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Mother-Child Relationship – Psychology Essay

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Updated: Mar 30th, 2020


In the article, Butler and Shalit-Nager conducted a study to establish the gender patterns as far as the relationship between the child and the mother is concerned. They aimed at ascertaining the claim that girls tend to show interpersonal concern to their mothers when compared to boys.

In the article, they adopted the previous findings claiming that boys differ from girls as regards the relationship with mothers in the sense that they are inactive when it comes to expressing and promoting their mother’s welfare (Butler, & Shalit-Naggar, 2008).


Bowen’s theory is effectively employed in discussing family relations, and it could be used in explaining the relationship between the mother and the child, irrespective of the gender. According to Bowen, the relationship between the mother and children in family interactions could be comprehended in terms of the emotional unit and system thinking is the only valid model of explaining the actions of members. Additionally, this form of interaction is complex in the sense that the parent is strongly attached psychologically to the child.

In this regard, a child might feel detached from the parent, but this is just an emotion and not a reality. Therefore, the mother has the capability of affecting the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the child to the extent that she appears as if she lives under the same emotional skin with either the daughter or the son.

The theory suggests that the mother will try as much as possible to solicit attention, endorsement, and backing from the son or the daughter while the child on the other will do everything possible to respond positively to the parent’s prospects and needs.


The scholars employed one of the most effective methods in the field of psychology referred to as the projective method, which is known to collect accurate information that plays a role in understanding the human interactions and interrelations. Through the method, the nature and the context of the mother-child relationship are easily understood since children are given the opportunity to explain their views through narration.

The researcher could simply compare the child’s narratives and the sensitive maternal concern that could establish whether the relationship is strong. The work is relevant to the field of psychology since it suggests the stories of children could be employed effectively in understanding their views towards their mothers.

Many studies hypothesize that girls are likely to be responsive and concerned with the aspirations of their mothers, but boys never care about what happens to their mothers at a tender age since they do not like them. In the study, the two researchers established that children explain the nature of the relationship existing between them and their mothers, but girls tend to express concern as opposed to boys.

The research findings do not suggest something new in the field, but they simply clarify some of the contentious issues that many psychologists are yet to find answers. The findings propose that girls are close to their mothers, mainly because they help them in fulfilling their future maternal responsibilities. On the other hand, their findings never confirmed the claim that mothers show more love for daughters than boys.

The only thing that brings daughters close to their mothers is the fact that they share similar features and responsibilities in society. The conclusions of the study have practical implications for the field of personality since counselors and other experts specializing in family therapy would employ the model successfully in resolving issues. They will be aware that mothers are never caring to girls alone, but instead, they are concerned with the welfares of their children, irrespective of gender.


Unlike the first study, the second one does not link the relationship between daughters and their mothers to the failures or successes in life. Researchers in the first study established a strong correlation between the relationship of daughters and their fathers and the outcome of future behavior. In terms of credibility, the second study could be applied across cultures meaning that the method applied is parsimonious, something that the first article lacked.

The sample used in the first study was insufficient and could not measure what it intended to do, but the second study had various subsets that validate its findings. The findings of the first article established that the father plays a critical role in the life of the daughter, but the second study never established any strong correlation.

An article by Byrd-Craven, Auer, Granger, and Massey suggested that the relationship between the father and the daughter could be understood through the application of the motivational theory as suggested by Skinner, but this study makes to embrace the Bowen’s theory that suggests the understanding of family relations through thinking.

Based on this, the first study would easily suffer from a credibility test just as any motivational theories and studies, but this article is considered strong because of using family systems theory advanced by Bowen. Without credibility, a study is likely to invite criticism leading to inaccurate judgment and conclusions.


Butler, R., & Shalit-Naggar, R. (2008). Gender and Patterns of Concerned Responsiveness in Representations of the Mother – Daughter and Mother – Son Relationship. Child Development, 79(4), 836-851.

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