Trigger warning ! Some folks on my TL might not like this post.
It is a usual complaint from fathers that the kids are more attached to their mothers, not just as kids, but also when they grow older.
Of course, kids must have some reason for that. And I read something recently which might explain.
There is a term in psychology called ‘attachment’ and which leads to lasting psychological connectedness between two individuals- be it mother-child or between any two individuals. Attachment is not synonymous with love. Love is short lived, attachment is what keeps any relationship going.
Basing on mother-child attachment it was presumed earlier that since mother is the source of nourishment (milk) the child will naturally be attached to her- whether in humans or in animals. And attachment is related to survival through food.
However, an experiment has busted this myth.
In an experiment by Harry Harlow, newborn rhesus monkeys were separated from their birth mothers and reared by surrogate mothers. The infant monkeys were placed in cages with two wire-monkey mothers. One of the wire monkeys held a bottle from which the infant monkey could obtain nourishment, while the other wire monkey was covered with a soft terry cloth.
While the infant monkeys would go to the wire mother to obtain food, they spent most of their days with the soft cloth mother. When frightened, the baby monkeys would turn to their cloth-covered mother for comfort and security.
Conclusion: Harlow’s experiment demonstrated that early attachments were the result of receiving comfort and care from a caregiver rather than simply the result of being fed.
Hence, its nurturance and responsiveness that are the primary determinants of attachment.
Many men who are very responsive and sensitive fathers, beyond being breadwinners, also see their children deeply attached to them. Menfolk, raised with the notion that, “boys don’t cry or show emotions” is an important reason why they fail to get their children attached to them.
And perhaps it extends to their relationships with their spouses too. Unexpressive, unresponsive men fail to create bonds with their partners, and perhaps the reason behind loveless marriages as middle aged couples, as we recently read a lot about, after Bill Gates claim of a ‘loveless’ marriage with Melinda Gates. Love bids farewell in max. 2 years post romance/marriage, it is the attachment that keeps the marriage/relationship going. Hence when there is absence of emotional response to the spouse, marriage appears loveless, which actually is due to lack of attachment.
For those interested, worth a read is a book called, “Attached” which talks about 4 different kinds of attachments people have as adults, from based on how they were raised and how their emotional needs were met as infants and toddlers.
Happy reading !