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Raising boys, raising girls. The mysteries of parenting


Try to understand, at least in the General laws of development. In front of the boys face the critical challenge of development, become a man. The Central role of the father to lasting feelings of masculinity, the boy cannot be overemphasized. The boy in the process of personal growth, you must first be separated from the mother and become his own person. Identification with the father has a very big help. A sense of difference from the mother occurs when there is a man with whom the boy can be identified. A sense of similarity with a man, “similar to them”, further enhances the sense of masculinity (“Time dad survived and saved myself without being fused with the mother, and I have a chance to be different, not like a woman!”). Nude image of boy becomes more stable.

Having established a strong sense of masculinity, taking the male role, the boy began to search for another type of relationship with mother. In his view the father gets more and more features beloved ideal. The boy wants to be like his father in everything! This means that the relationship with his mother he should be similar to those that exist in the father! Instead of being the child of his mother in dependent relations, as it was before, now the boy wants to be more manly in a relationship with her. He wants to take his father’s place because that tends to be the same as the father. In psychoanalysis, this internal conflict is called the Oedipus complex. In psychoanalytic theory this conflict is described as a part of normal child development, that is, it occurs in any child. (Here we describe only the internal development of the boy, but the same conflict, with its own characteristics, there are also girls.) The Oedipus conflict reflects the keen desire of the child to take an adult partner position in relations with parents, and also his feelings about his subordinate position in the family.

Different schools of psychoanalysis have different views of the quality of experiences of the child during this period. Psychoanalysis Freud considers the attraction to the parent of the opposite sex as sensually painted. The school of Lacan refers to this desire, rather as a metaphor, reflecting the desire of the child for the mother to become “all”. Be all for another means to embody everything that the other might want. Dreams of the child relate more to the idea of existential reunification and inevitably not feasible. However, as psychologists nor interpret what is happening with the child at this phase, the emergence of a new quality of relationship of the child to the parents is impossible not to notice. At this age the attitude of the boy to his mother (the girls dad) painted rather a tone of partnership, rather than infantile dependence. Parents know the type of children’s statements, appearing in the preschool age: “When I grow up, I will marry you”. Adult ears this phrase sounds funny and touching, but it reflects the deep inner conflict of a child in the way of understanding the new dimension of the world of relations.

So, the boy develops fantasies about being “the man” to his mother: like dad, even better – instead of dad. It is important to remember that these early childhood fantasies do not include a realistic or accurate picture of the interaction. Children’s sexual fantasies is confusing and vague. In the early years of child psychoanalysis, it was observed that attempts to “enlighten” the child often contribute to additional distortions, as superior to his / her cognitive and emotional capabilities, and children’s feelings are very intense.

Immature cognitive function of the child contribute to the increase of castration anxiety. The boy is afraid that his powerful father finds out about his thoughts and fantasies and will take revenge. Castration anxiety should be understood metaphorically. It’s what accompanies the development and can take on many meanings. Castration anxiety should not be considered only with the fear of losing the penis. As it already refers to the fear of undermining masculinity in General. Fear of actual damage or loss of the genitals takes a more General and self-efficacy, potency, matching the ideal. Is it because an adult men can be so important to demonstrate that his car (watch, phone, etc.) is “cooler” than the other? If the Oedipus conflict is not resolved internally, the male will constantly need to prove (all, first and foremost, to himself) that he is the most important, the most courageous!

Because of its “unacceptable impulses” in relation to mother and father the boy begins to feel a strong guilt. In an attempt to defend against castration anxiety and feelings phallic inferiority boys often use aggression. In this regard, a particularly important role of the father. The father helps the boy to regulate aggressive behavior. If the father, instead of to help the boy cope with aggression, becomes simply “disciplination”, he can intensify castration anxiety in the child. Its inaccessibility and demonstration of power he stimulates hostile competition son with him. Often, this father humiliates and teases son, introducing himself as invincible. This behavior only intensifies the hostility of protective boy. In this case the boy may be exaggerated demonstration of phallic power (fighting, just that; offends the weak; seeks to win at any cost). That arrogant attitude does not prove masculinity, but rather indicates the presence of the boy’s feelings of insecurity, giving and emphasizing the continuing fear of castration.

So, we say that the conflict of the Oedipus complex is called castration fears the boy. What’s next? How to get out of this circle of problems?

Even the most loving parents will be forced to disappoint the child, because his desires are far superior to the power of reality. Become a love partner (according to Freud) or a perfect object parent dreams (according to Lacan) the child will not succeed. Sooner or later, in order to preserve self-esteem, the child will have to face reality and acknowledge the unattainability of their desires in relationships with parents and their immaturity. And this frustration is beneficial, it carries a guarantee of progressive personal development. Internal emotional balance can be restored, “postpones” the attainment of their desires at a later time: “When I get as big, strong and smart like daddy, then I will return to this issue”. Thus, the child appears before a new development goal: to become as big, strong and smart as dad. Replaced internal confusion and distress comes the desire to learn new knowledge and skills, both in activities and in social relationships.

This progress the child is not easy and comes at the cost of suffering and renunciation. The period of development from 3 to 6 years may be quite severe and even be accompanied by painful symptoms (such as fears, enuresis, etc.). And yet the conflicts that lie at its basis, is normal. By the expression of Anna Freud, is “the price we have to pay for a higher level of personal development”.

Gradually, the boy refuses regarding desire, directed to his mother, and is identified with parental rules. His father’s moral standards more rapidly and gradually become its own standards. Freud described the role of identification with the father and as a step towards the Oedipus complex and, simultaneously, as a means of resolution. The resolution of the Oedipus conflict leads the child to personal growth, beyond family and to the development of the broader social environment (society, peers).