It is essential to understand that children can not only be afflicted with physical trials, but they could also be battling a mental issue without any of their close ones knowing about it. 

Since today’s article is centred on a psychological issue faced by young children, parents must be updated and aware of it, for their child could be a victim without them realising it.  

Oedipus complex, also going by the oedipal complex, is a terminology used during the psychosexual stages of the development theory given by Sigmund Freud.


This concept was introduced by Sigmund Freud in 1899 but wasn’t in action until 1910. As for this article, we will discuss the theory given by Sigmund Freud, the signs of these complex causes and what can be done by parents as a couple and individually to help their child overcome this psychological issue. 

Without any further delay, let’s discuss how, as a couple, you can look on the positive side and intend to help out your child suffering from this condition. 


Before jumping into the causes and symptoms of an Oedipus complex in any child, one must first understand the core concept. 

Sigmund Freud was the one to coin the term; Oedipus complex. According to his theory, it refers to the male child’s attraction to their parent of the opposite sex. Therefore, in addition to the interest in the opposite sex (i.e. the mother), the child feels extreme jealousy of the same sex (i.e. the father). 

Children view their parents as a rival and feel the need to fight against them. Specifically speaking, the male child needs to compete with his father to gain more attention, love and time from his mother.

Freud drove the Oedipal name complex from the ancient Greek myth of Oedipus. In history, Oedipus’ story follows that he was the king of Athens, cursed by the gods for his grave sin. His sin was that he killed his father and married his mother.  

It is obvious how Sigmund Freud made the connection and termed this condition found in young males and children as Oedipus Complex. 

He used the name to explain a child’s desire for envy, jealousy, hate, anger, and resentment felt for the same-sex parent. However, one should know that there is little to no evidence that the Oedipus complex is authentic or exists in children. Therefore, it is not a real psychological issue as of now. 

Stages of Oedipus Complex 

According to Freud, certain stages of psychosexual development happen that should be detected. Such of these stages include;

Oral: This is the stage that occurs around the time of infancy and 18 months. This stage includes the fixation on the mouth. It also involves the pleasure of licking, sucking, biting, and chewing. 

Anal: This stage occurs between 18 months and three years of age. This stage focuses on the pleasure of bowel elimination and developing healthy toilet training habits.

Latency: This stage occurs between the ages of 5 and 12 or when puberty hits. The child develops normal, dormant feelings for the opposite sex. 

There are two more ages named; Phallic and Genital. Freud claimed that the first five years of a child are crucial for forming our adult personalities. 

What Causes Oedipus Complex?

As far as the causes of this condition are concerned, there aren’t many fixed reasons that may describe why such a psychological condition may happen. 

Freud believed that an Oedipus Complex could happen during the phallic stage of development. He said that during the years of the tender ages of 3 and 5, children tend to develop their sexual identities.

He believed that upon completing this stage, children could identify their true sexual identities alongside their same parent and develop a mature, average sexual identity. 

What Are The Symptoms Of The Oedipus Complex?

The symptoms and signs of an Oedipus Complex aren’t as sexy or over-sexual as this theory might state or make it seem. 

On the contrary, this complex’s indications are pretty subtle and calm. In addition, such symptoms may not even make a parent think twice. 

Therefore, to discover the fact that your child may have this complex, it is essential to look out for the following signs; 

  • A young boy is possessive of his mother and tells his father not to touch her. 
  • A girl announces that she wants to marry her father when she grows up. 
  • A child who pesters to sleep between the parents at night or while taking a nap. 

Such indications may not be direct and substantial, but a couple should look for and understand the signs as parents. 

Oedipus vs. Electra Complex 

While Oedipus Complex happens mainly among young boys, Carl Jung came up with Electra Complex, a condition found in young girls only. 

This psychoanalytical term refers to the adoration of a daughter for her father and her resentment for her mother. In addition, there’s a term defined as “penis envy”, an element of the complex. This is where a daughter blames her mother for depriving her of a penis. 

This complex, named after the Greek myth of Electra, resembles the story of Oedipus. The story follows that Electra persuades her brother to avenge their father’s murder by helping her kill their mother and her lover.

Treatment/Resolution of the Oedipus Complex 

Regarding the treatment and resolution, Freud claims that the child should be able to overcome each of the sexual stages to develop healthy sexual behaviour. 

An unhealthy fixation will persist if the Oedipus Complex doesn’t resolve in the phallic stage. This eventually leads the boys to be stuck on their moms and daughters to be stuck on their fathers. 

Psychoanalysis is also a therapy used to help children resolve conflicts from a young age. In other cases, one could have inspiring father-son activities that may help suppress ill feelings.  


The Oedipus Complex is one of the most discussed and heavily criticised issues in the whole of Psychology. 

Therefore, the chain of views and discussions will most likely continue for experts and researchers. However, if you happen to notice that your child is displaying signs of Oedipus Complex, then it would be better to consult a medical professional and seek proper help. 

As parents, you must stay updated on psychological problems such as Oedipus Complex, as mental problems are often ignored and are paid less heed.