and selfish. My self esteem issues, anxiety disorder and depression lead me to just loathe my life. Always thinking of ways to exit but knowing it would destroy my mom. Asperger’s parents are torcher for a growing child. Especially when you just can’t put your finger on why things are so difficult with dad. And you can’t explain it to anyone who doesn’t know. Which creates even deeper issues. Makes me feel like imploding

    2. I COMPLETELY agree! I was raised by a severely autistic mother and have suffered from depression since the age of 3 and have gotten into narcissistic (lack of empathy men) relationships as an adult. I am now 44, single and scared of meeting people. I used to be an extrovert and still am but am too scared to be around people after everything I’ve seen.

      Luckily I was tested and am not autistic myself (phew!) I also dont recent my mother but I cut the contact 2003 and it was the best thing I ever did, she had NO empathy nor could connect at all with neither me or my stepfather.

      1. I know exactly how you feel. I feel like I would’ve had a chance in life to feel free of massive anxiety and depression if it wasn’t for being raised by my father. I am 44 as well and not knowing what the F was going on for most of my life made it so confusing and upsetting for all of us. I am sorry you had to go through it too and still going through it. 🙁

    3. Anybody who passes a driver’s examination can get a driver’s license and drive a car.

      There are no perquisite examinations to become a parent Neither State nor the Federal Gov’t have eugenic laws.

      I have a sister-in-law that is an Aspie. Her father has Asperger’s, as well as one of her son’s. She is violent, lacks emotional perception, and empathy and is dangerous. I once saw her dry and drown another adult by holding his head underwater. He put her arm in a wristlock to break the grip she had on the top of his head, holding him underwater with a straight-arm and her 240 lbs bulk keeping him underwater. Once surfaced, he scolded her for the insane behavior; she laughed and cackled the entire time.

      Their neurotypical son exhibits violent behavior and has had numerous academic interventions because of bullying behavior. He definitely lacks normal empathy and I fear he is a junior psychopath in the making.

      Contrarily, their Aspie son is caring and nurturing. Kudos to him.

      I completely understand what you’re saying and have witnessed he difficulties mentioned in article.

  2. Until recently after seeking counseling did I learn that my mother shows every sign of having Asperger’s. I am 49 years old and never understood my family or upbringing. I had a love / hate / torturous / confused relationship with my parents. I grew up in a household where I felt unloved and stupid every moment of every day. I wish I could say that it was only during my childhood, but as
    a mentally normal person I had this pull to have a relationship with my mom and bent over backwards to be in her good graces. I felt like the world revolved around my mother’s wants and only her feelings. I never thought that my own feelings mattered, as it had been beaten in my head my whole life that they weren’t. When I turned 40, I reached my limit with her and cut all ties, as I saw the effects she was having on my own children. I have been hurt and angry for years. If I had known sooner…. it would have been nice to have known sooner that it wasn’t all me.

  3. It is so difficult. Autism is a curse that stalks families. I don’t mean to insult those inflicted, but NTs who have to deal with it have no support at all. Yet anyone with autism is supported, regardless of the abuse many of them force on those closest to them.

    As a child of an autistic parent, I essentially learned C-PTSD at a young age, putting myself behind everyone else for life, and became an aspie magnet. People pleasing, fawn, fight or flight, all the usual trauma responses.

    The truth is that many aspies take advantage of empaths. They claim not to realise that, perhaps some don’t, but imo most do.

    Its good that there is more care for disabled people, but such awareness has breezed over the problems in ASD. Aspies are encouraged not to admit to their abusive behaviours. Their very condition means they tend to struggle with self reflection anyway, so they certainly don’t need more excuses.

    As with everything, its complicated. One aspie may not be another. Capitalism, marketing and the internet encourages over- simplistic tribalism in every way, politically and socially. But lets be honest about the actual issues.

    Feminists denying parental alienation. Autists denying human feelings. Zionists denying genocide. Capitalism denying extremist inequality. Etc etc etc

    Wisdom isn’t through denial.

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