Parenting can be hard at times, but raising a boy as a single mom can be even harder. It is difficult for single mothers to play the role as a father at the same time as being mom and bread winner. Single moms often feel guilt, anxiety and are even overwhelmed by the absence of the father and the added parenting responsibilities.
Single moms are great at nurturing and caring for their children. As a single mom raising a boy, you are presented with unique opportunities, and can provide him with the foundation he needs to be grounded, connected and accepted. You can do things with him like a father would, such as play ball, but you must have a different mindset while raising boys.
Tips for raising boys as a single mom
- Treat them as a father would.
- Teach him to be strong, to have good manners, and helpful behaviors.
- Allow him to express his feelings and let him know that it is okay to do so.
- Encourage him to learn how to cook, do laundry, even babysit if he has younger siblings.
- Provide outlets for aggression.
- Set limits or boundaries where needed to discourage inappropriate behavior
- Have conversations with them, even if it is about something silly.
- Support and motivate rather than criticize.
- Help them to build self-esteem.
- Teach empathy.
- Be consistent with discipline. Do not negotiate or bargain.
- Teach them to know when they make mistakes. Ensure that they understand what they did wrong and how to amend it.
- Model respect and how to treat others.
- Help them to develop coping skills to deal with life’s lessons and disappointments, such as being rejected by his first crush
- Give him some chores to teach responsibility. Chores also help to develop a strong work ethic and values system. Make it age appropriate. Things like taking out the trash, mowing or raking the yard, or even small repairs.
But boys also need a male figure in their life. As a mother you will not be able to counsel him on how it feels to go through puberty, to be embarrassed by guys in the locker room, or to miss his first play in a big game. You can love him through those times, but you will never understand his point of view.
Too often, single moms feel pressure to find a man to love so they can provide a male role model for their sons. But you do NOT need to have a man in YOUR life to have a man in your SON’S life. Having responsible male mentors as part of the boy’s life helps compensate for the absence of the father.
Find a respectable and trusted male relative or friend for your son to look up to and to spend “guy time” with. Ask them to be a mentor to your son. You can also have a coach, teacher, and pastor, anybody you feel comfortable with, to be there for him.
Another option is the Big Brother program. Every growing boy needs a father or a man who he can toss ball with, shoot baskets, play chase, someone to look up to in times of boy-moments and to turn to for a man’s perspective.