As a single mother to a teenager, you have to take on many varying roles and responsibilities to help your teen grow and mature into a successful, happy adult. This means you are the emotional caretaker and the strict disciplinarian. You support your household financially and domestically. You teach strong values and create fun and love in your home.
If you are a single mother raising a son, then the teenage years can be especially difficult to navigate. You have one of the strongest connections two humans can experience as a mother and her son, but as your son begins to experience hormonal changes, it will be difficult for you to relate and understand feelings and changes you have not personally experienced. This certainly does not make you a subpar parent in any way, and despite your differences, there are some great things you can do to support your son and raise him into a wonderful man on your own.
Here are five tips for raising teen boys, as a single supermom:
- Respect, acknowledge, and explain your differences as best you can.
As your teenage son begins going through hormonal changes, you will inevitably begin to notices differences in him and in how he relates to the world around him. Talk openly about the changes he’s going through, and explain the differences in how men and women mature in body, emotions, and mind.
- Don’t ask or expect your teenage son to fulfill the role of a “man” in your home.
Today Parents recommends that single mothers never ask a teenage son to assume the “man of the house” role within their household. This does not mean that your teen son should not be given responsibilities around the home or help you with things. The important distinction is that teen boys should still be sons, and should not asked to think like an adult, or make decisions beyond their scope of maturation and understanding. You and your son should love and support one another, but make sure that you’re giving him room to grow and not asking him to take on roles he isn’t yet equipped to handle.
- Recognize and reinforce the positive qualities you notice in men in your life.
As a single mom, it is important that you show your son examples of good men to use as a reference as he shapes into a young man. If you have a strong support system with male relatives and trusted friends, make sure that your son gets to spend quality time with positive male role models as well. You can also reinforce good male qualities by pointing out characteristics, mannerisms, and behaviors that men you both see together out in public are exhibiting.
If you do not have strong male role models in your support circle, then there are great groups such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters that you and your son can get involved with to meet and spend time with quality male leaders and role models in your community.
- Find some positive boy’s groups or activities for your teenage son to become involved in.
Interacting with other teen boys, and developing strong male bonds and friendships is very important for teens. Find some positive groups for boys in your community, such as sports, church, or Boy Scouts, and enroll your son in the activities that interest him most. This will help him witness good male leadership, and develop positive male friendships in his age range as well.
- Talk to your teenage son about sex, love, and the differences between the two.
Byron Ricks, author of Searching for Dad, suggests that single mothers dedicate time to talking with teenage sons about love, sex, and the differences between the two. It is important for your teen to have a strong understanding of virtues and feelings like love, respect, and strength because without a male role model in the home, many teen boys look for examples in the world around them. They may try to model themselves after their favorite teacher, athletes or movie star. Make sure that your teen has a strong moral baseline for sex and love, and that you approve of any male role models he’s looking up to and forming himself upon.
If you are a single mom to a teenage boy, and notice that your son is struggling at school, or is expressing strong emotions of anger or self-loathing, then speaking with an experienced teen counselor can help your son deal with tough emotions, and give you more tools as a parent to guide and nurture him as well.