The Impact a Mother-Child Relationship Has On Identity
As our individual lives progress we learn that the choices we make contribute to who we become. The places we go, the people we meet, and the pains we endure are some of the many things that shape us into who we are. The influence on our individuality begins at a much earlier age with the first person we meet, our mother. The negative effects of a mother-child relationship impact an individual significantly. The psychological experiences from the relationship follow the individual from adolescence into adulthood and determine how the individual perceives life.
The mother-child relationship is the only relationship one can have before entering the world. Since the sperm fertilized the egg and the human fetus began to grow, we depended on her. A mother is the first person that cares for the child, and is who the child wants when they are unhappy or uncomfortable. In the eyes of a child, a mother is a superhero that can do anything, and can make everything better. Although a big part of a mother’s job is to be responsible for the physical being of the child, she is also responsible for the psychological well-being. According to William Burke and Brett Larson who are authors of Mother and Adolescent Reports of Associations Between Child Behavior Problems and Mother-Child Relationship Qualities, a journal of abnormal child psychology wrote “….adolescent perceptions of maternal hostility and negativity are linked to aggression and conduct problems.” This statement shows that a mother’s negative actions will affect the child psychologically. Any type of reaction that comes from the mother, the child will take to heart. When the mother expresses disappointment, the child’s self-esteem is affected. In a healthy disciplinary situation the bad things pointed out by the mother should end with encouragement for the child to do better next time. However, if the disappointment is shown without any encouragement the child’s reaction may be one of resentment. The child may just feel like the mother is picking on them and won’t want to make an effort to improve their behavior. This can be the cause of a child’s defiant behavior. If a child goes to their mother with some news they think is exciting and the mother is nonchalant in return, the child will doubt their confidence. The child will not want to speak to their mother about things that are important to them. If they can’t communicate with their mother it’s going to be difficult for them to do so with others.
Focusing more on the mother-daughter relationship, there can be physical effects on the child if there is an unhealthy stress level in the household. Subjective weathering is a social psychological or perceived component of accelerated aging (Foster, Hagan, and Brooks-Gunn 2008). If the child is experiencing neglect and has to become independent at a young age the “subjective weathering” process can occur. The daughter may begin menstruation at a much earlier age than she was supposed to. The stress on her body to mature quickly will have an effect on her growing process. According to Holly Foster, John Hagan, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunne in their Journal of health and social behavior, “Puberty can be environmentally contingent as well as heritable, but psychosocial stressors can influence the timing of menarche, for example, its acceleration, and the regularity of menstrual cycles.” The growing process wouldn’t feel the need to rush if the mother was more involved with the daughter’s life and alleviated the unhealthy stressors.
Another aspect of the mother-child relationship that will affect both the son and daughter is trust. Trust begins between mother and child right when they are placed into her arms for the very first time. The child settles into her arms and entrusts their life to her. A child should be able to tell their mother anything, and the mother should want to be involved. Having a healthy relationship...
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