mothers & sons

Kate Lombardi StoneAs parents with sons, who among us does not want for our boys to grow into young men with close, strong friendships, capable of academic focus, self control, and compassion?

And yet so much about our culture pushes boys away from their parents, particularly their mamas, earlier and with greater force and expectation than their sisters. To “be a man” has often been synonymous with being stoic, independent, unemotional, and self-reliant.

No surprise that it is the involved mother who is often the villain of the story, as mothers who keep their boys close are often met with concern in our society, driven by outdated Freudian baggage of the Oedipal complex and ridiculous theories about causes of homosexuality. This cultural pressure for mothers to separate from their boys is what journalist Kate Stone Lombardi took on and what she presents in her new book, The Mama’s Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger.  Something that stood out for us was data she shared from Carlos Santos, a professor at Arizona State University, who followed 426 middle-school boys to determine to what extent they bought into traditional masculine roles.  The data showed that boys that were close to their mothers:

1. had a more flexibly definition of masculinity

2. remained more open emotionally

3. had better academic performance and self-control

4. suffered less anxiety and depression

…more from the conference in the weeks ahead,–n&t

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