There are many different psychological theories derived from the observation of the father's role, and this is a comparison of a few of the most popular.
In 2002, Fonagy and Target wrote in-depth about the role of the father in their own work entitled, The Role of the Father and Child Development. Of course the pair used other psychologists findings as a basis for their report, and these allusions only strengthen the points they try to make about the large role that the father plays in the development of a child. The following six categories are the different, significant sections of the father's role, presented by the writer(s).
The first category is, "the father as an attachment figure."1 This part of psychological theory can be explained on face value, but basically means that it is important that the child feels an integral part of the father's life, and that the child also feels, in turn, that the father is an integral part of the child's life.
The second category, "the internalized "good and bad" father,"2 is a very interesting take on the array of feelings that children feel for their fathers from the start of their existence. This category tries to recognize and categorize the different feelings that children will feel. The psychologists realize that a child may consider the father "bad", even when the father is usually only looking out for the best interest of the child. An example would be the child doing something that is potentially dangerous and the father's abrupt halting of the act and the following reprimands to ensure that the child does not perform the potentially harmful act again.
The third category of the article is "the father of the first separation-individuation period."3 This category marks the first time surrounding the father's absence, and what the child thinks or feels during this time is very important to the child's development. The child may feel left behind, and an amplification of this early on in life could cause either a tendency to cling to others excessively, or a neglect of feelings when someone close to them leaves.
The fourth category is, " the father as self object." 4 This is a very important category in the role of a father, because it is due to the way that someone perceives their father that determines how they will act to their children. Certain actions performed by the father during the early stages of his child's growth will okay those actions in the minds of his children for the future.
The fifth category is the, "Freudian notion of the pre-Oedipal and Oedipal father."5 This is another important category that is highly believed my most psychologists to influence the development of children.
Freud's Oedipus complex makes the assumption that, when developing, young boys will want to be in love with their mother, and kill their father. The more modern and believable translation of the theory is that the boy favors the mother as the first real object of the opposite sex, while he is jealous of the father, whom the mother is actually affectionate with. The reverse of this theory is the Elektra complex, where the girl is the subject, and the father is the object of affection. Most psychologists will agree that the Oedipal relationship between the father, mother, and child is very influential in childhood development because different things happen in all families, and having an untraditional or drastically different upbringing could cause the natural process of the Oedipal relat