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Warrior or Wimp: How Not to Raise a Mama’s Boy

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I was on the verge of raising a mama’s boy. Several years ago I had to get tough with one of my teenage sons. It happened after he forgot, for the third time, an important meeting he had to attend. He called me at the last minute to ask for a ride. I kept my cool and firmly told him that he would have to walk—the entire 6.9 miles. And he did.

Mamas love their boys (and vice versa), but none of us wants to raise a mama’s boy. Even knowing that, it’s still hard not to coddle or rush to the rescue of our sons. Need some resolve to raise a warrior instead of a wimp? Here are 3 great tips to avoid raising a mama’s boy.

Warriors are not couch potatoes.

Boys are wired for adventure. Tell a young boy not to play war games and he will still figure out how to fashion a weapon from a stick on the ground or a celery stalk in his lunch box. One day I pulled up in front of my house to find my son (16 years old at the time) rolling down our steep 100-foot driveway on an old office chair he had discovered in the garage. As if that wasn’t enough to cause me to grab my heart, at the bottom of the driveway was a skateboard ramp with a pile of cardboard boxes on the other side, no doubt to cushion the blow. His friends were cheering him on as he flew past them at rocket speed.

I do not let up on obvious safety precautions like wearing helmets when riding their bikes or buckling up when they get in the car. My goal is to encourage moms to evaluate whether they go overboard in their attempts to protect their boys from doing things that are ingrained deep within their souls.

Warriors are not coddled.

If there was ever a lesson I have had to learn the hard way, it is that boys resist coddling moms. It is a mother’s nature to rush to her son’s side when he falls down, and in the early years, her son expects and desires that she will be there. His expectation and desire usually will change over the years, but a mom’s nature will tend to remain the same. As mothers, we must resist the urge. Coddling a son past his infant/toddler years can produce one of two outcomes: a son who is emotionally enmeshed with his mother even in his adult years (a.k.a. mama’s boy) or a son who harbors bitterness and resentment toward his mother.

In the book Wild at Heart, author John Eldridge has this to say about clingy, coddling mothers:

I’ve found that many, many adult men resent their mothers but cannot say why. They simply know that they do not want to be close to them; they rarely call. As my friend Dave confessed, “I hate calling my mom. She always says something like, ‘It’s so good to hear your little voice.’ I’m twenty-five, and she still wants to call me her little lamb.” Somehow he senses that proximity to his mother endangers his masculine journey as though he might be sucked back in.

Ouch.

Warriors are not timid.

Ryan was my bashful child and we had to work with him to overcome it. I recall a time when we came to a standoff over his bashfulness. He was about 10 years old and I had told him we could rent a particular movie he wanted to see. When we pulled up in front of the video rental store, I told him I would wait in the car while he went in to ask if they had the movie in stock. He begged and pleaded for me to go in and would not budge from the car. I stood firm and told him, “Ryan, you have to learn to take care of things like this. This person behind the counter does not even know you. You have nothing to lose.” Finally, he gave up, faced his fear, and went into the store.

If timidity is allowed and even cultivated in our sons’ lives, it can breed a spiritual timidity over the years. If our sons are allowed to shy away from uncertainties, what will keep them from shying away from matters that require faith?

How do moms sometimes baby their sons too much?

Taken with permission from Your Boy by Vicki Courtney.

ASK YOUR CHILD...

Who is the strongest person you know?

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