Are you a single mom? Here is how to raise your boy into a strong man
On July 27th 2013, Don Lemon made a comment on CNN that led to scathing criticism on social media. More than 72% of children from African-American community are born out of wedlock, he said.
This is an express train to prison, Lemon added. And the reason why the vicious circle of fatherlessness rages on. Lemon’s observation is not unique to the American context. What he says about fatherlessness is true, even in our context.
“More than 72% of children in the African-American community are born out of wedlock.”
— Don Lemon, CNN commentary on Saturday, July 27th, 2013
Our work with boys in juvenile prison proves Don Lemon is correct about prison. 50% of boys at Kamiti Youth Corrective Training Centre come from families led by single moms. The other half either belongs to the streets or have absent fathers.
Most of these boys are convicted of crimes that include:-
- handling stolen goods
- drug and substance abuse
- robbery with violence
What has this got to do with me?
As a single mom, there is no doubt that raising a family alone is a big task. You have to be the breadwinner, disciplinary master as well as a role model to your children. You may have success juggling these roles on your own without help. However, you will never be your children’s father! That is how vital a father is to your children’s well-being.
At a certain age, boys tend to distance themselves from their mothers. This is where the problem begins. You no longer have a way to keep him in check regardless of what you say or do. This is because your son needs something that is beyond your ability and effort.
So, how do you bring up a strong boy child when the father is not there?
How to bring up a strong boy without a father
- Find a male role model
Essentially, every child needs a role model from both sexes. As such, it is imperative for you to find a male role model for your son. This can be his uncles, grandfathers or your work colleagues. You can also find a male role model from church. This will enable your son to become a strong man. But, you need to exercise caution.
Finding the right man to model your son isn’t going to be that easy. Ensure that the man you are picking for your son isn’t interested in you! Some male colleagues may use this to have a sexual affair with you. This may end up hurting your relationship with your son.
A better way of finding the right man is involving your son in a sporting activity. An example of a group where your son is likely to find the right male role model is Team Tri Fit. Apart from finding a role model, your son will grow into a strong boy.
- Avoid venting your frustrations
There are times when you will need a man to help with tasks that are beyond your physical capabilities. These tasks may include moving around the furniture or any other demanding task.
However, you should not vent your frustrations in front of your son. The same applies to airing your frustrations, anger and disappointment with his father. Venting your frustrations may injure your son’s relationship with his father.
Follow this link to learn how you can spend quality time with your teen
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Help isn’t far away. You are surrounded by more experienced mothers who are willing to empower you to becoming the best mother you can ever be. Reach out to them.
- Give him responsibilities
Much as you can someone help with tasks that needs a man, your son needs to get involved. Give your son a chance to help out and be the man of the house. Show him he is the one responsible for your protection as well as his the well-being of his siblings. This can include locking the door at night and answering the door when someone visits.
You can also ask for his input about your family’s affairs, where to eat dinner or even stay. By doing so, your son will grow up knowing it is his responsibility to protect his future family. Nonetheless, do not take it to the point where your sons plays his father’s roles.
- Bathroom etiquette
As expected, boys will use the bathroom the same way those closest to him do. You can enlist the help of an uncle to teach your son the correct bathroom etiquette for boys.
Enlisting the help of a man will teach your son how to use the bathroom like a man. This is especially so when peeing. In the effect that you cannot find a man to help with peeing, you should teach your son to pee standing up.
- Say positive things about his father
Eventually, your son will observe and form an opinion about various life issues. This may include the things he sees other children do with their fathers. He will get back to you and ask tough questions.
Thus, it is important to bring up the subject of his father at an early age. This will help your child to progress through life with little worry. He will not have to question why he sees other children with their fathers in the park while all he sees is you.
Using the above pointers, you should manage to bring up your boy with little effort. Remember, there are more experienced mothers around you. These mothers are willing to empower you to becoming the best mother you can ever be. Reach out to them.
You can also talk to us and find out how our Standing With Boys program can empower your son. We are always available and look forward to finding the best solution for your son. Feel free to contact us or leave comments below this post.
James Ouma is a CTI Clarity Coach, Cyclist and Writer. He is passionate about positive masculinity and helping incarcerated male teens to reconcile with their families and their communities. He loves staring at his bicycle, flipping through movies without watching them, and playing ‘tap out’ with his wife.