The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger

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Overview

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 ...

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The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
In this provocative debut, New York Times contributor Lombardi challenges the cultural message 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." Drawing on her experience as the mother of an adult son with whom she still maintains an intimate bond, and that of her wide circle of friends and acquaintances, the author suggests that many modern women reject the prevailing wisdom that mothers must distance their sons. They do not agree with the cultural norm that a mother should neither comfort a son once he reaches school age, nor encourage him to confide emotional problems. Lombardi deconstructs the implicit assumption that traits such as sensitivity and empathy are gender-specific "female characteristics," at odds with a healthy masculine identity. She points to the dichotomy between the way daughters and sons are treated now that young women are encouraged to assume traditionally masculine roles. The opposite is true for boys. From the cradle on, they are expected to "man up" and not cry or seek comfort when they are distressed. Lombardi suggests that supposed innate gender differences reflect culturally determined differences in nurturing as opposed to a significant divergence between male and female brains. She cites a number of recent studies, which indicate that boys who receive less "mothering" are more vulnerable to psychological problems. 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, and the communications skills necessary for success in the modern work world. This is especially so in situations where bosses are frequently women. An insightful, timely study, especially now as feminist gains are under attack.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583335093
  • Publisher: Avery Trade
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 940,485
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Stone Lombardi has contributed to The New York Times for the last twenty years. Her work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, Parenting, Time.com and Ladies Home Journal. She has won six Clarion Awards for journalism from Women in Communications. A graduate of Williams College with an MS in journalism from Columbia University, Lombardi is the mother of two adult children and lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband, Michael.
 

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Table of Contents

7 Dat's Hear It

23511 8 Loo

27301 Acknowledgment

28701 Notes 29101

315

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Great read. Very interesting and thought provoking. I would hi

    Great read. Very interesting and thought provoking. I would highly recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    I enjoyed this book. It offered a candid look at the difficulty

    I enjoyed this book. It offered a candid look at the difficulty that mothers face when raising sons. The statistics and research on parenting and families was compelling without being too much. The book is full of great facts (ie early psychologists blamed mothers for Schizophrenia and Autism).

    I would recommend the book to a friend (even if they were not parenting a son).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Very interesting

    A very interesting read for all mothers of sons, but also for all mothers as well as anyone interested in women's rights. Very intriguing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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