Co-host of the Tonight’s Conversation podcast, Ajna Surah, has Instagram users divided over her claim that single mothers often produce “fuckboy” sons.
Ajna made her controversial thoughts known during a Season 3 episode of the podcast, which focuses on Black love, relationships and dating. The mother of one, who is a boy mom herself, argued that “a lot of times, single mothers do everything but [fuck] their sons.”
“That’s why a lot of the time I say a single mother is a ‘fuckboy factory,'” she explained before claiming that a fuckboy raised in a two-parent household was an “anomaly.”
Ajna asserted that many boy moms who are single become far too “emotionally dependent” on their male children. She claimed women who “date” their sons “will convince themselves that they don’t need a man” because they’ve placed their child in a romantic role. The mother of one argued that some women problematically treat their sons like their lovers because they struggle to navigate the realities of their loneliness.
“And now we’re having to deal with the imbalance in the household because this boy is not your son — he is your man. When you want to cuddle, you go lay down with them. When you want some emotional time, you go watch movies with them. You touch them and you rub them and you massage them and you do these things…”
Instagram users had mixed opinions about how Ajna called out mothers with longed for their sons.
Quite a few commenters emphasized that they’d never been or encountered a boy mom who’s single and inappropriately leaning on their son for love. Relatedly, some asked if Ajna was possibly projecting her own experiences onto others.
Meanwhile, several agreed with what the podcast co-host had to say. A few people who found Anja’s argument truthful said mothers who leaned on their sons for emotional support and stability were often problematic when the child brought around a spouse.
“She is speaking the truth, but the majority of single mothers don’t do this.”
“I’VE TALKED TO PLENTY OF WOMEN WHO TREATED THEIR SONS LIKE THEIR MAN AND NOT A SON. But so many women commenting saying they don’t know any women who do that. WELL, SOMEBODY IS LYING HERE.”
“I’ve seen it. Then, they get jealous when he finds a wife.”
“She told the truth. And this is when you’ll see that when that boy becomes a man and gets his own relationship with a woman, the mother is there hovering and sabotaging. This is a word!”
“What she is speaking on is parentification, as well as spousification. This is very true!”
As the latter commenter noted, parentification and spousification are definitely real.
Parentification is when a child has to take on a parental role in the household for their siblings or adult guardians. WebMD noted that emotional parentification occurs when parents “impose their emotional needs on their children and seek emotional and mental support from them.” Notably, the emotional toll on the child can lead to long-term mental health stressors such as depression and anxiety. The outlet noted that emotional parentification “is considered more complex” than instrumental parentification, wherein the child bears the weight of “chores and responsibilities [inappropriate] for their age group.”
Relatedly, a reading published in a 2015 copy of the Developmental Review on confusion in parent-child relationships defined spousification, a.k .a. “seductive care.” The latter source described the term as “flirtatious or overly physically intimate parental behavior towards a child that would be more appropriate between parent and romantic partner.”
The Attachment Project defines enmeshed relationships as those wherein boundaries are “nonexistent or identical” because those involved are too intertwined. More information about familial enmeshment noted that the unhealthy bond doesn’t allow the child to assert their autonomy and independence.
The source noted that mother-son enmeshment “is typically more common when the mother shows narcissistic tendencies.” Signs of a codependent relationship between a mother and son include inappropriate closeness, difficulty separating and emotional manipulation from the mother to the son.
A 2010 study in the National Library of Medicine found that “later-born” sons — the youngest male child of the household — grew up starkly different than their siblings in Black households. The study was titled, “Do African American Mothers Really ‘Love’ Their Sons And ‘Raise’ Their Daughters.”
“The results showed that later-born boys had fewer chores, argued more with their mothers, lived in less cognitively stimulating homes, and were not allowed to make the same decisions as were the girls or firstborn boys at the same age. The later-born boys were also lowest in achievement and highest in externalizing behaviors.”
The Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention stated that in 2022, “More than half (51.2%) of all Black children lived with one parent, compared with about 1 in 5 (21.3%) of white children.”
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