All boys aren’t the same but as any single mom can tell you, raising a boy on her own is challenging. But a single mom can raise her son into an amazing man one day. Here are 6 tips for single moms on that journey.
“Did you ever stop to think that maybe I’m upset about my friend moving away?”
My son half yelled this at me, half asked me this through his tears. We were trying to discuss how a simple request of mine had become a huge argument.
I knew his friend was moving away. He talked about it briefly, but he seemed okay with it for the most part. So, I didn’t worry about it much.
But now, I could see my mistake. My little boy had been hurting for a week, and I missed it.
When my daughter’s friend moved away, there was emotional upheaval in the house for a good month. We talked about it each night, laying in her bed for hours discussing what she loved about her friend and even making a memory wreath she could hang up in her room to help her with the transition.
But when my son asked me that question, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
“No,” I thought, “I didn’t think you were upset about your friend and that’s why you were yelling at me and refusing to do a simple chore a week later.”
Because quite simply, I’m a girl, and we deal with our emotions differently than boys.
Living in a single-parent home and parenting a child of a different sex will continue to throw me some curveballs, especially as we hit the teen years.
I’m guessing if you’re a single mom raising a boy on your own, you can relate.
6 Things Single Moms Raising Amazing Boys Should Keep in Mind
This list below isn’t exhaustive, and of course, all boys and all girls aren’t the same. But as any single mom can tell you, raising a boy on her own is challenging.
1. Boys need male role models
Not having an adult male in the house strains the family in situations beyond finances, help around the house and yard and other common reasons.
But for our boys to have someone who understands what they are going through when they process emotions, puberty, dating, and all the other milestones of life is not something to be ignored.
If your son’s father is not in the picture, who else can help mentor him? Is there a positive male influence in your family, such as a grandfather or uncle he can spend one-on-one time with?
If not, consider a family friend or youth group at the church if led by a man; even though one-on-one time may not be possible initially, a relationship may form.
What’s important is that he sees respectful, godly men in his life that he feels comfortable talking to.
Your son won’t feel comfortable asking his mom everything, especially in the teen years. Trying to force this relationship or kidding yourself that tells you everything sets you both up for failure.
2. his own space
If you have daughters as well, make sure your son has room to be himself.
To grow up in an environment where he is the only male can be difficult. Put yourself in his shoes if you lived (and maybe you did) with your father and brothers with no mother or sisters. To have room just for you and your girl things would be very important to you.
He will need time alone and his own space. If his own room isn’t possible, then designated an area just for him.
If possible, give him his own bathroom or his own space in the bathroom. Allow him to have an area that you don’t intrude on and ask questions. Give him a little bit of leeway and trust he isn’t getting into trouble, he just needs a place to call his own.
Even grown men want their own man cave, to give a boy a small space will help him feel like he has a little bit of privacy and control.
3. Boys are boys. They aren’t “little men.”
Don’t expect your son to take over responsibilities in the house meant for a man. Let him be a boy.
Let your son cry. Don’t tell him to “be a man.
Be careful about slotting your son into household chores that are a typical man or husband chores. Make both children (if you have a daughter too) take out the trash, do the dishes, help with the lawn.
You’ll be doing both of your children a favor in the future when they grow up and have homes of their own.
4. Boys are sensitive too
Boys sometimes show their soft side differently than girls. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t sensitive. At a young age, they are still trying to figure out how to express their emotions outwardly.
When we put my children’s first dog to sleep, in the weeks following, my children felt all the usual emotions.
One day my son threw a massive fit about needing to use big gardening tools to build a snow fort. I suggested he use buckets instead. Me saying no angered him, and he refused to come inside for an hour, preferring to stay outside and throw snowballs at the house.
At first, I was annoyed with what I took as irrational behavior. Then I realized he needed to blow off steam, which is one way he shows his sadness of losing his beloved pet.
His show of grief was a marked difference from his sister, who was verbally processing her sadness.
He chose to throw snowballs at the house, which in my book, is equal to hitting a pillow. It got his anger out and it didn’t hurt anyone.
5. Be willing to talk about the tough topics
Be willing to talk to your son about sex and his body but also sensitive to the fact that he may be more comfortable having these conversations with his father or another male.
If he doesn’t open up to you or you aren’t able to have these conversations with him, discuss any concerns you have with his father or another role model in his life.
Try giving your son books on the topic if he won’t talk about it. Usually, boys are more open to this discussion the younger they are, so the earlier you broach this subject, the better. Once their bodies start to change, they become too self-conscious and close down.
6. show an interest in their things
Boys may not seem very talkative if you sit them down and try to start a conversation.
But if you show interest in their things: video games, sports, Legos, or whatever and sit with them, they can be more likely to open up. One reason is that they are busy with their hands, and they don’t have to make eye contact with you.
You may have to try this approach multiple times and be willing to sit in silence for a while before opening up, but it’s worth it once they do.