Mama's Boys: Wimpy or Enlightened?

Family Matters on 03.05.12
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Photo: Alia Hoyt's 3 Mama's Boys

Sensitivity is a virtue...in women. At least, that's how many people see it. I, for one, appreciate a guy who's in touch with his emotions, as I'm sure many of you do. Unfortunately, many other people out there haven't quite caught up to this type of thinking. Plenty of societies consider sensitive men to be weak, even though the changing view of women often prizes strength, which was not always the case. Often, the blame is laid squarely on the shoulders of mothers, accused of coddling little guys and turning them into Mama's boys.

A new book, "The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger" shines a giant spotlight on the hypocrisy of the long held belief that mothers should push away their sons as they grow, and that those who fail to do so run a serious risk of raising wimpy, overly emotional men. In it, author Kate Stone Lombardi (herself a mother of a strong, independent, Mama's boy) details the scientific studies that seek to squash this type of antiquated thinking. Among the many findings Lombardi discusses, studies have shown that boys with a strong maternal bond experience the following, among others:

1. Academic success, thanks to mothers who've nurtured self-control.

2. Successful marriages. They learn from an early age how to communicate clearly. What wife doesn't appreciate that?

3. Better health. So-called "Mama's boys" tend to be more emotionally secure and better able to handle stress.

As the mother of three little dudes, I make every effort to ensure that our relationships are balanced, fun and emotionally open. Although I want them to grow up to be independent human beings, I also want them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love them unconditionally and that they can talk to me about absolutely anything. Part of that is telling them these things repeatedly, while also demonstrating it with hugs, kisses and the continued provision of a safe, loving environment. In today's society, where children repeatedly 'go missing' or are neglected at the hands of their own parents, I just can't see how this type of relationship is negative.

So what do you think about the mother/son relationship? Should it be warm and fuzzy, or in line with the more traditional view?

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