They say that it takes a village to raise a child, but even with that, the child's parent(s) is the number one support system. Whether it's raising a son or a daughter, raising a child is the most challenging and important job in the world, and as a single parent, that is twice as hard.
For single mothers raising sons, it's normal to be viewed as though they lack in certain areas by the community. Comments such as, "how will she raise him to be a man, when she is a woman?" are not uncommon
Such comments coupled with the unique needs of boys can discourage many single mothers. Luckily, with a few helpful tips, you can raise your little boy to become a respectable man in society.
Understand your child
Getting familiar with what boys do and need as they grow up can be very helpful. Research online, talk to other mothers with sons or male relatives to understand what your child needs.
Getting dirty outside playing or being a bit rough is all part of being a boy. Therefore, do not lock your child indoors. Allow him to interact with other boys as this will help in building his character and strengthen his interests, from sports to academics and everything in between.
It's also a good idea to have professionals such as general doctors, urologists or councillors on speed dial. This will help in your child's physical and mental development.
Involve the biological father
Any child will be curious about their absent parent and the mother will have to provide answers. This conversation is often difficult for mothers, whether the father is alive or not.
His observation of his friends' parents or certain topics/activities in school can arouse his curiosity. As a mother, try and provide a comfortable environment for this conversation as soon as the son is old enough.
If the father is alive, get them involved in their child's life. This might not work all the time but it's worth the try. If the father has passed on, try and keep his memory alive as much as possible.
Introduce him to male role models
As young boys grow into young men, they need a male figure for certain things. Therefore, identify male role models in the family or community that can be of help in such matters. Admirable uncles, older cousins, grandfathers, school coaches or youth centre councillors can fill the shoe.
He's your child, not the man of the house
Your son might be the only male in the home, but this does not mean you need to talk or treat him like a grown man too early. Allow him to be a child.
Teaching him responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning or taking care of himself or siblings, can be taught without overwhelming him. Any mother would like to raise a son that is a gentleman, responsible, respectful and sensitive towards others.
All this can be achieved without turning him into a 'mama's boy' - a boy or man who is excessively influenced by or attached to his mother - because this will end up being a problem later.
Raising a son as a single mother can be hard but with a positive attitude, open mind, all the love and the right guidance and help, things can be less overwhelming.