The Mama's Boy Myth

The Mama's Boy Myth

Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger

Book - 2012
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A New York Times contributor offers a radical reexamination of a hot-button issue of the mother and son relationship and advocates the end of the "mama's boy" taboo.

New York Times contributor Kate Stone Lombardi unveils the surprisingly close relationship between mothers and sons. Mother after mother confessed to Lombardi that her husband, brothers, and even female friends and family criticize the fact that she is "too close" to her sons. Many of these women are often startled by the strong connection they feel with their sons; but rarely do they talk about it because society tells them to push their little boys away and not "baby" them with too much cuddling and comforting. It is as if there were an existing playbook-based on gender preconceptions dating back to Freud, Oedipus, and beyond-that prescribes the way mothers and their sons should interact.

Lombardi's much-needed narrative is the first and only book to share truly revealing interviews with mothers who have close relationships with their sons, as well as interviews with these women's sons and husbands. Lombardi persuasively argues that the rise of the new male-one who is more emotionally intelligent and more sensitive without being less "manly"-is directly attributable to women who are rejecting the "mama's boy" taboo. Highlighting new scientific studies, The Mama's Boy Myth begins a fresh story-one that will be welcomed by mothers, fathers, and sons alike.

Publisher: New York : Avery, c2012
ISBN: 9781583334577
Branch Call Number: 306.8743 LOM NVD
Characteristics: 324 p. ; 22 cm


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ksoles Apr 07, 2012

In her thought provoking debut, New York Times contributor Kate Stone Lombardi debunks the idea that “a well-adjusted, loving mother is one who gradually but surely pushes her son away, both emotionally and physically, in order to allow him to grow up to be a healthy man.”

Citing her experience as the mother of an adult son with whom she has an intimate bond, the author argues that many modern women reject the cultural norm that a mother should neither comfort a son once he reaches school age, nor encourage him to confide emotional problems. Lombardi also debates the assumption that traits such as sensitivity and empathy are gender-specific “female characteristics,” contrary to a healthy masculine identity. She notes that young women are encouraged to assume traditionally masculine roles but that the opposite is true for boys; they are expected to “man up” and not cry or seek comfort when distressed.

Lombardi implies that supposed innate gender differences actually reflect culturally determined differences in nurturing. She cites recent research, which indicates that boys who receive less “mothering” are more vulnerable to psychological problems and she contends that not only does mother/son bonding play a positive role in a boy's maturation, but that mothers are better able than fathers to help their sons develop better relationships with women.

"The Mama's Boy Myth" presents an insightful, timely study that contains relevant advice for parents of both sons and daughters.

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