My Father Before Me: How Fathers and Sons Influence Each Other Throughout Their Lives

Michael J. Diamond, Author . Norton $24.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-393-06060-7

Unlike women, says Diamond, to whom mothering ability is natural, men must learn how to be fathers. And as the noted psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott gave us the notion of the "good enough mother," clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Diamond proposes the "good enough father," a man who cultivates his own emotional life and becomes fully engaged in his children's inner lives to enhance their growth. While fathers certainly influence their daughters, he continues, the bond between fathers and sons is "particularly intricate and complex." Diamond delineates the stages of a father's development, beginning during the wife's pregnancy (the author focuses on traditional families, but says his framework applies to nontraditional families as well). He traces the father-son relationship from the protective "guardian" phase of the son's infancy through successive stages of letting go as a father allows his son to separate and mature, guides the boy into manhood and, finally, parent and child move closer together again as a father ages and the reality of death must be accepted. Drawing on his own practice and on psychoanalytic theory, Diamond gives a good foundation for beginning to understand the intricacies of the father-son bond. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 02/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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