Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To turn on (or off) thumbnails in the list of videos….

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To visualize a snapshot of a Video in PEP Web, simply turn on the Preview feature located above the results list of the Videos Section.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Wisdom, J.O. (1976). The Role of the Father in the Mind of Parents, in Psychoanalytic Theory and in the Life of the Infant. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 3:231-239.

(1976). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 3:231-239

The Role of the Father in the Mind of Parents, in Psychoanalytic Theory and in the Life of the Infant

J. O. Wisdom

Here I am concerned about fatherhood and not about paternity. Of course there is sometimes, even nowadays with A.I.D., a connexion between the two; but I shall have nothing to say about paternity in the sense of procreation; I am concerned only with the social role of fatherhood.


In the minds of parents

How do parents view the role of the father? It is commonplace that in babyhood and for a few years it is only the mother that matters and the father is almost of no account. This is something that we have had reiterated by various wise observers and people of considerable authority, and I think analysts and analytic writers generally have largely concurred. As a friend of mine in Holland has put it, the father has all the fun, he can throw the baby up and catch it—it is only the mother that does the disagreeable things to the baby. I have never quite discovered why the disagreeable things that a mother does do to a baby should seem so numerous, but it is taken for granted (so far as I know them) in a variety of western European countries. Again when the baby is upset, it is the maternal instinct that counts, the mother knows what to do, the father is a bit at a loss and he takes the part just of an auxiliary. What he does, he does not do so well, perhaps not even so well as a nanny. And then for some years infants call all men Daddy, and so only the mother is individualized. All this is well known and completely universally accepted and I do not think I need paint the picture any further.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.