The mother-son relationship gets an in-depth look

Nurturing your boy doesn't mean he'll turn into a sissy, author Kate Stone Lombardi argues.

With so much attention given to the special bonds between mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, and fathers and sons, where does that leave mothers and sons? Kate Stone Lombardi, author of “The Mama’s Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger,” sought to find out.

“It’s almost been like the elephant in the room,” she says. “For some reason no one has looked at the mother-son subject. The world has changed so dramatically and yet we’re still sort of stuck in this time bubble when it comes to moms and sons, this idea that them being close is somehow dangerous or wrong. We are long overdue to take a look at this relationship.”

The author says that society has been quick to reject the idea of a close bond between mother and son because the son can be perceived as weak and the mother overbearing. And while she’s not asking moms to raise boys who require a maternal nudge at every turn, she does hope to inspire them to take a more active role in their sons’ lives. We wanted to learn more.

How did the idea of the mama’s boy start?
I think it goes back to the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus complex is a theory that Freud wrote in 1899 — basically, it’s the unconscious desire for a little boy to sleep with his mom. Freud was really writing about the unconscious, and I think we misinterpreted what he was saying. We turned it into the idea that normal, healthy mother-son affection and closeness is somehow wrong and dangerous. And that is just not true — being close to his mother benefits a boy, both when he is young and throughout his life.

Why are daddies’ girls more revered in our society than mamas’ boys?
I think there’s really a double standard. I think dads have a lot more freedom when it comes to their daughters. A dad [who] coaches his girl in lacrosse or even teaches her a “masculine” skill like working on a car engine is still a cool dad. For some reason it’s not at all the same with moms. If a mom tries to influence her son, people start worrying that she’s gonna feminize her boy. But no one worries that the dad is gonna turn his little girl into a boy by teaching her sports. One professor at Bates College studied parents of preschoolers. The parents were totally fine if the little girls [wore] sports jerseys and played with trucks and blocks, but the same did not extend for little boys. They were OK if little boys played in the kitchen a bit, but that’s it. There is a double standard.

How does society benefit from a boy who’s close to his mom?
Moms who are close to their boys really teach them emotional intelligence. They teach them how to put their words into feelings. That is gonna serve a boy all through his life. One study showed [that with] guys who had a stronger connection to their moms, their wives and partners rated them as much better communicators. Men who really like and respect their mothers like and respect other women. Research has shown that boys who are forced to separate prematurely from their moms — I’m talking about little guys whose moms stop cuddling them because they think they need to toughen up — go on to have a hard time with women. And the reason is they’ve learned that the first woman that they’ve ever loved has pushed them away. Guys who have good, secure attachments with their moms go on to have good relationships.

What does your own son — an adult — think about you writing this book?
I think he has mixed feelings. He’s read it, of course, and there’s some personal anecdotes about my son in the book. But that said, he’s not at all ashamed of our relationship — he’s pretty proud of it.


'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…


British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…


Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.


Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.


‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…


TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…


Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version


Eagles will spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, play four…

The Eagles have an impressive, challenging and exciting schedule in 2014.


NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule.


All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.


Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.


What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.


Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.


Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."