When Mothers Emasculate Their Sons

When you have a child you want to be the perfect parent to them; my son is going to turn 4 years old in June, and it has been so crazy, beautiful, and wonderful all at the same time.  But there are times when I wish I really knew what I was doing – sure you can ask parents, friends, and mentors and get wonderful ideas and advice from different perspectives, but when it comes down to it, you never really know if you’re completely doing everything right.

I think if I had to pick the biggest mistake that a mother could make with her son (and my biggest fear), it would be this emasculation process.  What exactly is emasculation of your son anyway?  Reading Wild at Heart by John Eldredge years ago really opened my eyes to what it’s like to live in a man’s world – his problems, fears, passions, and how things in childhood can really affect his masculinity later on.

Emasculation, as this book explains through it’s examples, is a mother’s not allowing her boys to make the transition from her sweet, adoring baby to a male that wants to be adventurous, wild, and even dangerous.  Not allowing him to learn to shoot a gun when he’s old enough, not allowing him to be with his dad if you’re divorced, or go on hunting trips, fishing trips, camping trips… these things are invaluable to boys and often remembered in their adulthood.

Overprotecting your son (and even your daughter) is just not good.  It gives them the message, “We don’t think you can handle this, so we’re stopping you from even trying it.”  It lets them know that you don’t have confidence in them.  You give them a confidence complex because they constantly feel that you don’t believe in them in the deepest way.

Boys especially, need that affirmation that they really can handle it.  Men have it hard in life, they are always expected by society to be able to handle anything – and this isn’t just our modern society, all throughout history men have been expected to be able to handle life as the sole provider, the frustrations of working to support ridiculously large families, and the brutality and horror of war.  If a boy is expected to be happy later in life, he needs to feel that he can handle it, he needs to know his mother believes in him.

Dads play a special role in this process as you can imagine… they are the idol to a boy.  It’s strange though, that nearly every man I’ve met has had a difficult relationship with his father (including my own brother which can show you how different siblings can even be treated).  The different ways in which dads fail to establish a good relationship with their sons is a different post altogether, but rest assured that dads have the responsibility of bestowing masculinity on their sons – as a mom, I just can’t do it.

“Femininity can’t bestow Masculinity”


Even right now this morning as I write, my son has drawn on tattoos of crosses on his legs with his dark blue marker!  His response when I act a little shocked: Well, I like tattoos because I’m a BOY… like Daddy.

Point taken.


  1. I wish I could share my childhood, but it was not good for my maleness to develop.

    I read John’s books.. I like what he had to say.

    I think you are right.

    Males live in a tough culture to act really male


  2. Thank you Frank! So many men don’t have the ideal childhood… my husband didn’t… my brother really didn’t (hard to admit)… it’s like a crisis that society is having to deal with maybe? Our culture really is anti-male in many ways. Part of the aim of my blog is to make these issues aware… because they affect society being a culture issue. They affect our dads, our sons, our brothers, our marriages… and overall, people’s happiness in general!

    The effeminate male is becoming more and more prevalent, much to the feminists’ delight.

  3. Is this why half the ‘ladies’ these days are covered in tatts, swill beer with the boys and can’t wait to sign up with the army: “Join us! Go overseas! Meet nice people, and kill them!“?
    Sadly for them no matter how much more of a ‘man’ they may be than me I have something they never will. Okay … I was born with it, maybe one day soon for them it will be a cosmetic operation … yuk …

  4. Set the bar high for the kind of terrific, supportive and honest woman that he will eventually find. Honor him for being the man God created him to be. And have faith that God and testosterone will do the rest. 🙂 Peace, HD

  5. The risk you run from “you can’t handle this” is that when he escapes your clutches he starts living as close to the edge as he can to find out what he can handle. Easy to go over the edge from that place and never come back.

    Boys want adventure. Danger. Excitement. Best to provide that under guidance. My parents didn’t. It is a wonder I survived. I do have some stories to tell.

  6. LOL, yep, sounds like my brother in a way… my parents were a bit overprotective (but wonderful in so many other ways).

    And I totally agree, boys (and even men, though many may not be in touch with it) crave “Danger. Excitement.” etc. I like that website for men, Danger & Play – a great resource for men in our anti-male society.

  7. Maybe people should stop having children and harming them. Maybe we should stop forcing people to live this unsatisfactory life. Maybe we should stop repeating this ridiculous life cycle that is full of misery and suffering and accomplishes nothing. If you actually believe the world is evil, then stop throwing children into it.

    Antinatalism is the only way to prevent harm, misery, and suffering of humans. Thanks.

  8. Adam, sorry your comment is just full of ignorant suggestions/statements. We’re combating the evil in this world by raising up strong, good, moral children that will become strong, good, hero and warrior-like men. And I’m pregnant right now with our third LOL, so telling me to “stop throwing children into” this world isn’t going to happen. We actually NEED more children, the birth-rates for continuing civilization in the Western world cultures are to the point of non-replacement in some areas. America still has a chance.

    I’m sorry, but I will not stand idly by and watch evil just overcome our world. My family comes from a long line of heroes and brave men and women – people who built America actually. The Police Officer who shot the Muslim refugee who was running over University students and slashing them with a knife… he’s the kind of man we need more of here. He’s also the kind of man we’re raising in our two boys. He’s the exact same kind of man that I happen to be married to and so proud of for being so much braver and willing to risk his life to combat evil in this world than your average person’s complacency.

    Antinatalism isnt the “only way to prevent harm, misery, and suffering of humans.” Fighting back strong against evil is.

  9. As long as there is sentient life on earth, there will always be evil, harm, misery, and suffering. This is an undeniable fact. If you’re fine with suffering existing, then there’s nothing I can say or do for you. Me personally, I’m not fine with suffering existing…that’s why I’m an antinatalist and will never reproduce and force this existence on other people.

    We keep perpetuating human existence for no good reason. This life is a game that does not need to be played. We think life needs to continue, but it doesn’t…life on planet earth is not fulfilling some need in the universe. The best work humans can do is attempting to clean up the messes that life causes, but we never fully clean up all the mess. Then we create more life and the suffering continues and for what reason?? Remember, your children had no need or desire to come into existence. But now they’re here and they have needs/hungers/desires. However, these needs did not need to exist.

  10. Think of it this way, no child ever gives his/her consent to participate in life. Life is always imposed on people. Some people have relatively good lives, some have horrible lives, some are in-between. But, a parent really has no control over what a child will go through. It could be really bad. Thus, it’s better not to take enormous risks with a child’s welfare for the parent’s own gratification.

  11. I was thinking about what you said concerning suffering yesterday. I know life can be extremely cruel and harsh and it’s not fair what innocent children have to go through. To me, I’ve always heard/read that you kind of just have to accept that this life will be hard, unfair, and full of suffering to different degrees. Your other comment talking about it sounds almost suicidal 😦 like there’s no point of life on earth or purpose because of the evil’s presence. I think there is a point and purpose, I think we can have a good attitude even in the face of suffering, but that doesn’t make the suffering really that much easier depending on what is going on.

  12. I’m not suicidal (at least not now). I have a relatively good life but I’ve also had suffering and problems…not nightmarish though like some people. A person can know these truths about existence and continue on living even though it does make life that much harder.

    I think that having a good attitude just doesn’t cut it. If you’re feeling good, but other people are in misery, what’s the point? It’s good to do all you can to alleviate suffering, but there is always suffering that is not being attended to. The only way to guarantee human suffering does not continue is to stop opening the door to more harm and suffering (aka stop reproducing).

  13. Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed this exchange. I can tell you’re a good person, wife, and mother. Your husband and children are lucky people.

  14. It is hard to live in a world with so much suffering… I think about things like that a lot and it’s what motivates me to try to do **something** about helping people. But it does bother me sometimes that there’s just no way that one person can help everyone. There really will always be suffering.

    I heard a quote just yesterday I think about Mother Theresa, that “She didn’t do it all, but she gave it her all.” It really inspired me because I always feel sad that I can’t do enough. But if Mother Theresa had thought that way, along with all the other men and women who have helped many people in history, they might have given up and not accomplished anything at all! I don’t know if you’re familiar with Oscar Schindler… a man who saved 100s of Jews (I think just above 1000). There’s a great movie made about what exactly he did to save all those Jews from death and concentration camps, but at the end, he has an emotional breakdown because he wishes he could have saved so many more 😥 .

    The ones that he did save though went on to have rather good lives, build families and grow the Jewish population though. That wouldn’t have happened if he had felt too overwhelmed to do anything at all – or like saving them would have only prolonged their suffering. It’s right to fight against evil. It’s right to try to save people *from* something evil or from suffering when it’s within your ability and power to do so.

    Please don’t discount what you yourself can do to help others! My mom sponsors many children in India, sending them money for education and food and clothing etc. She sponsored one girl that was the same age as me, and when she turned 18 she wrote to my mom thanking her for everything. I know it’s only a handful of people my mom was able to affect, but even just watching her example has made me want to be like that and sponsor children and be a benefactor for them so their poverty doesn’t destroy them. Her example will also be taught to our children (the legacy is handed down like that), and hopefully they will be generous and mindful of doing things like that as well.

  15. Hi. I’m a man in my mid 20s and I can safely say that my mother did everything in her power to prevent me from becoming a man. Whether she was conscious of this is largely irrelevant; the damage has still be done. I am left to pick up the pieces and try to reinstate order in a life that was bereft of a solid male presence. In my generation there are many damaged males like this. Please for the love of God, never lose sight of the fact that your son is different from you, and will grow to become a different kind of human being. There is tremendous pain in males who are wounded by their mothers in this fundamental way.

  16. @Kill me

    It’s bad that the things happened to you in your past, however, you can try and move on find good masculine men in a church that can be a mentor to you and help you through any issues you may have if you haven’t done that already. I still struggle remembering the hard times I had in my past but these verses are always a good reminder.

    Isaiah 43:18-21New International Version (NIV)

    18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
    19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
    I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
    20 The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
    because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
    to give drink to my people, my chosen,
    21 the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise.

    Hope everything works out for the best and just remember you are not what your mom made you to be you are your own person and can make your own decisions. Even if that means cutting her out of your life for a time to heal and be the best man you can be.

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