When a mother is not present

While a motherless childhood will never be an easy childhood, the life of a daughter growing up without a mother present is likely to be much more difficult to cope with. A child is born crying, looking for the familiar heart beat that they have heard for the past nine months. The child is able to find an unfamiliar heartbeat of their father, which does not calm them the same way their mother’s would. A father having to raise a child from birth without a mother present can make for a chaotic life for the child, which can have severe consequences as the child develops into the adolescent stage.
A child goes through many stages in life, in many of which a mother is there to experience them with the child, and help them through it. When a mother is not present in the child’s life from the moment of their birth, for whatever reason, this can severely alter how the child thinks, acts, and lives. Studies on the topic have shown that early mother-infant interactions are culturally structured and they also have a major influence on a child’s physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development. (Glowacka, 2004) Many cultures believe that a mother’s nurturing of an infant is an important part of the development of the child’s personality traits. (Glowacka, 2004) The primary person in a child’s life is their mother, whether the child is male or female. (Young) When a mother is not able to fulfill her essential roles in an infant’s life for whatever reason, these first stages of development are forced to take place in another way, or not at all.
Freud believes that every child goes through the same stages of development at the same time. One of the first stages is the oral stage. During the first two years of life, the mouth is the greatest source of gratification. In the oral stage the child sucks for feeding which is usually done via breastfeeding by the mother. When the mother is not present the child maybe broken from the oral stage much sooner which can lead to problems later in the child’s life, such as excessive eating, biting of fingernails, smoking, or chewing on things. (Butcher, 2007) When the mother is unable to help the child through the oral stage the child is the one who suffers, because it is harder for the father or any male to understand what the child is looking for at this stage in their life. The mother is aware of what the child needs because she is able to produce the milk to nourish the child.
As a child begins to enter the ages of three to six they begin what is known as the Phallic stage. This is when the child begins to notice that they have genitals. (Butcher, 2007) It is at this point when a child begins to have a gender identity, such as a male child would identify better with their fathers and a female child would identify better with their mothers. (Young) The male child would reject his mother in a sense that he can not identify with her, but he can with his father. So it is believed that if the mother is not present in the child’s life and the child happens to be a female, she would reject her father at this point, because of the differences in gender.
At a later stage in the female child’s life, when she is being raised only by a male, she does not learn the nurturing side that a female would teach her. Females then tend to become more aggressive, angry, and rough like a male at her age would. (Lang, 1976) Many times the female will begin to blame her father for why she is the way she is. She blames him for her mother not being there to show her how a women is supposed to act. This situation is demonstrated in a movie that came out a few years ago called Now and Then. In the movie, the female child’s mother had died when the child was young and she was raised by her father and her brothers, therefore she acted as though she was a male.
I believe that any child that grows up either without a mother or father is missing out on some parts of their development that needs to be there. I believe that is more obvious when a female child grows up without a mother present, because she is more like her father or whatever father figure may be raising her. I do believe that every child does need their mother from birth until the age of two or three, because their mother is the person they are use to. As a newborn, they are used to the sound of their mother’s heart beat, the way she does things, her voice, and they rely on her for nourishment as well.
When a mother is not present in a child’s life they do not develop some of the personality traits that they may need later in life. Chodorow explains it best, that the child needs to interact with their mother for psychological development. (Young) Without this interaction you begin to see higher aggression in the child, which may not have been there if the mother was able to play her part in the important stages of development. When a mother is not present the child is the one who suffers the most in the situation; the child is the one who is missing out on essential interaction with a primary figure in their early life.

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