Monday, June 17, 2013

Repost: Is there something wrong with being a mama's boy?

I've contributed to the Orlando Sentinel's Moms at Work blog since 2010. The blog is changing content management systems and my old posts will no longer be available to the public, so I'm reposting them here, in the order that they were originally posted.

Feb. 29, 2012

What's wrong with moms and their sons having close relationships?

I don't have a son, so maybe this is a subject I don't understand, but it seems to me that children and their parents should be closely bonded, so when I hear boys disparaged as "mama's boys," it rubs me the wrong way.

A few days ago, The Wall Street Journal touched on the subject with a story about mothers and sons who get along well and are close. Those boys are none the worse for wear, according to the story:

A study of more than 400 middle school boys revealed that sons who were close to their mothers were less likely to define masculinity as being physically tough, stoic and self-reliant. They not only remained more emotionally open, forming stronger friendships, but they also were less depressed and anxious than their more macho classmates. And they were getting better grades.

Does that sound like good stuff to you? It does to me.

Still, there are millions of people throughout the country who think that too many moms raise their sons to be effeminate or somehow inadequately masculine. The not-so-subtle subtext, it seems, is that boys who are too close to their moms will "become" gay.

Yep, it's 2012 and people still think this way. After all the research we have about sexual orientation in humans and about how rigid gender roles can negatively affect both men and women. Can you believe it? It all makes my head hurt.

The bottom line is that our children will be, well, children, for what is actually a very short time. Let's just love them as much as we can in as healthy a way as we can.

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