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Mama's Boys Grow Up to be More Secure Men

Mom and son

A new study says boys nurtured by their moms hold fewer grudges as adults

A friend’s mom once told me that a way the man treats his mom is the way he’ll treat his wife. And according to a new study, that isn’t just an old wives (or old mom’s) tale.

The way men interact in their adult relationships has a lot to do with the relationship they had with their mom as infants. Researchers at the University of Minnesota tracked a group of people born in the mid-1970s until they were college-age. When discussing hot-button issues, the men who had bonded strongly with their moms as infants were able to recover well from the discussion and move on to other topics of conversation. Those who weren’t close with their moms when they were young acted liked, well, toddlers and had trouble transitioning productively to another discussion.

According to an article in Time about the new research published in the journal Psychological Science, when reviewing their research, the scientists discovered the babies most easily soothed by their moms between 12 and 18 months old more easily controlled their emotions after a fight when they reached adulthood.

However, the study does say that even people not attached to their moms as babies can still have healthy relationships later in life if they choose a partner who did share requited love with their mom — in fact, such a couple has a 75% chance of staying together, according to the study. Two adults with insecure attachments as infants have only a 22% chance of success however.

“We found that people who were insecurely attached as infants but whose adult romantic partners recover well from conflict are likely to stay together,” Jessica E. Salvatore, lead author and a Ph.D. student in child psychology at the University of Minnesota said in Time. “This research shows that romantic relationships may compensate, in specific ways, for vulnerabilities people carry with them early on in development.”

For the study, insecure attachment was measured using a series of “mildly stressful separations and reunions between baby and caregiver.” The results were that secure babies were fine with their mom leaving, and those babies in turn become adults who don’t let a conflict bleed into and spoil other parts of their relationship.

The study appears to be good news for mama’s boys, a term which doesn’t necessarily carry the most positive association. But based on these findings, who wouldn’t want to end up with one?

Are you raising a mama’s boy?

Image: MorgueFile

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