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

Laura

October 22nd, 2009
12:57 pm

Blondehoney, have you ever wondered maybe she has a condition you’re unaware of? An MBA doesn’t mean she’s stable. There could be an underlying problem that has developed since the break-up of your relationship with the family so you wouldn’t exactly be par to some info.

Hunter of MILF

October 22nd, 2009
1:07 pm

Kimberly, How you doin???

Kimberly

October 22nd, 2009
1:24 pm

doin good Hunter…..want an ole fashioned or just your regular?

Hey, Kimberly...

October 22nd, 2009
1:27 pm

…what’s the difference – they are both great!

Laura

October 22nd, 2009
1:34 pm

Okay guys – now that WAS a little funny.

Wayne

October 22nd, 2009
1:40 pm

My wife and I will hear about some atrocity in another country that has been perpetrated against a woman. My wife will say why do women subject themselves to this sort of thing? My response is generally along the lines of – that’s their culture. We may not agree with it, and man, some of it is seriously wrong, but wrong by whose standards? I’m (mostly) Italian, and all I’ve ever heard about as I’ve grown up is about sons who stay home with Mom taking care of them. My neighborhood was mostly Italian, and I saw it happen. I didn’t grow up that way – is that wrong? Italy is a different country with different cultural values. What we value here is quite a bit different there. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Culture rules. I’m sure that if you grew up in Italy, you wouldn’t think twice about a son living at home. Here, we’re more ‘progressive’ and tend to try to stick our views on other cultures. Is that wrong?. Who are we to change other cultures views?

It’s like Kendall yesterday saying that Moms should stay home with their kids – and if they don’t, shame on them! Why should Kendall insist her values are right for everyone? They aren’t; accept that other people are different than you.

Wow. More

Wayne

October 22nd, 2009
1:41 pm

Woops, remove that Wow. More – not sure where that came from!

Jackie

October 22nd, 2009
1:48 pm

What exactly makes a mommy’s boy. It seems as though some of you believe a gentler kind of man is a bad thing. Boys don’t all have to grow into men who are he-men, beating their chests. My son is successful at 28 but his choice to live at home allows him to sock away most of his income to pay almost cash for his first home when he is ready. Metrosexuals are just as appealing. If my son fits that category, then I have raised him well. He’s clean, well-groomed, plays tennis, has alot of friends and is simply not ready to marry. He does not hunt or fish. Does that make him a sissy? Not at all. Just as some of you ladies may not cook or sew. Does that make you less a woman? Just because a man lives at home does not make him a mama’s boy.

Scorpio

October 22nd, 2009
1:56 pm

Well here’s my input. The thing MOST young men do when they leave home and get their own place is party and score as often as possible. I’ve been with my husband since college and all his friends that didn’t live at home had one agenda on the weekends. Drink and get laid. They had no respect for women and I had to listen to their disgusting remarks about their conquests and how stupid some of the “pick-ups” were. I didn’t like his friends and he knew my opinion. I’ll take a mama’s boy any day over these chauvanistic pigs who leave home with one thing on the brain!

Sarah Elizabeth Malinak

October 22nd, 2009
1:57 pm

I recall a baby shower where the mom-to-be knew she was carrying a little boy. At one point, one of the women said with stars in her eyes, “Just think…You are in the position to raise the perfect man!” The oohhing and aahhing and cooing that circled the room was eerie. As the leading expert on the romantic challenges facing mama’s boys and daddy’s girls as adults, and in a room full of women who knew that about me, I was shocked to witness this ritualistic imprinting on the mother of this baby boy. Women cannot raise “perfect men.” It’s impossible! Boys need the influence of the men in their families – from fathers to uncles to grandfathers to family friends to brothers to coaches, pastors, and teachers! Boys need men as active participants in their lives in order to ground their masculinity – the strong essence that makes them protectors and leaders in their homes. Mothers who stunt this (and fathers and other influential men in the boys lives who allow it to happen) betray their sons’ trust to be lead into youth and adulthood with all the skills in tact that they need to navigate in the adult world.

And Scorpio...

October 22nd, 2009
2:10 pm

…your point is????

Abby

October 22nd, 2009
2:10 pm

Theresa, that’s common practice in Italy but it’s not common practice here so why even bring it up?? Europeans in general respect the family unit much more than Americans. I wonder why that is?!

(The Real Kimberly) who posted about her marriage

October 22nd, 2009
2:11 pm

Whoever is posing/responding as “me, Kimberly” must be a very bored person. I will not even respond to your “stripper and other idiotic comments.” Get a life.

Scorpio

October 22nd, 2009
2:13 pm

What is my point? Did you not read the last line? Women don’t want their boys to live at home but it’s perfectly okay for them to go out with the sole intention of violating women? That’s my point. I’ll take the mama’s boy who sees me more than just a weekend conquest!!

Caitlyn

October 22nd, 2009
2:18 pm

for wayne. its not just italian boys who live home. also in india. i have several indian friends and in their culture it is the responsibility of the eldest son to care for the aging parents and his siblings. they all live in one, very large house some would call a megamansion. not to say the siblings don’t bring in money to the house but the eldest makes sure everyone is sheltered, fed and clothed. they are very successful people also. it’s only on america where babies are snatched from their mother’s womb to be placed alone in a crib in another room.

(The Real Kimberly) who posted about her marriage

October 22nd, 2009
2:18 pm

Imno – The last comment you posted was right on because my marriage counselor told me if I was not ready to leave my husband then I need to go on as if he did not exist, in other words stay busy, etc.

DB – We did the counseling and it didn’t work. He rarely showed up but I continued too, to help myself. He’s not going to change because he is not capable. Therefore, i have to decide what I’m going to do. I’m not they type of lady to stay in a relationship and pretend. I can’t ignore the reality of it all. It’s not what I signed up for.

(The Real Kimberly) who posted about her marriage

October 22nd, 2009
2:19 pm

Thanks Imno and DB!

(The Real Kimberly) who posted about her marriage

October 22nd, 2009
2:23 pm

JJ – Thanks for the advice/comment! I been telling myself the exact same thing. I just need to take the leap.

NO, Scorpio...

October 22nd, 2009
2:24 pm

…my point was what is wrong with guys, when they are young, drinking beer and looking to get laid every weekend? Sounds like your hubby thinks he missed out on that, and I can see why!!!!

Scorpio

October 22nd, 2009
2:26 pm

See mothers? This snarky heel is the opposite of a mama’s boy. Which would you rather have.

ihorizon

October 22nd, 2009
2:30 pm

My other suggestion was going to be to rip out the phone cords and move away…far far away but that will not solve anything…and to those not into the Bible, the Bible was written by men with HOLY SPIRIT and translated by a king – King James I of England also King James VI of Scotland!!!! GOD intended for everyone to be with HIM in HEAVEN and it is up to you to have that relationship with the LORD!!! It will be too late once you have passed on to do anything about it!!!!

C'mon, Scorpio...

October 22nd, 2009
2:33 pm

…loosen that belt a little bit – you may have a better outlook on life!

Snarky heel?...

October 22nd, 2009
2:35 pm

…I resemble that remark!

Except the part about violating women...

October 22nd, 2009
2:37 pm

…most of us know that “NO” means no, and that there is another just around the corner that will say “OK” – there are lots of young women out here that like to do the same thing that you only thing young men do during and after college.

JJ

October 22nd, 2009
3:05 pm

Kimberly, it’s a very scary step, but you know what? You will be just fine, I promise. And so will your son. You aren’t doing this out of anger, but misery. YOU have to take care of YOU and your son, but the most important person right now is YOU. If YOU aren’t happy, how can you raise a happy child? You never know how much inner strength you have until you are put to the test. If I can do it, you can do it too. But it sure ain’t easy. It was the hardest thing I have ever done…….

Also, you WILL receive support from of us on this blog (Except for the trolls). The regulars are great in the support department, and this blog has really helped a lot of us. We bounce ideas off each other, and basically do try and support each other.

I wish you much success…….but just keep in mind, you and your son DESERVE to be happy. And if you aren’t happy, you must change your situation. You are the only one who can do it.

Pray

October 22nd, 2009
3:22 pm

That is extremely lame. I hope to raise my son (and daughter when I have one) to be strong and independent. I want everyone out of my house by 50. I don’t want any stragglers who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives. I don’t want my children to move back in to save themselves some money. I don’t want them back because they can’t handle real life. No. I want to coast into retirement and enjoy my life with my husband. I would want my kids to do the same when they grow up. Can’t do that if they are still on the boobie. Plus, heaven forbid anything happens to you and your child is so dependent on you that they can’t function. Then what?

Pray

October 22nd, 2009
3:22 pm

Oops. I meant to say by the time I’m 50.

Wayne

October 22nd, 2009
3:28 pm

Caitlyn: you’re correct, I didn’t mean to single out Italians as the only culture that does this. It’s just the one I’m most familiar with.

Wow, I’m not sure if Kimberly actually wrote that note about urinating on someone’s holy book, but that was rough… I’m not a religious person by far, but holy smokes! I wouldn’t trash someone’s belief system like that. To each their own…

Hunter of MILF

October 22nd, 2009
3:48 pm

@ (The Real Kimberly) who posted about her marriage,

How you doin?

YUKI

October 22nd, 2009
4:45 pm

Hunter of MILF…..now that is funny

FCM

October 22nd, 2009
5:04 pm

Theresa if the real Kimberly wants to contact me to talk about the step she is thinking about let me know. I will give you an address (not the one you have) that she can contact me at.

I have been through what she is talking about. It is HARD and PAINFUL. However, I know the kids and I are better off then if I were still married.

motherjanegoose

October 22nd, 2009
7:27 pm

NO I DID NOT POST THAT NONSENSE ON OCTOBER 17. I was in Anchorage and in the middle of a meeting. SORRY FOR THE TURMOIL. It is beyond aggravating when posters assume other’s names and post garbage….too bad someone cannot do something about it. I am in St. Louis now.
Thanks for bringing it to my attention, as I have not had time to read the blogs.

FCM

October 22nd, 2009
8:37 pm

Kimberly — it boils down to what you said above. “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.)”

Now go look in the mirror and see what you are showing your son abut how a wife expects to be treated. Should she show that she demands respect? Affection? Kind words? Time? Smiles? OR Should she show that her needs do not have to be meet and that is ok? Then you decide if it is better that he grow up with two parents under one roof both modeling behaviors like that OR do is it better to grow up with two parents who love him but model behaviors that show what you want him to see under different roofs?

In my house the later became true. When he left I sat down and took a long look at myself. If we had continued my children would not have seen the behaviors I want them too. Now they do. They do see their father as a happy, loving, fun man — which is why I married him — who cares about them. My oldest remembers the sadness and pain in the house before he left. Now she sees him very happy with his partner. She sees me as confident and happy — though she sometimes wishes I would find someone too. She knows that Daddy only sees her sometimes so, she knows he cuts her slack where I don’t. She is ok with that and still says I am fun. Amazing! I am fun, even though I impose bedtimes, rules, check homework, chores, and all that unfun stuff.

My youngest doesn’t remember anything different than what she knows now. She is ok.

It hurt my children, it still probably hurts them, that we are not together. However its like I tell my kids “Its better to have two happy houses full of love, than one house with sadness hanging over it.”

I would not wish divorce on my worst enemy. My minister said “If you think you have it bad now, wait until you have to be Mom, Dad, and everything to the kids.” He wasn’t joking. Being a single parent takes nerves of steel, a lot of backbone, support, and TONS of prayer. I will add you to my list of prayers tonight.

BlondeHoney

October 22nd, 2009
8:59 pm

@Laura, I was married to her brother for 20 years and dated him for 5 years before that; I observed the dynamic between mother/daughter since she was a teenager just graduated from high school and beginning college so I do believe that qualifies for a longitudinal study on THAT relationship. Any child that lives with her parents for 48 out of her 50 years and STILL has her 75 year old mother waiting on her is an issue IMHO

DB

October 22nd, 2009
11:13 pm

@Kimberly, I’m sorry the counseling didn’t work out for you. It only works if both parties want it to work, and it sounds like he wasn’t fully vested. If that’s the case, then I agree with JJ and FCM — your son doesn’t need to grow up with such a skewed image of marriage.

I always suggest counseling, first, because I’m a big believer in making well-considered choices and keeping commitments, and realize that some people, because of the lack of examples in their lives, need help in learning how to be successfully married. But it has to work both ways. May you find peace in whatever decision you ultimately choose.

DB

October 22nd, 2009
11:14 pm

@Howard: No one is talking about elder care, here. That is a good and laudable thing, if it’s the best solution for you, your family and your mother.

What we’re talking here is continued child care, into the 30s :-)

Vork

October 23rd, 2009
7:29 am

WHAT??? No Friday topic Theresa??? EPIC FAIL!!!

deidre_NC

October 23rd, 2009
8:03 am

amen FCM and ty..i dont think i doted on my kids anymore than a mom with a husband would have. i do agree there are different dynamics in a 1 parent household..whether it is a single mom or a single dad…its hard to explain if you havent been there so im not gonna try here….you single parents know what i mean. there is no way the child raising dynamics can be the same–it isnt the same. not to say its worse or better. it can go either way. i dont think i doted on any of my kids more than any other parent…in fact i think that single parent kids would have to have more responsibility–especially in a single mom home…my kids had lots more on their plates since i was working and the only parent…lots m ore chores and resposibility—and i did feel guilty about that…but i also think we are a lot closer than some kids and parent i know that had a 2 parent home…there were times i felt that my kids had too much responsibility thrown on them that they would have had if there had been a dad around..we do the best we can…all mama’s boys are not from single mom homes…grrrrr

deidre_NC

October 23rd, 2009
8:10 am

and as far as kids moving back in or living with their parents (mom in my case) these are hard days…lots of kids have had to move back home and lots of parents have had to move in with their kids…if thats all ok with everyone who is to say that makes a mama’s boy…back in the day multiple generations lived in the same houses and those houses were lots smaller than the ones we live in these days…sometimes families just need to help each other..that is a concept that is being lost…i read an article that was mostly kids b*tching about how they didnt want to be in the position of helping their parents when they got old….how sad

[...] post is from here. Visit the link to read more.Oh yes, mama’s boys…. it’s all the time in suburbia. [...]

Baywatch Hunks

October 23rd, 2009
4:34 pm

[...] post is from here. Visit the link to read more.Oh yes, mama’s boys…. it’s all the time in suburbia. [...]

catlady

October 23rd, 2009
5:11 pm

I have taught a few. One now, a fifth grader, until 2 weeks ago expected his grandmother to get out of the car (regular sized car) and lift him in and out, along with his back pack. And if he dropped it, he expected her to go pick it up. We had a word with her–he isn’t physically handicapped and the other kids were really starting to notice.

Another adult man I know NEVER SPENT THE NIGHT ANYWHERE BUT WITH HIS PARENTS UNTIL HIS WEDDING NIGHT. His wife had been raised in a similar way, and their eldest son, in particular, had and still has serious social problems (like talking to trees instead of people). I think he has a doctorate now, but commuted hundreds of miles SO HE WOULDN’T HAVE TO TRY TO SLEEP ANYWHERE ELSE. When I suggested she let the boys sleep over at other people’s houses (nice kids, people she knew) she was horrified. And they were 8 years old then.

Many of the Latino boys I teach have been very coddled, with no expectations that they help out around the house, keep up with their stuff, etc., unlike their sisters. I guess at a certain point the machismo kicks in?

catlady

October 23rd, 2009
5:12 pm

One of our school administrators used to take time off each day to get her married, with a child, 22 year old son up and off to work. She would go to his house to wake him and cook him breakfast. Dear God.

[...] post is from here. Visit the link to read more.Oh yes, mama’s boys…. it’s all the time in suburbia. [...]

[...] post is from here. Visit the link to read more.Oh yes, mama’s boys…. it’s all the time in suburbia. [...]

[...] post is from here. Visit the link to read more.Oh yes, mama’s boys…. it’s all the time in suburbia. [...]

Mamma Boy

October 24th, 2009
4:04 pm

To each his own. Obviously, catlady, the woman he marries doesn’t mind. I’m married to a mamma’s boy and guess what? I don’t mind. He treats me well. That old saying about if you want to know how a man is going to treat his wife, look at how he treats his mamma. But she doesn’t just dote on my husband, but me as well. What is wrong with a parent who wants to be needed and continue to play that role? It makes her happy, we’re happy and our family is normal. So who are you people to judge that a mamma’s boy is a bad thing? Not all women object. Get over yourselves.

Yuki Notice

October 24th, 2009
5:27 pm

mmmm. yuki hasn’t posted. know why? that’s because her mama lives with her. she cooks, cleans and watches the kids everyday while yuki works. so isn’t this a double standard? it’s BAD if the boys mama does this but it’s FINE if the girl’s mama does? isn’t that how it’s done in korea yuki. so i guess that makes you a mama’s girl. i have korean friends and ALL of them have parents that live with them and take care of the house, home and grandkids while their adult kids work.

The Husband

October 24th, 2009
6:46 pm

Get in that kitchen woman and make me a meal! My momma did and now you gonna do it!

Amar Twink

October 25th, 2009
5:33 am

[...] post is from here. Visit the link to read more.Oh yes, mama’s boys…. it’s all the time in suburbia. [...]