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Forres, T. (1967). The Paternal Roots of Male Character Development. Psychoanal. Rev., 54B(2):81-99.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Review, 54B(2):81-99

The Paternal Roots of Male Character Development

Tess Forres, Ph.D.

Editor's Note—Through editorial oversight an original draft of Dr. Forrest's manuscript appeared in our previous issue (Vol. 54, No. 1) rather than a later revision. Because the author's changes were substantial we deem it appropriate to present the revised version in its entirety.

My thesis is that the father has a specific contribution to make to his son's development, starting at infancy. The absence of this contribution causes predictable defects in the child, for the child has particular needs the father is uniquely equipped to fulfill. A prime need is to dissolve the symbiotic bonds with mother, in order to develop a separate identity generated by his own powers. The other is a need to relate as a contributing member to the social world he inhabits. I do not suggest that the parents are restricted to mutually exclusive reactions, but rather that the sex of the parent differentiates their parental roles. I propose to discuss two major points: the role of the father in the character formation of the male child, and the effect of the presence or absence of the father's early influence on his son's development.

Freud5 describes the father's role as initially significant in the phallic stage, when the boy's love for his mother and desire to have her for himself provokes hatred of father for his intrusive claims on mother and fear of his retaliative wrath.

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