Terri Apter

in Childhood Studies

ISBN: 9780199791231
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:


“Mother” is a female parent. The term has powerful associations, and its meanings extend far beyond this specific designation. Normally, it encompasses the biological relationship of giving birth, but it is also associated with the activities of caring for a child (sometimes called “mothering”), and therefore “mother” can refer to a woman who undertakes care of a child, whether or not she is the biological mother. There is no other topic in which social norms and ideals are so powerfully interconnected, and discussions of these form an essential part of the subject. The topic “mothers” cannot be considered without looking at social norms of “good mother,” the quality of the care she provides, and the impact on a child’s well-being. These, in turn, are shaped by psychological theories about a child’s need for a mother, and theories are shaped sometimes by research, sometimes by social, economic, and political forces. The breadth of this topic, the ever-changing meanings of “mother,” and the passion of the continuing discourses about “mother” make it impossible to compile a bibliography solely with textbooks and reference works.

Article.  10313 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies

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