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Are Young Children Attracted to Their Parent of Opposite Gender?

29 November, 2021
Q Is it true that young children are attracted to their parent of the opposite gender? So, boys to their mother and girls to their father?

Or if not attraction, then how does the child's relationship to the parent of the opposite gender influences the child's life later on?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

Secure and healthy relationships lead children to go on and be more likely to have secure and healthy relationships in adulthood.

One of the main significances of these relationships specifically is that it provides the child with the first idea of how they should be treated by their spouse.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

This is a very well-known theory in the field of psychology. It is also a very controversial one amongst Muslims and non-Muslims alike and certainly would seem like an absurd theory to those who haven’t studied it, which is the majority of people.

However, whilst it makes little sense, especially in the Islamic context, looking more broadly at parental relationships with their children, we have a lot to consider in terms of how these relationships affect the lives of children growing up.

It is well known that relationships with children generally can have a profound effect on a child’s development, particularly their social development.

Are Young Children Attracted to Their Parent of Opposite Gender? - About Islam

Secure and healthy relationships lead children to go on and be more likely to have secure and healthy relationships in adulthood.

However, those with dysfunctional relationships with their parents don’t fare so well in adulthood relationships. This goes for relationships with the parent of either the same gender and those of the opposite gender.

In your question, since you are focusing specifically on relationships with the opposite gender, we will focus on this. That is, the father with the daughter and the son with his mother.

Son/Mother and Daughter/Father Relationships

One of the main significances of these relationships specifically is that it provides the child with the first idea of how they should be treated by their spouse.

A father, as the first male role model in a girl’s life, will look up to him as the ideal figure for a spouse.

If a father shows his daughter’s love whilst nurturing and protecting her, when she is ready to get a husband and leave home, she will expect her new husband to fulfill these roles also.

On the other hand, if she has an absent father who doesn’t show her these things, then she may not expect these from her husband. It could even encourage her to look for the type of affection that one would expect from a father figure elsewhere and potentially lead to haram relationships before marriage. 

This could have negative consequences for her future marital relations. However, that’s not to say that she could not have a successful marriage because she still could.

Mothers can also help to fulfil these roles too.

Long-Term Effects

The same goes for the effect of the mother of the son in terms of being an example of providing a role model for what one might expect in a wife.

This teaches us as parents why it is important to foster good relationships with our children; they have a long-lasting effects on their future relationships, especially those that will stay with them long term, such as marriage.

May Allah guide us all to be good role models to our children for the sake of their own wellbeing and future relationships.

Amen,


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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