Around the age of 3 or 4, a child may live, more or less intensely, an exclusive passion for his opposite-sex parent. ” I want to marry you! Can throw the little girl to his daddy or the little boy to his mom. His preference for the parent of the opposite sex often leads him to exclude the same-sex parent. The child then lives a normal stage of development called the Oedipus complex.
During this phase, the child also experiences contradictory feelings towards the parent of the same sex: he sees him as a rival while loving him very much. The little girl wants to be like her mother: clever, intelligent, pretty and … the lover of her father. For his part, the boy admires his father and considers him a model, but still, wants to see him disappear to better take his place in the heart of his mother.
In addition, the child feels disappointment because he would like his father or mother to respond to his advances as a lover or a lover.
The Oedipus complex represents a decisive phase in the development of a child because it helps him to construct his masculine or feminine identity.
These feelings disappear little by little when the child understands that his mother or father has already chosen his spouse. He also understands that although he is growing up very quickly, he will not be able to reach the size of his father or mother before long. He realizes that he has to give up his attempts at seduction. Hostility towards the rival parent then turns into admiration.
At age 5, the child turns to other children to adopt male or female behaviors. This is the end of his Oedipus complex.
How to react?
Here’s how you can help your child solve the conflicts associated with the Oedipus complex.
Do not laugh at his attempts at seduction and let him believe that his desires are achievable. Such an attitude would foster a confusion of roles within the family. This would encourage him to continue his attempts at seduction and prevent him from going to others. In addition, to imagine that he can marry his parent by eliminating the other could worry your child.
Encourage father-son and mother-daughter activities, as it is desirable for your child to identify with the same-sex parent.
Help him have landmarks in your family that make him understand that he is still a child. You can say, for example: “Between a parent and a child, we can not love each other like lovers. You can not and will never be my lover. Or: “I do not allow you to kiss me on the mouth, I just allow it to your dad. ”
Show yourself sensitive to your child’s gestures as he tries to assert his identity. So, do not hesitate to compliment it. This encouraging attitude will allow him to be proud of his femininity or masculinity.
Reassure him that you love him very much and that you are very proud to see him grow up. One day, he can also choose a lover or a lover.
If your child is trying to get away from your partner when you hug, explain that it is normal because you are in love.
Do not be angry at his attitudes of seduction or opposition. Even if he refuses your instructions to prefer those of your spouse, it is useless to question you. These are fantasies, childish desires.