Project Directors: Nicolina M. Fedele, Ph.D., Cate Dooley, M.S.
This study seeks to emphasize connection between mothers and sons by defining stages in development and countering the pressures faced in each one.
According to traditional wisdom, close ties between mothers and sons are undesirable—even dangerous. Disconnection is viewed as the natural course of development for such relationships. Yet mothers and sons suffer as a result of this culturally-mandated separation: the mothers must endure the pain of losing a son to disconnection, while the sons suffer by failing to develop relational skills, retreating from both feelings and relationships.
Parenting in Connection
In response to the experiences of mothers, we have evolved a different approach to mother-son relationships, emphasizing strengthened connection rather than separation. Our goal is to define developmental stages, name the cultural barriers of each stage, and create relational strategies for countering the pressures faced by mothers and sons.
At each stage of boys' development, our alternative model, "Parenting in Connection," responds to relational conflicts and cultural pressures specific to particular age groups. While specific interventions are appropriate for a given developmental stage, we believe that it is never too late to begin the process of re-connecting.
We began the Mothers-Sons Project after several years of working with teachers, guidance counselors, and mothers of sons, convinced that there was a better way to foster the growth and development of boys. By bringing mothers together, with or without their sons, we identify, discuss, and explore new strategies for raising sons.
Our goal is to define developmental stages, name the cultural barriers of each stage, and create relational strategies for countering the pressures faced by mothers and sons.