A friend had a private question for me, and I promptly made it public by posing it to my more experienced friends on Facebook:
“An old friend of mine is contemplating single parenthood and has a lot of anxiety about raising her boys (alone) to be good men. I told her I’m not the one to ask for advice because I’m doing it right now and HOPEFULLY doing some things right. What advice do those of you who have done it have for her?”
Their responses (may be slightly edited to protect their privacy):
Supermom Number 1:
Always make them show respect for you! You will ALWAYS be the most important woman in their life! And respect them but make sure they know who’s boss! But most important, love them more than life, share with them, spend time with them and always know what’s going in in their lives.
Teen years are the hardest but that’s when you have to be a tough Mom! Always know their friends, where they are and where they are going! Trust has to be EARNED not given!
Supermom Number 2
4. Don’t be their friend, be their parent. There will come a time in their adult lives that you can be best of friends, until then… you are their protector/defender/teacher
5. Remember punishment, much like life, is swift and just.
6. In our house, if you offend a rule, you may be punished. But to LIE about anything, especially breaking a rule, is inexcusable and will be punished no if’s, and’s or but’s. It breeds honesty, believe it or not.
7. Praise them for their strengths and help them with their weaknesses.
8. Most importantly… love them. With all your might.
Lead them to the best of your ability. And don’t be a martyr. Take responsibilty for the situation and own it. You can do this. You aren’t the first. You won’t be the last. And there are many of us out here willing to share our own experiences with you. My own coined phrase, “there ain’t nothing about this you can’t do”. Draw on all your resources, you’d be surprised how much support you really do have. You’ve got this girlfriend! And when things get REALLY rough… take to bended knee.
Male point of view from a man who grew up in a single mom household:
The boys in your life WILL find a male role model to learn from and emulate, whether they realize they are doing it or not. I believe it is hard wired into us to need this influence. I just thank God that there was a wonderful group of MEN around me to choose from. I know many 20 something boys who think they are grown, but their image of a man is a hodge-podge of rap stars, sports figures and the bumbling idiots that men are portrayed as on TV. They have no true concept of Values, Respect, Responsibility or Honor.