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When I was pregnant, I asked myself if I would prefer to have a boy or a girl. There were many reasons for either one, but I was a little worried about having a boy. Why? I found myself to be an over protective mother-to-be, and I was worried that my boy would become a mama's boy.

Posts from new wives complaining about their mother-in-law's hold on their husbands are not uncommon on popular Chinese online forum Tianya. In most cases, the mother-in-law has a very strong character and likes to control everything, including her son who amazingly seems to enjoy being controlled. The wife would complain that her husband never does any house chores or takes care of their child or that her husband never takes her side when she argues with his mother. The husband would tell his wife that she should not fight with his mother whether she is right or wrong because she brought him up.

I have worked in the field of study abroad counseling for over eight years now. I mainly deal with undergraduate college students who want to read for a master's degree abroad. Some of the males show strong symptoms of being a mama's boy. For example, a male student with a 3.8 GPA got into one of the top 50 universities in the US, and his father told me that he and his wife would accompany him to the US for at least the first month of his master's.

To be frank, I was not shocked. It was not the first and will not be the last time I hear of such things.

I wonder whether his parents also dress him and tie his shoelaces like I do for my 2-year-old daughter. A mama's boy never grows up. I envy them!

I have another "special" student. He is in his 40s, and his daughter has already attended college. After his first week with his host family, he called me in the middle of the night. I thought it was an emergency and picked up.

He sounded furious. Guess why? He left the light and air conditioner on in his room while he was out, and his host reminded him to save energy. He told me he's the one paying the rent, and he should have the right to leave things on.

That night, I had to call on my experience of calming my baby girl down in the middle of the night when she was still a newborn.

Personally, I think the term mama's boy is incomplete. It should be changed into "parent's child." It's not only boys. Girls also refuse to grow up after turning 18, after getting married and even after having their own child.

I do not think it is their fault. A child is what their parents make them. So, please let go of your child. Please let him make his own mistakes, experience his own life and go his own way.

Be a parent, not an animal keeper. Will you?

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.