The Mother as Primary Caregiver

  • Created by: chlopayne
  • Created on: 16-04-19 16:59

The Mother as Primary Caregiver


  • For mother as PCG
  • Feeding: NHS recommends breastfeeding for the first 6 months. Builds a physical and emotional bond to the mother.
  • Same sex parenting: Lower chance of emotional neglect, S.S parents choose to become parents.
  • Deprivation damage: Bowlby's research show that early + prolonged separation can have lasting effects. More likely to become a thief. Developed 'maternal deprivation hypothesis'. Bowlby proposed attachment to one caregiver is important to survival.
  • Mothers not father: Most men aren't psychologically equipped for this intense emotional relationship (biologically and socially). Female oestrogen = caring behaviour.
  • Freuds view: Mother-infant relationship is important in the oral stage - dependent on mother to satisfy libido. Separation anxiety - realising bodily needs would go unsatisfied.


  • Against mother as PCG
  • Feeding: Children are classically conditioned to associate mothers with pleasure, could condition to associate fathers with feeding.
  • Same sex parenting: Children are more open to being bullied for being different. Also, a child has a right to a mother and father.
  • Deprivation damage: Bowlby's research showed some separated children show no negative effects. 'A child should experience a warm, intimate relationship with its mother' but it's not exclusive to a childs mother.
  • Mothers not fathers: Men are capable of close attachments with children. Stereotypes have changed. Men can adjust to the role of primary caregiver - studies by Field 1978 and Grossman 2002.
  • Freuds view: At the time of his writing, women didn't have to the right to vote so his views are a reflection of the time. Social norms and values have changed.



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