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Opinion & Essays - Oct, 1995 Issue #36 

THE LOVE OF MOTHERS AND FATHERS
(An excerpt from the book FATHERLESS AMERICA, by David Blankenhorn; NY:Basic Books, 1995, p. 219)

"If mothers are likely to devote special attention to their children's present physical and emotional needs, fathers are likely to devote special attention to character traits necessary for the future, especially qualities such as independence, self- reliance, and the willingness to test limits and take risks. If mothers frequently set the standards for children's conduct within the home, fathers often take special interest and pride in their children's conduct outside the home. When asked to describe the satisfactions of parenthood, mothers are likely to describe the qualities of the mother-child bond. But fathers, much more frequently than mothers, link parental satisfaction directly to successful outcomes for their children in the society. Accordingly, the language of paternal sponsorship is highly conditional, filled with words such as if and when." 

"Compared to a mother's love, a father's love is frequently more expectant, more instrumental, and significantly less conditional. 

For the child, from the beginning, the mother's love is an unquestioned source of comfort and the foundation of human attachment. But the father's love is almost always a bit farther away, more distant and contingent. Compared to the mother's love, the father's must frequently be sought after, deserved, earned through achievement. My mother loves me unconditionally because I am her child. My father loves me, but he tends to make me work for it. Lucky is the child who receives both varieties of parental love." 

Copyright 1995, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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