July 1978

Every Child's Birthright: In Defense of Mothering

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry University of Rochester Medical Center 300 Crittenden Blvd Rochester, NY


by Selma Fraiberg, $8.95, 122 pp, New York, Basic Books Inc, 1977.

Am J Dis Child. 1978;132(7):728-729. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1978.02120320088034

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Calling on data from biology, ethology, anthropology, psychoanalysis, and developmental psychology accumulated over the past 40 years, Selma Fraiberg makes a convincing case for the importance for the future capacity to love and value others of the bonding between mother and infant that should take place during the first two years of life. Central to her thesis is that the maternal-offspring attachment characterizing many animals has biological roots, predicated on its survival value for both the species and the young organism. Thus a biological program that insures the survival of the young also assures mutual attachment between mother and infant and constitutes a structure out of which consistent but varied social patterns of infant rearing develop.

This is not a "how-to-do-it" book for mothers. Had it been so intended, so knowledgeable an author would certainly have also discussed some of the inborn and acquired factors that may interfere with certain

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