Father vs Mother Psychological Complex

father complex

Photo by Cscott2006

Anyone who has kids will tell you how adept little ones become at manipulating their parents from a very early age. You will hear parents talk about how one child seems to favor the mother over the father, or vice versa, but you have to wonder just how much of that perceived adoration is down to the fact that one is easier to “control” than the other. It’s not uncommon for one parent to be the one who doles out the punishment, while the other will easily acquiesce to every single demand. It should only be natural then that a child will seem to show favor to the one that most easily gives in to their demands. That’s a scenario that is relatively common to every two-parent family, but there are times when it can become something a little more.


kid growing up

Photo by Zabethanne

Children go through many different stages of development, with none really being any more important than the next. The adults they will become are shaped in each and every one of those stages, making each critical in their development. What may come as a surprise to many people reading this is that sexual development begins between the ages of 3 and 5. It is here that the child begins to really identify with the mother and father, with problems occurring when they favor one more strongly over the other.


What can happen during this particular stage of development is that a child can become overly obsessed with one of the parents, most usually the one of the opposite sex. This can lead to a level of jealousy that can lead to major psychological complexes. What happens in these circumstances is that the child looks to possess the parent they desire, developing an inordinate level of distrust, jealousy, and even hatred towards the other parent. In boys, this is referred to as the Oedipus complex, with the child on some level fearing castration. He believes that the mother has been castrated by the father for having those jealous, possessive feelings, which is what leads to that distrust. It is only the formation of a father/son bond that will take care of the complex, which is generally always the case.


Girls develop what is known as the Electra complex, with their feelings of distrust aimed at the mother. This is often referred to as penis envy, because without a phallus, the girl feels unable to physically control her mother. With that, she turns all of her attention and desire to the male authority figure in the family, which in turn leads to those negative feelings towards the mother. Just as in the Oedipus complex, the way in which negativity is avoided comes from a daughter developing a very strong familial bond with her mother.

mother complex

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This is all really something that most parents simply don’t know much about, and for good reason. We all assume that the psychosexual development of children comes much later in life, which is why we all tend to think of females as just being “daddy’s girls,” while males are all “mama’s boy.” As you can see, there is a reason why those labels have been developed over the years, with the good news being that most children quickly learn to build a strong relationship with mom and dad, assuming of course that both are actively involved in the development of the child.



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Morgan is the founder and editor of REALITYPLEX. After suffering from a life-threatening accident, he realized that the way we perceive things around us is based on our beliefs, emotions and experiences. In an effort to draw the line between perception and reality, he launched REALITYPLEX in 2011. Get to know him better and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and G+