What Are Some Effects of Growing up Without a Mother?

Growing up without a mother can have damaging effects on a child’s sense of security in the world. Children who do not form secure attachments with their mothers or stable, consistent caregivers can have angst, doubt and hesitance about the world around them, says Beth Azar with the American Psychological Association. Insecure attachments can negatively impact children psychologically and socially throughout tall all stages of development and into adulthood.

While growing up without a mother in the home suggests that a child may have difficulties in his psychological, emotional and social development, these difficulties don’t have to define who the child is and what he can accomplish throughout his life, and they don’t mean that the child can’t become a successful adult, despite his early experiences without a parent in the home.

Secure attachment, often established during infancy, between mother and child correlates to higher self-reliance and self-esteem in children and adolescents, says Azar. Secure attachment is also a buffer against stress and a child’s response to a change in circumstances.

Again, children who grow up without mothers in the home can also thrive despite challenging circumstances. Hope is often an essential element in the resilience of a child who has grown up without sufficient parental influences, says Mary Leigh Taylor, who started a non-profit organization for prison inmates called Getting Out by Going In. While children who grow up without mothers in the home may feel a sense of abandonment and loss due to their parent’s absence, they can still demonstrate resilience over psychological, emotional or social barriers through belief in themselves and positive encouragement from others.