In psychology, what does the term "good-enough mother" refer to?
Donald Winnicot was an English psychoanalyst and pediatrician who did many things in his life; however, one of the most significant was his work with children. He did most of his life's work with children's hospitals as well as children who were evacuated during and After World War II. His lifetime of work includes books on children, on mothers, on parenting, and other related topics.
He was a staunch proponent of children having the opportunity to play. By this he did not just mean time to play with toys but time to imagine and create and dream. A normal, healthy child would naturally do these things when given the chance, his research documented, and he believed that all children are capable of rediscovering this sense of play even if they had been denied this opportunity during the first few years of their lives.
Connected to the idea of play was his belief in a "transitional object," something that is both real and which can also stimulate the imagination. For example, a teddy bear is both real (tangible, able to be touched) and can be used in imaginative play. Blankets and other objects often suit this need, as well.
An area of pediatrics which Winnicot studied extensively was the relationship between mothers and their children. One of the common theories about mothers was that that they are the first people that all children fall in love with, and this idealized love can become a problem because it tends to be more like a fantasy (unreal) relationship rather than an actual relationship. Children expect...
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