Plenty of little boys want to grow up to be just like Dad. But to what extent (and how) are boys' interests/activities/identities influenced by their mothers?
My firsthand experience with boy-parenting is nil, but it's always seemed to me that the moms of boys get a raw deal. Most of the men I know admire their fathers and share interests/hobbies with them and try to live up to their example; by contrast, they may love
their moms, a lot, but there's also a sense of other-ness that prevents any real identification or comradeship (as distinct from simple affection/comfort/nurture).
In fact, articles like this one
seem to suggest that boys of a certain age will actually turn up their noses at activities (however exciting) that are initiated by women, while they clamor for inclusion in any project, however dull, that has a big strong Guy at the helm. It doesn't seem to go both ways: growing up as a girl, I definitely wanted to be like my dad in many ways, and absorbed many of his interests and values. But I haven't heard from any boys who want to emulate their mothers.
I'm wondering whether this is just a biological thing, or whether it's possible to shape a different mother-son dynamic. (The issue isn't entirely academic for me, because I have a ~51% chance of becoming a mother to a boy in a few months' time. My husband will be a great role model, but there are also parts of myself that I'd like to share with kids of either gender-- an interest in building/fixing stuff, for instance, and in exploring the outdoors-- and it would be sad to think that a son might spurn these things as girly or uninteresting just because they're associated with Mom. I know any son I might have will, first and foremost, be himself
; but I'd like to think he'd turn out at least a little like me, as well.)
I know the mother/son relationship has been discussed before
, but just now I'm looking for comments on the female role model issue specifically. Can anyone share personal anecdotes/reading suggestions/recent studies that might help me understand how sons learn from and are shaped by their mothers?