What do Tom Cruise, Ed Bradley, Alexander Haig, Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, Bill Cosby, Dr. Benjamin Carson and Les Brown have in common? They were all raised by single mothers.
This information may give us a glimmer of hope, but for many moms the task of bringing up boys can seem very daunting. We worry that we might not have the skills needed to help them grow into men. I think the best thing we can do for our boys is get to know them personally and educate ourselves about what boys need to grow into strong men. Here are just a few tips that might be helpful:
Boys and men need respect. Don’t bad mouth men no matter what you went through in your relationship with your son’s father. Boys need to know that you value them just as they are and that their maleness is a great thing!
Carefully choose male role models for your boys. Ask a male family member to teach your son how to cut the grass, or go fishing together. If a male family member is not available, ask a trusted friend to step in occasionally and do something that you normally don’t with your son.
Keep them active. Boys tend to have a lot of energy that needs to be focused. Get them in to a sports program if possible. Try karate, basketball, baseball, soccer or whatever they are interested in. If organized sports are not possible, try to get a punching or kicking bag, indoor exercise trampoline or any other device to help stabilize their energy levels. One mother told me that she had her son run up and down the stairs a few times with some canned goods in a backpack that he had on his back. This helped him to release his pent up energy, and helped save her sanity.
Provide a lot of supervision. Make sure you know what your boys are doing, with whom and where they are. Of course you will want to relax this a little bit as they mature and get older, but don’t give your boys too much latitude.
Teach your son how to cook and clean. Not only will he learn valuable life skills, your future daughter in-law will really respect you!
Boys tend to have a strong level of curiosity and sometimes a bit of crude ruggedness. These are generalizations, but do recognize that your son will likely react to situations differently than you do, and potentially want to do things that seem too dangerous for your liking. Letting him explore his abilities and environment is a good idea. My thought process in determining if something is too dangerous is to ask myself-Will this cause a trip to the Emergency Room or cause someone else harm? If the answers are no then I generally let them go for it.
Mothering boys is a great adventure, and learning experience.