A son’s relationship with his mother is a unique one. A beautiful one. One that sets the tone for all of his other relationships in the future. It’s how he’ll learn to express his emotions, how he’ll understand women, and how he’ll view himself. When that son has a single mother, it offers an entirely different set of challenges. Make sure your son knows you believe these things about him as well:
You see him as a unique individual. Parting ways with your child’s father, no matter how that happens, is often filled with much pain and possible resentment. As a child, your son will assume that you associate him with his father for no other reason than they are the same sex and he likely associates himself that way (just as you likely did with your mother). Give your son the gift of not only recognizing him as a unique individual apart from his father, but acknowledging that you see him that way. Comparing him to his father may seem complimentary at times, but should you struggle to maintain a positive relationship with the other parent, your child will remember the comparison in a negative way and worry that you feel the same negativity toward him.
You believe he will be an honorable man. Let’s face it, there aren’t many heroes in today’s world. Examples of good, kind men are few and far between. Yet, it is these kinds of qualities that can make a difference in your child’s life as an adult. Instilling the belief that you see these qualities in your own son, will help him understand what he needs to strive toward. Build up his awareness of his goodness, kindness, courage, humility, strength, and hardworking character, and you’ll see him respond in exactly those ways.
You believe he will be an amazing father. Whatever the circumstances are between you and your son’s father, again, your son will already compare himself to his dad. If he feels that his father is not succeeding in this role, he may begin to feel that he too will not be successful in it. Point out the things he does as he grows that would suggest his ability to be an outstanding father (being kind to younger siblings, for example) and let him know that he already possesses the qualities he needs to succeed.
You want him to have a good relationship with his father. For many single moms, nothing is more challenging than maintaining a good relationship with their child’s father. Truly, it’s in everyone’s best interest that this is as positive as it can be. However, the reality is that it doesn’t always work as we’d like it to. Regardless of the difficulty or ease, make sure that you are sincere in your efforts to help your child navigate a positive relationship with their father.
You want him to be all boy. The daily struggle to stay afloat as a single mom can lead us to keep a tight ship because it seems like the only way to make it. However, do not forget to allow space for the simple things your son needs like the joy of playing rough and getting dirty. Join your son outside, or send him with friends, and encourage him to play hard, get dirty, and enjoy that side of boyhood that we simply don’t understand at times. Make sure you show him how much you value this side of his personality and that it’s not only accepted, but celebrated.
Single mothers have the toughest job on the planet, hands down. When you are raising a son as a single mom, additional challenges will surely arise, but you have everything you need to do it successfully. Keep an eye on the prize: a godly man of character. Build your son toward that goal every chance you get.
Laura Polk is a single mom, author, writer, speaker, and friend. She has written for magazines, such as Focus on the Family, Christian Parenting Today, and Crosswalk. She is author of the upcoming release The Single Mom Challenge. She is a graduate of She Speaks and Christian Communicators. For more information, visit www.laurapolk.com.
The Life of a Single Mom Ministries is a global nonprofit committed to seeing no single mom walk alone. Having served more than 46,000 single mothers and 1,500 churches, the goal of the organization is establish support groups for single mothers in cities around the world, while also empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, and parentally. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.