Mom’s Not Letting Their Boys Become Men

Picture of Donovan - Life Coach
Donovan - Life Coach

Founder and Owner


As a life coach, I’m sure this is going to be a tough article to read for some of you parents out there, but our global society is facing a pandemic of epic proportions. No, I’m not referring to Covid-19, widespread use of social media, or online gaming. Although they all have their part to play in this pandemic. What I am talking about is the Peter Pan syndrome. Although not a recognized mental health condition, Peter Pan syndrome refers to an individual’s inability to fully develop into adulthood… ie the boy that never grew up. Interestingly, this mainly affects young men between the ages of 18-35 years. Seldom, have I noticed it coming from young women.

Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung labelled such an individual as the “man-child”. In 1959, Jung’s protégée, Marie-Louis von Franz, gave a series of lectures based on her observations of psychologically stunted men and women who did not adequately mature into their adult years. She called this phenomenon “Puer Aeternus”, or “the eternal child”.    

The reason why this mainly affects more boys than girls is often based on the relationship between the mother and son. The psychoanalytic theory calls this the Jocasta complex. There are too many complex familial, societal, and cultural dynamics involved for me to accurately articulate why this phenomenon is potent with mothers and sons, but the result is that even though the son has reached adulthood, neither the mother nor the son will psychologically let go of each other.

A mother’s spiritual role is to protect her child, even if it means she must perish or suffer eternally. The father’s role is to prepare the child for the harsh realities of adulthood. For aeons, this system worked well with the help of initiations and rituals. Cultures around the world would initiate their young with harsh and often life-threatening rituals and/or quests. Once the initiation was complete, the village would welcome the adults back in. No longer would they be seen as children because they had proven themselves worthy of being adults.

Now let me be clear, children are to be fully protected by their parents, families, and the law. Our society has always needed to improve the living conditions of minors. Children were once recognized as simply small adults and it was only in 1938 that the United States enacted the Fair Labor Standards that prevented children from being used for labour purposes.

The problem we are facing though is that young men are not equipped to manage the many difficult challenges that adulthood will naturally present. Instead of being taught to face the world, they are being protected from it. Fathers are either not present in the child’s life or taking on aspects of the mother’s role and keeping them away from many of life’s obstacles. However, for the most part, it is the mother that is perpetuating the problem. They are doing everything for their sons. They pay for their living expenses, they book their doctor’s appointments, and they don’t let them stand on their own two feet. They do this all while working full-time jobs, managing the general family situation, having to deal with their problems, etc.

There is a deep codependent relationship existing between the mother and the son that is supposed to protect the child, but it delays, or at worse, prevents the child from experiencing adulthood. Many times, I will answer an inquiry and the person will immediately say “This is not for me, it’s for my son”, or “This is not for me, it’s for my husband”.

I’m sure at this point it may seem that I am painting a miserable picture of a woman/mother, but I am not. Like I said in the beginning, a mother will die for their child or suffer eternally to protect them. A father will do the same, however, a father can often allow a child to experience the many pains, obstacles, challenges, and roadblocks that will come their way, whereas a mother will struggle with this. If she sees her child struggling to pay rent, eating beans on toast, and miserably sitting on a hand-me-down couch, her instincts will want to take the child’s discomfort away. This is why so many men move back into their parent’s houses or don’t move out at all. The parent will not allow the child to experience hardship or suffering. This is neither good for the parent nor the child because adulthood is the toughest experience anyone will face and if a parent prevents their child from experiencing the harshness of the world, it will end up backfiring on everyone.

The boy will know they should be an adult and they will experience psychological pain for not being allowed to be one. At the same time, every time they feel slightly challenged by life they will retreat to the safety of their mother, and the mother will always accept them back. I have seen 30-year-olds and even 50-year-olds afflicted with the same problem… all staying with their mothers.

So where to from here?

Like you, your child has instincts to protect them from harm. Like you, they will make many mistakes as they hone in on how to listen to these instincts. You will always be there for your child as a support system, but you cannot and should not try to take away the vital life challenges and obstacles from them. These crucial moments will help them grow and develop and make them more equipped to handle adult life.

Your child will not like this new approach and it will create psychological discomfort in both parties, but this must be done and you must be relentless. This will be one of the greatest gifts you will ever give your child, the ability to stand up to life.

I encourage you to watch this video:

☕Thanks for reading my blog post! Your Rock!😉
🌟I help people to discover, develop and use their resources to empower themselves & create change in their lives. 🌟 Need my help? Simply follow this link, send me a message and I’ll get back to you asap.

Donovan – Life Coach – 078 952 0328

Donovan - Life Coach

You might also enjoy

If you think you need a life coach, You Do!

One-on-one coaching will help you clarify your purpose and amplify your confidence.
— Schedule a Free Consultation!