Jeb Bush admits which family member he loves most

In New Hampshire on Thursday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he loved his mom more than his dad. Here's why that's OK.
Jan 08, 2016

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  • Given both his father and brother are former presidents of the United States, 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush knew his own presidential campaign would involve his family, one way or another.

  • He probably didn't expect to tell people he loved one parent over another, though.

  • During a speech in New Hampshire on Thursday, Bush admitted that he has more love for his mom, Barbara Bush, than his father, George H.W. Bush, The New York Times reported.

  • "I get asked all the time: 'Well, are you like your brother? Are you like your dad?'" he said. "I know there's a real fascination about this. Let's just — let me get this out of the way: I love my mother more than my dad," Bush told New Hampshire citizens in a town-hall style event. "Put aside all the 41 and 43 — who you like, all that stuff that's a People magazine kind of fascination."

  • Bush used this as a way to distinguish himself from his family's political history, which has already categorized him in the minds of some American voters. Bush has often had to defend his family's politics during this campaign season.

  • "I'm blessed, that's all I have to tell you," he said. "I'm blessed to be George and Barbara's son, and I'm blessed to be George W.'s brother. But the world we're in today is dramatically different than 2000, when my brother got elected, and 2001, when the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and the plane went down in Pennsylvania."

  • Bush isn't alone in his high amount of adoration for his mom. After all, boys and their mothers often have very strong relationships, which has created the "mama's boy" moniker.

  • And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

  • A 2013 study that looked at 30 middle-class families found that children, whether a son or daughter, are happier when they see their moms at the end of the day, improving their well-being, The Atlantic reported.

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  • The study looked at how children reacted when they saw their parent after getting home from school or daycare, and found that children often were happier to see the parent they saw first. For most families, that parent was the mother, some of whom didn't work, or worked fewer hours than their husband.

  • Though the finding isn't surprising, the study also noted that about 59 percent of children welcomed their mothers with a "greeting, hugging, or otherwise demonstrating affection" compared to the 44 percent who did so to their fathers, the study said.

  • Some have criticized boys for growing strong attachments to their mothers, though. Time's Kate Stone Lombardi wrote that some critics think that boys who have strong relationships with their mothers are less masculine or tough. These critics say mothers don't help boys develop their manhood very well.

  • "A mother who is similarly involved in her son's life is often accused of coddling, meddling, smothering or acting inappropriately," Lombardi wrote. "While we don't worry about an involved father 'masculinizing' his daughter, there is clearly concern about the feminizing influence of Mom."

  • Still, research has shown that the mother-son bond can be strong and help a child's development. Lombardi cites a study from Child Development journal that found boys who don't form strong relationships with their moms tend "to be more aggressive and destructive children."

  • And children who try to separate themselves from their moms also "become anxious little boys who carry a fear of intimacy and betrayal into their adult years," Lombardi wrote.

  • In fact, some of the most successful men throughout history, like NBA star LeBron James and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, have shared heavy adoration for their mothers and have even been considered "mama's boys," CNN's Peggy Drexler noted.

  • There's a certain advantage to this. Drexler pointed to a number of different research papers and studies that show, in total, boys with strong relationships with their mothers tend to be better at problem-solving, become respectful of women and have fewer behavioral issues as a child, giving them the tools to lead a successful life.

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  • And what's probably the most important for Jeb Bush, mama's boys tend to be strong and capable leaders, she wrote.

  • "Studies support the idea that boys who grow up having tight relationships with their mothers have a certain advantage," Drexler wrote. "They become strong, independent leaders. Just look at the commander in chief. Barack Obama has gladly admitted he was a mama's boy."

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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