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Mothers and Sons
Photo: Vasily Pindyurin
When my mom had her first baby, the doctor assured her that she was going to have a girl, so she took a cute little dress to bring her daughter home in. The only problem was, “she” turned out to be a “he.” And my dad had to go to the store to pick out a different outfit. He brought back blue pajamas. Regardless of the surprise, my mom and brother built a wonderful mother-son relationship that stood the test of time.

In her book, The Parent’s Guide to Raising Boys,1 author Cheryl L. Erwin talks about the importance of the mother-son relationship. “Boys learn their earliest lessons about love and trust from their mothers,” she writes. Some old-school thought used to recommend that a mother push her son away emotionally at the young age of two or three. This would ensure that he would find his masculinity and not become a “sissy” or a “mamma’s boy.” On the contrary, the raising of a healthy son requires that he have a close connection with his mom through adolescence. According to William Pollack, Ph.D, “Far from making boys weaker, the love of a mother can and does actually make boys stronger, emotionally and psychologically. Far from making boys dependent, the base of safety a loving mother can create—a connection that her son can rely on all his life—provides a boy with the courage to explore the outside world.”2

Hold On or Let Go

In her book, Erwin writes that a healthy mother-son relationship involves being a loving refuge, and knowing when to let go. Providing a secure and loving home base for your son will help him learn self-respect and confidence. When he reaches the age at which he wants to go exploring—even if it’s only to the back yard—it will be reassuring to him to know that Mom will be there when he gets home. She will give him a welcoming hug, listen to his stories, and bandage any wounds. Even when boys grow up and go off to college, there’s something about coming home to Mom’s cooking, Mom’s gentle touch, and Mom’s listening ear.

Letting go is a bit harder. Even at an early age you will find your son wanting to exercise his independence. A wise mom will know when to hold on and when to let go. It may be sentimental the first time your son says, “Me do it!” Maybe you won’t be ready to give up that part of caring for him, but a balanced mom will let go.

Although your role in your son’s life will change through the years, you will always be “Mom.” If the early relationship was nurtured with love, he will feel that he can still call you for advice, still share his adventures with you, and still come home for his favorite home-cooked meal. You know what they say: “A mother’s work is never done.”

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

1 Erwin, Cheryl L. , The Parent’s Guide to Raising Boys. Adams Media; 2 edition, 2006.
2 Ibid

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