Too much of a Mama’s Boy?

Time magazine has a fascinating story about the phenomenon of mama’s boys in Italy. They call them mammone and they are hypercoddled boys whose mothers do everything for them well passed their childhood.

Time magazine reports:

“… A disproportionate number of Italian men enter their 30s — and in some cases their 40s — still completely reliant on their mothers to do their cleaning, cook their meals, iron their clothes and keep a roof over their heads. According to a survey published last year in Psychology Today, a full 37% of men from the ages of 30 to 34 still live with their mothers in Italy.”

This story focuses on one extreme case where the mother and grandparents are being accused of child abuse because authorities say their boy was sheltered too much.

Here’s the gist of the case according to Time:

“The case centers on the overprotective mother and grandparents of a 12-year-old boy known only as Luca in the northern city of Ferrara. Prosecutors say the three built a wall of protection so high around the boy, it stunted his development. The boy’s mother and grandfather have already been convicted of child abuse and are appealing the verdict. The grandmother appeared before a criminal tribunal earlier this month to face a similar charge. All three defendants have denied any wrongdoing, and the child has remained in the mother’s custody while the case is being adjudicated.”

“According to the evidence presented by prosecutors, Luca was not allowed to play with other children, go to church, participate in sports or leave the house before or after school. The boy’s teachers said he was sent to school with his snacks already cut into bite-size portions for him. Investigators say the teachers noticed that he was both physically and psychologically stunted from such around-the-clock doting. ‘He didn’t know how to run. He had the motor skills of a 3-year-old child,’ Andrew Marzola, the lawyer representing the boy, told the Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera.”

So what do you think? Do you have a mammone living in your home? Can you coddle too much? Why would it be that boys are coddled more than girls? How do you know when it’s too much? When should boys move out of the house? Is 30 too late? Is creating a mama’s boy a chargeable offense? Is it child abuse?

105 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

October 22nd, 2009
7:13 am

No Mama’s boys here. I HAVE seen several children who are in this arena and feel that perhaps the parents may be trying to keep themselves in a job….who knows?

FYI…I just saw this on Yahoo today and though it was interesting, in light of the criticism I get on this blog…re: habits of millionaires ( NO I AM NOT ONE)

Believe in Yourself – Of the wealthiest Americans on this year’s Forbes 400 list, 274 of them are self-made. Luck may have played a small role here and there, but in most cases it was about taking calculated risks and standing behind ideas, even when others are critical.

Sometimes you have to march to your own drum beat….imho…have a nice day all…I am outta’ here.

Vork

October 22nd, 2009
7:34 am

This should be an interesting day considering the amount of helicopter moms there are on this blog.

MJG I’m impressed that you are improving….short, concise, paragraphs….good for you. Please keep it up.

deidre_NC

October 22nd, 2009
8:02 am

you would think that the teasing the kid must get from other kids would help him want to put a stop to it…i love my kids…but really who wants to be a fulltime mom FOREVER????

Andrea

October 22nd, 2009
8:08 am

While I don’t think it should be a “chargable” offense, there are certainly too many mama’s boys in this country too. I think it comes from too many single mothers raising boys. It is just my opinion, which I am sure will not be popular, but it is what I believe.

There are many great single mothers, but being brutally honest, a woman cannot teach a boy to be a man as well as a man can. Many boys today are just too feminine (not in a sexuality way, but in a general way). I just want to scream to them sometimes “Please go home and come back with your gonads”.

30s is too old for a man to be living at home with his mother – unless she is terminally ill or something of that magnitude.

Photius

October 22nd, 2009
8:15 am

Oh yes, mama’s boys…. it’s all the time in suburbia. Mom’s who still let their 10 year old sleep with them “because I just love him so much and those days will be gone soon…”….. today’s parents are too soft, too much Helicopter parenting out of their own selfishness for what they perceve to be “love” when in fact it’s self love. Mama’s boys are all over the place in America today… Cheers~!

Kendall, where are you...

October 22nd, 2009
8:26 am

…based on yesterday’s comments, is it possible this article is describing you and your kids?

Michelle

October 22nd, 2009
9:07 am

30 is WAY too old to be living at home! I’m thinking, unless the kid is in college, that even 21 is too old! If we do our jobs as parents, by the time they are done with high school and starting college, they should be ready to start becoming independent!

I love my son dearly, but once he has his degree, he needs to be on his own!

YUKI

October 22nd, 2009
9:28 am

Any 30 year old man who still wants to live with his mama needs some serious help. I agree, if the parent is sick or something that is a different story. But come on, wouldn’t any decent man want to go out and make it on his own? If not, that is just laziness in my opinion. I hope I am able to raise my son to be independent and self-sufficient. Personally, I could not wait to move out of my parent’s house and they are wonderful parents. Most of the guys I knew felt the same….

Kat

October 22nd, 2009
9:39 am

“My name is Luca…I live on the second floor…”

Kat

October 22nd, 2009
9:40 am

Just a different form of child abuse.

Single moms dote on their kids. Then, when the kid(s) are ready to leave the house (or rather, should be ready), the mom makes them feel like they can’t or shouldn’t leave.

Brittney's Dad

October 22nd, 2009
9:41 am

It’s funny how being a “Daddy’s Girl” is seen as a positive thing, because it means the girl has a healthy, close relationship to her father, and he beams with pride and happiness every time he thinks about her – but, being a “Mama’s Boy” is connected with wussiness.

Chason

October 22nd, 2009
9:42 am

To each their own. We are all creatures of habit. I read nothing more than being conditioned to a certain enivornment. Just like Pavlov’s dogs.
Let’s not even go there on the sexual identity issue. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Kimberly

October 22nd, 2009
9:56 am

Unfortunately, I am married to a mama’s boy and have a brother-in-law who is 31-years-old and still living with mama. How sad, I know! My mother-in-law is a bully and her boys are afraid to stand up to her. Not even for his wife (my husband that is). It’s like his mother is his wife. Sad, I know. I’m in a screwed up marriage and I hate it! We have a son and I feel like I’m stuck because I know he would be hurt if I leave his dad. However, I’m miserable!! Any advice?

Sugar

October 22nd, 2009
9:56 am

How about a topic like the musicians banding together to help close down Gitanamo? They are upset their music was blasted to “torture” the detainees…you know the ones who want all americans Dead??????

How about a topic about how this administration is making us a nation of sissies……how we are bowing down to the Europeans. And about how we are becoming so weak in front of the entire world?

How about a current topic that affects ALL OF US!!!!

Instead of a topic about italian men who still live with Mommie…..

madmommy

October 22nd, 2009
9:57 am

I think Kendall must run with this crowd.

I think that these parents are doing a huge diservice to this poor child who can’t seem to do anything for himself. Teaching kids how to do things on their own is a huge factor in life and development and should be encouraged. What are they going to do when they are old and need help taking care of themselves and this “grown” man can’t do it because he’s used to them doing it for them. Makes you wonder sometimes. These people have a mental disorder and need to seek treatment, not just incarciration.

I don’t think this is refering to the type of momma’s boys that most of us are thinking of either. I know a guy who’s mother still purchased all his clothes and took to telling me how to cook his food for him. She didn’t know me very well as you can see or else she would have known where to take that information. I can see someone like Kendall who has given up her life for her children once they are older to be this intrusive into their lives. Sorry girl, still feeling the burn from yesterday. Hopefully you can take as good as you give.

Howard

October 22nd, 2009
10:03 am

Sugar, honey, you’re getting your sweet self all riled up about nothing. Why don’t you go to the kitchen and pour yourself a nice glass of sweet tea, open up a Southern Living, and learn how to make a hearty casserole like your mama or grandmama made and leave all the political thinking to the menfolk.

lmno

October 22nd, 2009
10:16 am

I can understand why parents are overly protective of their children. Our children make us vulnerable. I remember that feeling I had the first time I dropped my kid off at school. I was proud for him, but scared at the same time. If something happens to him…is not even a thought that I can allow myself to finish.

I have to remind myself often to let him be and not cushion every fall and pad every elbow and test every food.

Now he is 6 and he loves to ride his razor scooter down a large hill in front of the house. He carves up the hill like his is a slalom skiier reaching speeds of about 20 mph. Everytime he does it, my heart stops for 30 seconds, but then he comes running up with a huge smile. “Did you see that Dad?”, as if I could possibly look away.

Sugar

October 22nd, 2009
10:20 am

Howard….go to hell with your male chauvinist thinking.

I don’t drink sweet tea, haven’t opened a Southern Living in years, since I don’t have time. I run my own business and help support my family. Italian mommas boys are not a topic that affects me or my family. I have worked to hard to get where I am for some idiot like you to tell me to go back to 1950.

Hey, lmno...

October 22nd, 2009
10:24 am

…when he falls off that scooter at 20mph hope you are prepared to deal with the “bad parent” fallout that DFACS is sure to label you.

lmno

October 22nd, 2009
10:34 am

“…when he falls off that scooter at 20mph hope you are prepared to deal with the “bad parent” fallout that DFACS is sure to label you.”

I hear you, but I do make him wear a helmut, so I am law abiding in that area.

He has actually fallen, though not at the top speed. Its also a closed road. (another one of these neighborhoods that never got built)

Little boys have scabs on their knees and bruises on their elbows. Its part of being a little boy.

I rode skateboards and BMX when I was a boy. Seems like my Mother kept BandAid and Iodine in business.

Sugar, they have political blogs on this site.

Kimberly, I understand your plight. My advice to you is to just have your own life. You don’t need your husband to make you happy. Make yourself happy by filling your life with activities that you and your child enjoy. If your mother-in-law doesn’t like it, she can go to hell.

Howard

October 22nd, 2009
10:37 am

“I don’t have time. I run my own business and help support my family. Italian mommas boys are not a topic that affects me or my family.” If the topic doesn’t affect you or your family, why are you taking the time to stay online and continue to comment here? And, I don’t want you to go back to 1950 – 1963 would be perfectly OK.

ihorizon

October 22nd, 2009
10:40 am

Advice to Kimberly: I am so sorry and sympathize with your situation greatly. You’ll need to have patience and have a long talk with your MIL as a family and see where the issue lies when it came to her “boys”. She might not have let them go or accepted that they are grown men but she needs to understand a husband is with his wife…if she cannot accept that then you need not to feel guilty about leaving the marriage if your husband cannot let go of his mom’s intrusion. Prayers to the LORD, I put up with my MIL’s conflict for so long that I finally had a confrontation with her recently about her constant meddling on my and husband’s personal and private matters! She has since left me alone but one day I will try to forgive her.

FCM

October 22nd, 2009
10:41 am

Kat “Single moms dote on their kids. Then, when the kid(s) are ready to leave the house (or rather, should be ready), the mom makes them feel like they can’t or shouldn’t leave.”

I resent that. IF I do my job right (and according to Kendall yesterday I won’t since I do not have a man supporting me) then my children can, should, and will be able to make it on their own. I have no problem facing the idea that one day my empty nest may well just be me. I say may because I still have a great deal of hope that before I die I will find a life partner.

I do not wish my daughters to end up single parents. I do however want them prepared if that is what happens.

My parents have been married to the same person for decades with no previous marriages. Both their children ended up divorced and one has remarried. So it is not just coming from a stable home or having great role models. However my parents should be proud. I have weathered some storms I would not wish on anyone — I dare say JJ and Didre_NC have too–but I did it because my parents raised me to know I could and should rely on myself.

Hey, Sugar...

October 22nd, 2009
10:43 am

…long time, no hear – how you doin’? Forget ol Howard, he, obviously, doesn’t know how sweet you really are! I have noticed that both you and Jesse’s Girl have a bit of an attitude these past few posts – is that really y’all, or has that imposter blogger taken your moniker and run with it?

JJ

October 22nd, 2009
10:44 am

I know a couple of momma’s boys, and I can’t stand to be around them. A brother of a co worker, is 40 years old, doesn’t work, and lives with Momma who supports him. She bought him a car, gives him money for gas, cigarettes, etc. He has worked here and there, but only for a week or so at a time, then he starts to complain that he has to get up early (before 10:00). Then he cries about how hard it is to work and quits the job. I have known this guy for 10 years, and he has had 4 jobs, never lasting more than a week or two.

Momma does this, because her husband died, and all her other kids are self sufficient, and she doesn’t want the last one to leave home. She doesn’t want to be alone…..so she continues to support this slacker!!!!!! AND she works a full time job while he sits around the house. He doesn’t even do anything around the house. If anything needs to be done, he calls friends and they go to want needs to be done…..Disgusting in my book……what is going to happen to him when his momma dies??????

Meanwhile, I’m a single parent, I get up every day and go to work every single day, so I support me and my child……it makes me sick to see a “man” mooch off his momma.

Kimberly

October 22nd, 2009
10:44 am

Thanks, Imno! My significant other is a poor role model when it comes to how a husband is suppose to treat his wife (i.e. no verbal or physical affection toward me to teach my son how he should treat his wife when he gets married. No opening doors for me so my son will know what to do with his lady, etc.) In other words, the only positive he is shown by him is how to hold a job down. Children mimmick their parents relationship when they enter their own. I think I am doing more harm to my son by staying in the marriage. I don’t want him to treat his wife the way I am being treated. However, I still torn on whether to leave.

JJ

October 22nd, 2009
10:44 am

Oh and Howard, do you have anything to contribute to this topic? Or are you a momma’s boy?

Photius

October 22nd, 2009
10:45 am

Sugar… this ain’t a blog about politics.

Kimberly

October 22nd, 2009
10:46 am

I’m not having a pity party…I’m just in decision mode and it’s nice to get someone else’s opinion who has no stake in my situation.

divorced

October 22nd, 2009
10:57 am

I was married to one. GAG!!! To you mothers out there with sons, STOP BABYING HIM! It’s only cute to you. Your “little man” is NOT your man. Coddling creates a monster for the women in his future because he’s going to bring those same entitlement expectations to the girlfriend/wife which is unfair. No woman wants to spend her life raising her husband because his mother turned him into a big handicapped BABY who is incapable of realizing that he’s no longer a two-year-old. Mama’s boys have a hard time taking charge, being responsible, making decisions that don’t revolve around him, and putting others first. He can’t own up to mistakes because his mother always ignored his. Ladies you think coddling your son is your right, and it is, however you’re just making him a whimpying-@ss jerk that no woman will be able to stand nor depend on.

Kimberly

October 22nd, 2009
11:00 am

I’m also a stripper that’s into S & M…..

Magenta

October 22nd, 2009
11:01 am

Now that the youngun is all grown, I lament at how quickly the years flew by, and how very independent he has been since about age 17. BUT – I wouldn’t trade much of that for a helicopter relationship. Much better that he could hit the ground running than to get married early to be “taken care of,” or to shun good opportunities out of fear. We only get one chance in life, and how much better to live the adventures yourself instead of watching other people do it while you sit on the sofa.

New Stepmom

October 22nd, 2009
11:07 am

I think any child who is incapable of doing anything for themselves and only wants to be pampered is nauseating. I see it in boys and girls, fathers and mothers. I see moms treating thier daughters this same way. I have also seen dads babying sons. This phenomanon (sp?) is a plague on our society. Wake up parents, don’t have children to have slaves, but ask them to contribute. It will go a long way toward making them able to cope in society….

lmno

October 22nd, 2009
11:09 am

Kimberly, I am certainly not advising you to get a divorce. I am just advising you to start doing things on your own for fun. You can invite your husband, not ask his permission.

For example, you should just plan to take your son out of town this weekend. Something fun you both would like to do. And just mention it causally to your husband.

“Oh by the way, Junior and I are going to Chatanooga this weekend, we’d love it if you came but we understand if you don’t want to come”

And then just go.

When the Mother-In-Law treats you poorly, thats a reflection on her, not you. So if she is mean to you, just reply to her that you pity her situation and tell her it must be hard to not like someone in her very own family. +

meme's mommy

October 22nd, 2009
11:12 am

i admit this has nothing to do with the price of rice but it disturbed so here goes: i was catching on blogs i’ve missed and read the following comment:

motherjanegoose

October 17th, 2009
3:37 pm
People should only marry within their own race.

It’s all about the blacks trying to make everyone be the same race so they don’t get discriminated against.

Whites are better blacks just deal with it.

motherjane/theresa PLEASE assure me someone else posted this nonsense under the real motherjane’s name. ive had the pleasure of seeing mjg in action at GSHA and i would hate to think this is how she really thinks.

as far as mama’s boys…i cant deal with them.

Jose

October 22nd, 2009
11:16 am

Love me some mama’s boys!

Rex

October 22nd, 2009
11:17 am

My name is Luka. I live on the second floor. I live upstairs from you. Yes I think you’ve seen me before

Connie Jenkins

October 22nd, 2009
11:19 am

I have never understood why some people think it is their job to wait on their kids hand and foot. You are not doing them any favors as the rest of the world will never think as much of them as you do. I believe it is a parent’s duty to teach their children how to survive in whatever culture they are born in. Hopefully the boy in Italy will never get married as it would be a real shame to inflict his poor behavior on a woman.

DB

October 22nd, 2009
11:21 am

Kimberly, I’d strongly suggest that you and your husband consider some marital counseling on this. He needs to relearn his priorities, and you are going to need some support helping him do it.

It’s good to love and respect your parents, but even the Bible tells men to stick with their wives. :-)

lmno

October 22nd, 2009
11:29 am

To those suggesting “long talks” and “counseling”, I disagree. Just live your own life with the knowledge that another person cannot be the thing that makes you happy. Communicate in the sense of team work, but thats about it.

Let life be spontaneous. Let people know your feelings through your actions, not your words.

People, in general, think to highly of themselves. The most profound thought I’ve ever had was that I am just not that profound and neither is anyone else.

Howard

October 22nd, 2009
11:49 am

Yes, I live in the same house as my mother – I guess you could call me a mama’s boy – I’m 61 years old and moved my mother into MY house 2 years ago when she got sick so I could take care of her in her old age, just like she did with her parents until they died at home. Call it old-fashioned, out-of-step with modern times, living like it’s “1950″ or whatever you want to call it – it’s how we do things in our family.

Kimberly

October 22nd, 2009
11:51 am

DB, thanks for referring to a book written a thousand years ago that was re-copied and re-copied over and over again by illiterate monks to give us our present day version. The bible and religion in general was developed as a tool to control people. Apparently it worked because it still controls you and the fools you associate with. Not me! I urinate on your holy book!

Jesse's Girl

October 22nd, 2009
11:58 am

Well Kimberly, you are certainly entitled. However..what I find so blissfully incredible is the fact that while you “urinate” on The Bible….The God it speaks of loves you still. Kind of the ultimate parental love…no matter what you do, how stupidly you behave…He still loves you.

Per the topic…this cae is freakin ridiculous!! It is tatamount to abuse, absolutely. Parents who coddle their children are harming them…period. Please…I beg you…allow your children to make mistakes. Do not bail them out of every jam. They must learn to rely on their own instincts and learn to trust their emotions.

Bubba

October 22nd, 2009
12:03 pm

My name is Bubba. I still live wit my maman. Even tho’ I cudn’t find me a job after college, I didn’t git no choice but move back in. I serpose I culd be homeless but my maman love me so much that she don’t mind gittin my clothes fixed fer me in the monin’

Laura

October 22nd, 2009
12:06 pm

Britney’s Dad – you are absolutely correct! Why IS it okay and cute when someone says “daddy’s girl”? Sounds discrimanatory to me.

Paolo

October 22nd, 2009
12:17 pm

I resent this article. I’m an Italian male who lived with his parents. We are a strong family base who takes care of our own and doesn’t dump them in nursing homes like Americans when our parents are too old to care for themselves. Because unlike you ladies in here, family sticks together. It’s funny how we don’t have rape and big breast fetish in Italy like you do in America with American men! That’s because Am mothers are quick to boot them out the door! No wonder they never feel any love and must resort to rape. My son and daughters will live with me as long as they like. And when I’m old, my home becomes theirs and passes down family to family.

Sh'Layla

October 22nd, 2009
12:25 pm

Why is it that only white men are momma’s boys?

JJ

October 22nd, 2009
12:30 pm

As a single parent, I have raised my daughter to be in control of herself, and to be self sufficient. That’s what my parents, mostly my Dad, did with me. He taught me to depend only on myself, not someone else.

I depend on NO ONE to make me happy. I am responsible for my own happiness. I didn’t marry the jerk I did with the intent that HE was supposed to make ME happy. I married him because, at the time, it made me happy to be with him. Had I known then what I know now, I never would have married him. However, I did get a beautiful daughter out of the relationship.

Kimberly, if you are miserable, you should get out of that marriage immediately. There is no reason on earth why you should say in a relationship that makes YOU unhappy. Your son will be hurt more by you staying in an unhealthy marriage. Remember, it’s the message you are sending. If you stay, you send the message to your son that it is ok to treat a woman badly.

Dr. Phil (don’t like him) once said “I’d rather be healthy alone, then sick in a relationship”……

You son will be just fine. You can work out a custody arrangement. My brother gets his kids every other week, not weekend. You need to let this man know you are unhappy. Communication!!!!!!

You don’t have to stay in a bad marriage for the sake of your child. The child will be much better off if his parents are happy. And they may be happier apart……

BlondeHoney

October 22nd, 2009
12:35 pm

This phenomenom is not exclusively a boy’s club; my ex’s sister is now 50 years old and except for the 2 brief years she was married (and she didn’t even get married until she was 45), she lived at home supported by her parents (my ex in-laws) and being babied by mama. Mama did and continues to do it all for her; wakes her in the morning for work (that is when she works; she’s got a steady job at the moment) irons her clothes, makes her coffee, does her laundry, etc etc etc. And this is FIFTY YEAR OLD WOMAN with an MBA for pete’s sake. I don’t feel sorry for her parents, they created that monster and are stuck with her forever. She has served some purpose, however; my oldest boy said to me on a number of occasions, “I don’t want to be like my Tia…”

Wow...

October 22nd, 2009
12:46 pm

…we have a troll posting as several posters today so be careful when “commenting” on what the troll has driveled under the assumed name – much like the question that was asked about motherjane and the October 17th post.