Contrary to popular belief, raising your son to be a mama’s boy is not a bad thing. In fact, you may just be doing him a huge favor! There’s even scientific evidence to prove it. Find out why, along with the benefits that last well beyond childhood.
Raising Your Son to Be A Mama’s Boy Is A Good Thing
In our society, when someone says, “He’s such a mama’s boy,” they rarely mean it in a good way. What they’re really saying is he’s weak, spoiled, insecure, or totally dependent on his mother.
A simple search of the term brings up articles with “signs” to watch out for to avoid mama’s boys and tips on “dealing” with them if you still end up dating one. The internet has spoken. Mama’s boys are the worst.
But this is not true at all. On the contrary, boys that are cared for by and attached to their mothers develop a great sense of security. They become emotionally stronger and more independent as they grow up.
Mama’s boys are also less prone to violence and have a deeper respect for women. They’re even healthier both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, what’s true and what society believes to be true are often two totally different things.
Society thinks we should feel guilty if we have a mama’s boy. We mothers feel guilty all the time as it is! We don’t need yet another item to add to the list of “things we’re probably doing totally wrong.” In this case, though, rest assured that you have no reason at all to fret. In fact, science says you’re actually doing the right thing.
Science Says Raising Your Son to Be A Mama’s Boy Is A Good Thing
There’s actually scientific proof that the close mother-son bond is healthy and beneficial. Research done by the University of Reading shows that the mother-son relationship is key to emotional development. The researchers analyzed 69 different studies with a combined total of nearly 6,000 subjects.
They discovered that kids, especially boys, with secure attachments to their mom had fewer behavior issues overall throughout their childhoods. On the flip side, kids who didn’t have a strong bond with their mom ended up with more issues.
“More specifically, our analysis showed that children with insecure attachments to their mothers, particularly boys, had significantly more behavioural problems, even when the behavioural problems were measured years later,” researcher Dr. Fearon explains.
If you need more convincing that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with raising a mama’s boy, let’s take a look at a few other studies.
- A 2011 Society for Research in Child Development found that boys who have difficult relationships with their moms were more likely to become teen “delinquents.”
- A 2012 study dispelled the myth that mama’s boys are somehow “feminized” and lose their masculinity, which was a ridiculous myth to begin with!
- A 2010 study by the American Psychological Association found that boys that were close to their moms experienced better physical mental health overall.
Let’s look at that second study a little closer because it has some interesting results.
Mama’s Boys Are Healthier Overall
According to the 2010 APA study, boys who were close to their mothers tended to exhibit fewer of the negative stereotypes associated with “hyper-masculine” behavior. In other words, they didn’t feel the need to act like “tough guys” all of the time. That actually improves both their physical and mental health in the long run.
See, men who were raised hearing things like “be a man” or “boys don’t cry” are less likely to seek both physical and mental medical help when they really need it, according to the study. Boys who had closer relationships with their moms, on the other hand, didn’t feel the need to fit into a stereotype. They were more emotionally secure overall. In other words, they didn’t feel like their masculinity was in question if they actually asked for help when they needed it.
Mama’s boys aren’t as prone to violence
Let me be clear up front, I am in no way saying that raising your son to NOT be a mama’s boy will increase his risk of becoming a violent criminal. However, a 2018 research paper presented by the APA shows that, based on several studies, hyper-masculinity does tend to breed violent behavior.
One quote from the paper really stands out. “Masculine ideals, such as the restriction of emotional expression and the pressure to conform to expectations of dominance and aggression, may heighten the potential for boys to engage in general acts of violence including, but not limited to, bullying, assault, and/or physical and verbal aggression.”
We’ve already learned that “mama’s boys” tend to be more emotionally secure, so it’s not a leap to assume that they are less likely to engage in violent behavior.
Mama’s Boy Myths (and How to Shut Them Down)
If you’ve ever read through any of those “don’t date a mama’s boy” articles, you’ve probably come across at least a few common “reasons” that are nothing more than outdated myths. Let’s take a look at the most popular along with arguments against them.
Myth #1: He’ll never be truly independent
There’s an assumption that we’re teaching our sons that they can’t get by without us by “babying” them and doing everything for them. In fact, the opposite is true. Mama’s boys are actually more independent in the long run because they’ve learned skills not just from their fathers, but from their mothers as well.
For example, many adult men of our generation actually know how to cook and sew, things that used to be called “women’s work” by our grandparents’ generation. Mama’s boys aren’t just more independent, but they’re helping break through gender norms.
Myth #2: He’ll think his mom is always right and will never question her
What a ridiculous myth, right? People assume that we moms are somehow instilling this belief in our sons that we can do no wrong, and that they have to do everything our way. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, at least in our home.
I raise my kids- both my son and daughter- to think for themselves. Questions are encouraged, and if my kids have a better solution or come up with a different way of doing things, I’m all ears. I also encourage them to listen to other people’s ideas and to consider trying new ways to do things.
Myth #3: He’ll tell mom everything and talk to her too much
One article about dating mama’s boys claimed that mama’s boys will “spend more time texting his mom than you.” First, if my son’s future girlfriends ever feel like he’s not texting them enough, I hope that they’d be confident enough to discuss it with him rather than just arbitrability blaming me. We all want our kids to be with people who challenge them and complete them.
Second, there is absolutely nothing wrong with raising a child who is comfortable talking to you about anything and everything. I want my kids to feel like there are no off-limit topics. That way, if they’re ever in trouble, they’ll know that I’m here for them.
Do I expect my son to tell me everything when he’s all grown up and out on his own? Of course not! I just want him to know that he has that option.
Myth #4 Mama’s boy lack “drive”
Another one that drives me nuts is the assumption that raising a mama’s boy means handing everything to your son on a silver platter. There’s a HUGE difference between a mama’s boy and a “spoiled” child. I’ve known plenty of women who were handed everything they wanted by their parents, too, so it’s not just “mama’s boys.”
I don’t spoil my children. I raise both my son and daughter to know the value of hard work. That way, when they succeed, they’ll know it’s because of their efforts and not mine. I support, encourage, and cheer them on, but I don’t step in and hand them their victories.
Myth #5: Mama’s boys are “weak”
Out of all of the myths about mama’s boys, this one bothers me the most because it equates being a compassionate human being who generally cares about others and who isn’t afraid to show emotion with “weakness” or “sissiness.” In fact, the opposite is true, in my opinion.
It takes a very strong man to throw off generations of conditioning and feel comfortable expressing himself. That so-called “weakness” should be something that every parent strives to instill in all of their children. We don’t want to raise kids who are so scared of crying that they bottle everything up until they implode.
We want both our sons and daughters to feel like they can be themselves and share their feelings.
Raising a Mama’s Boy is Totally Okay!
Mothers of both sons and daughters should worry less about getting caught up in “perception” and what other people think. Boys and girls have equal needs and have equal feelings. Why are we still even talking about how we’re “supposed” to raise boys?
I am raising my son to be a “mama’s boy”, and I am very proud of it. I want to make sure he knows it is okay to cry, have feelings, and show his emotional side.
Attachment gives children a sense of security. It makes them feel protected and accepted unconditionally. The bond made by mothers and their children has very unique characteristics and is extremely important for all human beings.
So, are you raising your son to be a mama’s boy?
If you suspect your son is a mama’s boy, be thankful. He will most likely grow up happier, healthier, and more emotionally secure. Being a mama’s boy is a good thing!
Mothers have a very unique connection with their kids. Want to learn more about it? Check out my The Reason Why Children Are 800% Worse When Their Mothers Are Around.