What is a 'Boy Mom'? We explain the TikTok trend and why it's so controversial

We need to talk about the 'Boy Mom' trend...

A mother giving her toddler son a piggyback
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Kim Kardashian says she's a 'Boy Mom' - but what does it mean and why is it controversial?

Modern motherhood is full of enough challenges - enter matrescence and explaining the mental load to your partner - without social media muscling in and telling you how you should parent your children (or judging you for doing it your way). And over on TikTok, there's one trend that has divided the internet - 'Boy Moms'.

Those who spend a lot of time on the video sharing app might be familiar with this particular type of mum - which is often branded as 'toxic' and 'Freudian' (referring to the theory that children have a possessive attachment to their parent of the opposite sex). And it's controversial because self-identifying 'Boy Moms' often refer to a 'special' bond between themselves and their son that they don't feel can be experienced with a daughter. After Kim Kardashian called herself a 'Boy Mom' in a recent episode of The Kardashians, the trend is continuing to divide mothers. 

Women's counsellor Georgina Sturmer explains, "We’ve all heard of the stereotype ‘mummy's boy’ and ‘daddy’s girl’, which encapsulate the concepts of Sigmund Freud’s ‘Oedipal complex’. But how does this all translate into modern society? There’s often a sense that boys are tougher to raise in their younger years because they are often more physical, but when it comes to the teenage years, girls are considered more difficult to raise."  

What is a 'Boy Mom'?

The difference between being a mother to a boy and a so-called 'Boy Mom' is that the latter take a 'boys will be boys' attitude to parenting, spoiling and doting on their sons while seeing a boy's love as superior to that of a girl. 

It's a complicated phenomenon, but '#BoyMom' has taken TikTok by storm, with some parents joining in on the trend and others distancing themselves from it. Videos tagged #BoyMom include mothers vowing to hate their young sons' future girlfriends - there are a lot of mums teaching their toddlers to cook 'so they won't be impressed by your daughter's cooking' - and explaining why their bond with their son is much better than that of a daughter.


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But there are also plenty of mothers of sons hitting back at the trend too, either parodying 'Boy Moms' or explaining that they teach their sons to cook 'so your daughter doesn't have to deal with a man who thinks cooking is a woman's job' or, understandably, 'so he can feed himself'.


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Recently, Kim Kardashian labelled herself a 'Boy Mom'. During an episode of The Kardashians, she said, "My son Saint has a newfound obsession, love for soccer, so I decided I want to plan this legendary trip of a lifetime. I love my girls, but a girl, like, steals your clothes and has an attitude, y’know? There’s nothing like being a boy mom. Like, seriously, it’s the best."

Kim faced backlash for the comments, with one Reddit user writing, "So much negativity.. hope her daughters don’t hear those kind of comments." Another added, "And that's why these women give trash men so many chances. Big internalized misogyny."

But Kim might not be alone. A 2010 poll of 2,500 mothers conducted by parenting site Netmums found that more than half (54.9%) said they found it easiest to bond with their sons, and that mothers are twice as likely to be critical of their daughters than their sons (21% compared to 11.5%).

In addition, over a fifth (21.5%) said they let their sons get away with more, compared to 17.8% who said the same about their daughters. And mothers were more likely to attribute positive personality traits to their sons rather than their daughters, too.

While boys were more likely to be described as funny, cheeky, playful and loving, girls were more likely to be described as stroppy, eager to please, serious and argumentative - as per The Independent

What's so bad about being a 'Boy Mom'?

Not all mothers of boys subscribe to the 'Boy Mom' way of thinking, but critics of the trend have labelled it as toxic, and a way of stereotyping boys and girls while excusing bad behaviour from sons. 

Lifestyle blogger, vlogger and content creator Anna Saccone posted a video tagged #BoyMom on the platform in 2022, explaining that while she loves her four kids equally, "that last little boy just hits different." She goes on to say that when her son hits or punches his sisters she thinks, "Maybe he's having a hard day", and adds, "When I think about my daughters getting married, I get excited...When I think about my son’s wedding I wanna cry."

And despite finishing the video by saying, "Boy moms we gotta step up, we gotta realise we are the problem," that hasn't stopped her from posting several more videos about why her son is her favourite


♬ original sound - Anna Saccone Joly

Anna is one of many mothers on the platform who have shared a similar sentiment, and her video highlights the issues with the 'Boy Mom' trend. The fact that she seemingly lets her son get away with hitting her other children because she has a better bond with him is viewed as alarming to many.

One viewer commented on her post, "This is going to teach him that when he is angry it is perfectly ok to hit people or women more specifically," and another said, "What if he has a bad day and decides to hit his partner?" One viewer added, "You’re laughing like this is something funny… No, this is extremely concerning."

However, it's normal to have a favourite...

The 'Boy Mom' phenomenon breaks the taboo that parents shouldn't have a favourite child, but research in the Journal of Family Psychology found that up to 74% of mothers and 70% of fathers in the UK exhibited preferential treatment towards one child.

So it's totally normal for parents to bond with one child more than another, and it's not always solely to do with their gender.

Katie McCann is a parenting blogger and founder of From Bump to Bubble, as well as a mother to one daughter and one son. She says, "Parent-child bonding is a deeply personal experience and can vary for numerous reasons, including shared interests, personality compatibility, and even the parent's own upbringing.

From our writer...

A headshot of Ellie Hutchings

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Ellie Hutchings - Features Editor

"After spending just a few minutes looking at videos tagged #BoyMom on TikTok, I understood why so many people are concerned by this trend. I'm all for mothers loving their sons, forming a special bond with them and sharing their love on social media - if that's what they want to do - but I can't get behind trends that allow harmful behaviour and perpetuate damaging stereotypes. It's certainly not true that all mothers of boys have this attitude, but it's some. And some is too many."

"While some mothers might feel a stronger bond with their sons, others may find a deeper connection with their daughters. It's essential to recognize that these bonds are unique and not inherently tied to the child's gender."

And while having a 'favourite' might mean that siblings are parented slightly differently - just like children of different genders are parented differently - this isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

Counsellor Georgina Sturmer says, "Regardless of our own feelings about gender equality, the reality is that our world has different expectations of boys and girls. So, as mothers, it’s likely that we will feel a need to raise our children to thrive within the confines of our society." 

In other parenting news, relationship expert Anna Williamson reveals 'The biggest mistake couples go through when they've had a baby' and we reveal the 164-year-old Swedish secret to raising happy and resilient kids.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.