I am a single mom raising a son. Before I start this post I want to say that I do believe for a child, particularly a boy, having both a mother and a father is a benefit. However, if you are in a situation like me, a single mom raising a son with no father around, then I also want to say that I do not think that your son is going to come off as any less than a man.
The fact of the matter is that people feel that it takes a man to raise a man. You can read my single mother story here, but I do not think that if my son’s father was in his life he could raise him better than I can. He battles with maintaining his own man hood so how can he raise one? Since he does not personify one.
I know what you are saying that was harsh, but it was not my intent to be harsh but it is my intent to tell the truth. And I had to be truthful with myself and tell myself that my son probably would not benefit from having him as a father, unfortunately. And I do with that it was different but the situation is what it is.
This is not a bashing session for fathers who are not there for their children, but I had to give a history and set precedence what I am about to tell you. And to also show you that I know where you are coming from because there are a lot of single moms out there raising a son, wondering if they can raise a man. And I am here to tell you that even though it may be harder, yes it can be done.
Single Mom Raising a Son, Raise Him To Be The Type of Man You Want To Marry
I wrote a blog on this previously (which you can read here), so I will not go into a lot of detail about it. As a single mom raising a son, you should know what type of man that you would want in your life, what type of man you want to marry, or what type of man that you think would be a good husband. And that is an advantage that you have as a woman.
Those same values that you want in a future husband or even the values that you may see lacking in other men that you have dating or perhaps even your son’s father. Instill those values in your son. Since you are a woman you have firsthand experience on how women want to be treated. Tell your son to always open the door for women, do not disrespect women or call them names, to never put his hand on a woman, and train them up the way that they should go and when they get older they will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
So many women complain that there are no good men out here in the world. Okay fine, you have the perfect opportunity to raise one. Raise him to be the type of man you want to marry. My son is only 9 but boy do I envy the woman that is going to marry him. Because as I raise him, I teach him what it means to value and respect women.
Single Mom Raising a Son, Have a Male Role Model
I am not a man. But there are some positive male role models that my son has. These men can be uncles, cousins, grandfathers, or any man that you know that will consistently be in your son’s life. I wrote about this in my when to introduce your boyfriend your child blog (click here to read). When it comes to men, the LAST thing you want to do is get a boyfriend and think that every boyfriend can be a father figure to your son.
Because if that relationship only last for 6 months or a year and you have multiple relationships like this. Then it is teaching your son that it is okay for men to come and go and bounce in and out of their lives. And that is the last perception that you want to give out. Have a consistent male role model. My son has a close family friend that has been in his life since he was a baby. He takes him out, to the movies, does activities, and teaches him “manly things” that perhaps I cannot relate to.
In fact, the few times that my son’s father did see him. My son quickly compared him to his male role model and saw for himself (not me telling him) that they were not the same. So no matter what your child’s father situation is like, if he is not consistent, if he cannot hold a job, or if he is in and out of jail. It is important for your son to have a male role model that does not model these things but models what a man should be. You do not want your son to think that the type of behavior his father is modeling is normal. My son more so takes after the family friend then he does his dad.
Single Mom Raising a Son, You Have To Be Both
I know many people say that a mother cannot be a father. And in a sense that is true. But the fact of the matter is that if you are a single mom raising a son, then you have to be both. You have to be the comforter and the disciplinary.
What I have observed from single moms raising sons is that they have a tendency to be too soft. They want to over compensate for the fact that the dad is not there or due to their female nature they do not know how to be more aggressive. But being too soft on a child or overly feminizing a child is not teaching him to be a man.
Naturally, my personality is more assertive and so it makes it easier for me to show my son this and to communicate this to him. There have been plenty of times, where he was allowing other students to take advantage of him at school. Many mothers would have visited the school or cuddled their child to make his hurt and pains go away. Not me, I dug into my son. And let him know that as a boy that is one day going to be a man that he has to demand respect. People will take advantage of you because you let them, so your job is to not let them and you have to teach people how to treat you. If you cannot get it under control now, then it will continue into adulthood. Man up son!
There were no cuddles, hugs, or allowing into have a pity party for himself. At the end of the day I am trying to raise a man. Not someone who is not going to be able to fight his own battles or handle himself as he goes through life. Because by doing enabling him I am not doing him ANY favors.
Some other things that I do with my son is that he is naturally into basketball. So I got into basketball. We play NBA on the XBOX, I know his favorite basketball player, and I actively engage in some of the more masculine hobbies that he is developing. I do not want him to develop a hobby in sports and not be able to express his passion at home. For some females such as myself more “boyish” hobbies such as gaming and sports may come natural. For others they may have to work at it. Even though you cannot transform yourself into a man, due to the situation you are in, often times you have to try to be both as hard as you can.
Single Mom Raising a Son – No Pity Party
My son is fully aware that he does not have a father living in the home and that his father does not come to see him. But in the end, it is the facts of life. It is what it is and me throwing a pity party for him or always mentioning it is not going to change that.
In the end, just about EVERYONE has their own burdens to bear. My son being without a father is not the end of the world and it will not hinder him growing up into a productive and responsible human being. So even though your son not having a father for whatever reason sucks, it is not the end all be all.
Do not throw your child a pity party and allow them to fester in what they do not have and think that just because they do not have a father it entitles them to be pitied by other people. It doesn’t. The fact of the matter is that no one is going to feel sorry for you as much as you feel sorry for yourself (click here to read my blog). How many times have you seen grown people, blaming their misfortune in life because they did not have a father?
That is no excuse. This is coming from someone (myself) who grew up without a father. My mother never made me feel that something was wrong with me, that I was at a disadvantage, or that I could not do anything that I did not want to do. That is why I sit here with a PhD and other people are sitting about complaining to the world that their life sucks and they cannot get a job because they have no father.
Yes not having a father is hard, but it is not a life choice that you or your child needs to carry with them into adulthood and make an excuse as to why they are failing at life. Do not allow your son to grow up into one of those people. It starts off at home, by not letting them play victim due to not having a father.
Single Mom Raising a Son – Put the Blame Where The Blame Needs To Be
I am not saying walk around and bash your ex to your son. But sometimes a conversation is needed to let a child no that the reason why their father is not a good father, does not come and see them, or is uninvolved is because THEY choose not to be.
I remember a few years back I asked my son if he felt it was his fault that his father did not come to see him. To my surprise he said yes. I quickly shut that down. It is not your fault, you cannot control other people, and then I went into the “let’s not throw yourself a pity party mode.” That was one of the first and last time we had that conversation and my son did understand that his dad had a car and if he wanted to be here (just like mommy is here every day) then he would be. But for whatever reason, reasons unrelated to him he is choosing not to be here. And in the end it is his father that is missing out on a great human being. I let my son know that he should feel no shame at all.
Single Mom Raising a Son – Be strong
I am very particular on how I appear in front of my son. I do not openly cry in front of him and even when I got laid off from my job I never let him know I was struggling financially or any other issues that I had. Since my son does not have a father, he needs to see a really strong mother. The type of mother that he sees is one that works hard, make sure he has a good education, and participates in extracurricular activities. Never does my son think for a minute that is life is subpar to his friend’s lives.
Because I do not allow him to see that. Even on my worst days, I get up, put a smile on my face, and be a mother to my son. Children observe you a lot even when you are not talking. They absorb your work ethic and your strength. What you are communicating by what you do can say more than what you say. And even though my son does not know the extent of how hard I work for him, when he is older he will and I am sure that it will make him stronger.
Being a single mom raising a son does not mean that you or your son is doomed. You can raise a completely good man, them not having a father is not the end all be all to their life. There are plenty of people who are raised with a father and still turn out to be a hot mess. Follow these tips and do your best when raising your son. That is all you can do.