Relationship With Parents According to Sigmund Freud

One way frustration levels in children could be reduced would be to slacken the particularly strict health and safety rules in primary schools. Boisterous play is a natural way for children to play. It would be wise for schools to permit this type of rough play, however in controlled conditions in an environment where the children would feel safe, with a supervisor, for example. That way the children can learn the rules of engagement with guidance and this reinforcement will help the child in analysing situations and should aid self-control development.

The third assumption is that boys develop a special bond with their fathers during childhood, “There is something special about rough-house play with dads “. Freud believed that during the phallic stage, the boy would develop an intense sexual attraction towards his mother and because of this, he sees his father as the rival and wishes to get rid of him. The boy however, realises the physical difficulties of doing this and therefore attempts to identify with the aggressor and imitates his father’s behaviour.

This could explain why children who play fight with their fathers tend to be more controlled and less aggressive, as they are imitating their father’s manner of control. Freud suggests that young boys aged from 3-6, develop an increasingly passionate love for their mothers, and as a result of this they come into conflict and rivalry with their fathers. This is known as the phallic stage of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. This love for the young boy’s mother becomes so intense that the boy does not wish to share her with anyone.

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However, he is fearful of the father as the father is much bigger than him and eventually comes to fear that the father will castrate him. To resolve this dilemma, according to Freud, the boy represses this desire for his mother and identifies with his father. He comes to feel, think and act as if he were his father. This way at least he retains his male organ and can have the mother vicariously, since becoming like his father, he can indirectly have what his father has.

Therefore the “something special” between father and son is created by a repressed longing for the mother on the boy’s part, according to Freud. It would be useful for parents to understand the issues that arise during child development, such as a boy’s anxiety in the phallic stage of the Oedipus complex where he loves his mother but tries to avoid castration by adopting behavioural similarities with his father. If parents understand these issues, they can try to resolve them. One way to resolve an issue such as the one given previously would be for both parents to spend ‘quality’ one on one time with the child.


  3. Richard Gross (1996): PSYCHOLOGY The Science of Mind and Behaviour
  4. Fiona Lintern, Merv Stapleton and Lynne Williams (2004): STUDY GUIDE for OCR Psychology: A2-Level
  7. George Butterworth and Margaret Harris (1994): Principles of Developmental Psychology

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Relationship With Parents According to Sigmund Freud. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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