The mother is the mirror - and watch what happens. It's a cybernetic feedback loop.
There are, as I have pointed out before, three concepts I keep in mind: model, mirror, mentor. The first ones are our parents.
Your parents - and most especially your mother - are your first mirrors. Those who study the development of babies right from the beginning babies pick up the emotional state of their mothers, and if something goes terribly wrong in the first few months if can affect the kid for the rest of its life.
The father, of course, is a mirror, too, and when the kid gets a little older, is more important then the mother.
I have for several years followed Object Relations Theory - "how experience affects unconscious predictions of others' social behaviors, with repeated experiences of the caretaking environment forming internalized images, which usually depict one's mother, father, or primary caregiver, and later experiences only somewhat reshaping these early images."
In simpler terms, we carry images (really more emotional than anything else) of our early "caretakers." They're inside us and very hard to change. Some people have to undergo years of therapy to make those "images" change.
Then we have models, i.e. that which we model ourselves after. We imitate them. Think...Miley Cyrus.
Then there are mentors, who are people who teach us things. They pass on their knowledge to the younger.
When the parents don't have a marriage worth imitating (actually emulating), how are kids going to earn what a good marriage is supposed to be? What if the parents aren't mentors? What if they aren't good models?
I once had a young man about 21 tell me, "How in the world am I supposed to know what a good marriage is like after being raised with my parents?"
I know a man whose memories of his parents are finding police cars in front of his house for domestic disputes, of pointing a rifle at his father...you get the picture. He used to pray for his parents to die because of the anxiety and tenseness he always suffered.
He once told me, "I wanted kids but I never wanted to get married." He has no idea of what a good marriage is supposed to be like.
He end up with a kid, now 21, who also has no idea of what a good relationship is supposed to be like. These problems travel from one generation to the next.
The idea of single mothers raising children by themselves is very disturbing. The evidence is overwhelming there is nothing good whatsoever about it.
The kid's first mirror is his mother - but then he ends up with no father as a mirror. Then there is no father as a model. And mentor? Forget it.
The boy ends up with no internal images of men - just women. And that causes what everyone calls, "issues."
Probably the first researcher to study attachment among babies is John Bowlby. It is, not surprisingly, called Attachment Theory. And what he found, several decades ago? "...an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. Attachment theory explains how much the parents' relationship with the child influences development." He was the one who promoted the idea of a "secure base" for the child - the kids go exploring and then comes back to base.
So if a child doesn't have both parents it can't internalize both of them and therefore can't develop property. To me that just seems common sense.
In the past single mothers weren't allowed to keep their kids. There was a good reason why, even though people may not have been able to articulate them.
Considering the catastrophes single mothers are, I'm come to the conclusion they shouldn't be allowed to keep their children. They'd be better off being given to parents who want them, and if not that, bring back orphanages.
Because if we don't, we are going to end up with a bunch of screwed-up, clueless young men wandering around looking for the models, mentors and mirrors they never had when younger.