The Solo Moms’ Survival Guide to Raising a Son
Image credit: Shutterstock
Advice for single moms who want their boys to become great men
As Solo Moms raising boys, we understand the complexity and beauty of this relationship. We worry about our boys. Do they need male role models? Are we asking too much of them? Will they become their father? We’ve assembled advice from Solo Moms who ask the same questions and walk the same road. A quick look at the Sons & Daughters section of our Hall of Fame shows that single moms often raise extraordinary men. We’d love to hear about your experience raising sons. ESME is proud to be a small part of that journey!
I have raised two sons as a Solo Mom. They are both young adults now and have a good sense of how to be kind, respectful, capable, and responsible men in the world. I wasn’t sure that would happen, as their father was not able to demonstrate those qualities to them. They had me, but I didn’t think that was enough.
It’s easy to turn to your older children for help and support after a bad divorce or if things are just tough. But giving your son responsibilities usually taken on by a male partner isn’t fair to your son.
My biggest goal with my children has always been to be open with them about how the world works because as I was growing up, especially when I was a teenager, I often felt unprepared for the situations I found myself in. Talking with my teenage son recently, I realized he was seeing the hashtag #MeToo on social media and that I owed it to every girl and woman out there to talk to him about what it all means.
Before I became a parent, I never imagined that one night after his bath, my preteen son would come running into the living room, completely naked, to show off his brand-new pubic hair. But that’s exactly what happened, and now that I, as a Solo Mom, have successfully gotten two boys mostly through their teen years, I recognize just how much my sons need me to teach them about their changing bodies (no matter how awkward these conversations might be).
Let’s talk a little about the madness of puberty. My son recently turned 13. Granted, he’s one of the cooler kids I know—confident, funny, self-assured, smart. And yet there are those moments when I look at him and think, Who is this morose, uncooperative, belligerent, annoying kid? OK, I admit it: We just had an argument a little while ago, and I’m still a little steamed. Dare I try to write this article on the heels of such a moment?
When our children are young, they are like blobs of wet clay on a potter’s wheel. Slowly as they grow, we attempt to form each of them into a shape that conforms to our own values and ideals. But at some point, usually when they are 11 or 12 years old, those blobs of clay begin to resist our meddling and force us to reconsider our original idea of how they would turn out. This means our children are becoming individuals, which is a healthy thing.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.