Raising Boys

Moms Who Cleave Raise Boys Who Can’t Leave!


As mothers, our nature is to cleave to our children, especially in the younger years. As they get older, we must begin the painful process of slowly weaning them from our constant care in order to equip them for their eventual flight from the nest. At the same time our children begin slowly to pull away from us as they gain their independence and try their wings while under our watchful protection. There is little to prepare a mother for this painful and confusing transition. While our nature tells us to cling tight, in our hearts we know we must let go. We do our children a great disservice if we fail to do so.

Some of you have young boys who still cleave to you, and it is hard to imagine a day when they will begin to pull away. Others have sons who are taking some sample flights from the nest, and you know firsthand this confusing season of life. I am currently in this season of life with my older son, and while I celebrate his milestones of independence, I also grieve his waning need of my care. Daily I must resist the temptation to hover over him, especially when he exits the house with car keys in hand.

Mothers who cleave to their boys will raise boys who struggle to leave, physically and emotionally. See if you resemble the moms below.

Little League Mom

She’s every coach’s nightmare, especially if, heaven forbid, the coach fails to notice her son’s athletic abilities. She’s the mom who fights her son’s battles, many of which she starts herself. She believes in her son and wants what’s best for him. Nothing wrong with that, but it gets out of hand when she bullies, manipulates, or even sweetly cajoles others to give her son preference over the others. Whether it is academic, athletic, or recreational, we want our boys to be treated fairly. We will not serve our sons’ best interests in the end by taking up their every battle.

If there is ever a lesson I have learned the hard way, it is that life is not always fair when it comes to my children. I have spent days seething over the unfairness exhibited toward my boys on the football field, the basketball court, and the baseball field. Whether they sat on the bench, batted late in the lineup, or were placed in positions that did not take advantage of their obvious skills, it was guaranteed to elevate my blood pressure and leave me grumbling in the stands. I have since improved my attitude and relegated myself to the cold, hard fact that sometimes things don’t make sense. As I reflect with a newfound objectivity on some of the past battles I fought on behalf of my boys, I realize that in some cases I had imagined their skills to be far better than they actually were. In other cases it boiled down to a jealousy that my boys were not treated as well as some of their peers. In the end, I highly doubt my interference altered their lives.

Many boys view it as the ultimate embarrassment to have their moms intervene even for noble purposes. Some may even grow to resent their mothers for doing so

Personal Assistant Mom

From their youngest years we have cared for our boys’ every need from wiping runny noses and tying loose shoelaces to late-night runs to the store for poster board for the school project due the next day. Before long it becomes a part of who we are. Sometimes we complain and wonder if a day will come when we can clock out, but deep down inside many of us are not ready for the alternative:not to be needed. As a result, we continue to play the part of “Personal Assistant Mom” long after our sons need one.

Like creatures of habit, we fail to stop and ask ourselves if what we are doing for them is something they actually can, and should, do for themselves. We just keep doing what we do best…doing and doing and doing. And while our service may seem noble, if we fail to wean them from their state of dependence they will be unable to stand on their own.

Taken with permission from, Your Boy by Vicki Courtney.



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