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Parenting

Single Mum Raising a Boy

Single Mum Raising a Boy

Single parents often find themselves at the rough end of society’s disapproval with questions asked about the ability of one parent to be able to give children everything they need. This can leave single parents feeling very insecure about their competency as a parent and particularly so for women bringing up a boy on their own.

Many people think delinquency and waywardness in boys is the result of there not being a man around in a family. The reality is, of course, that boys brought up by a single mum are no more or less likely to ‘go the wrong way’ and it is perfectly possible for you to bring up an emotionally healthy young man. But there are some things you can do to make it more of a certainty.

Firstly and above all, whatever you may feel privately, only ever talk positively about your son’s dad to him. And be warned, children have much bigger ears than we think they have! You may think your son is fast asleep in bed upstairs whilst you regale your best friend with your ex’s latest act of stupidity! If his dad was violent or it was a very difficult relationship then wait and talk to him about it when he is older and let him make up his own mind about it.

If you can see your son’s dad in his face or expressions then make sure this doesn’t become a negative issue for you because if it does you’ll make it an issue for your son and he’ll end up feeling bad about himself. Spend some time sorting this out for yourself, maybe with the help of a friend. If you feel hostility towards your ex make sure you can separate that feeling off from your feelings for your son. If you can find something positive that you value about your ex then concentrate on that and value it in your son as the gift from his dad.

Celebrate your son’s differences 

Celebrate your son’s differences and accept everything about him that is masculine. Comment positively on those aspects of him and also make positive comments about men you come across when you and he are out and about. There are many ways to bring male role models into a child’s life, perhaps an uncle or a friend, or he could join a scout group or football team. A boy doesn’t necessarily need a father around to learn about being a man. Some fathers, particularly abusive ones, teach very bad lessons.

It is very important that your son isn’t made to feel that he has to be ‘the man of the house’, or that he has to take care of you. You will help your son to grow up into a strong, secure and confident adult by being those things yourself. You can teach him all the key life lessons just as well as a father can, it is just that he may express them differently to you and as long as you are accepting of this then he won’t have a problem. 

It may be that your son grows up preferring music or poetry to football or cricket. If that is the case then it is highly likely that it is nothing to do with not having a father around. Boys, and girls, come in all shapes, sizes and types and you will find that father or no father, children are very quick to pick up on the society and culture around them. They are not slow to spot the differences between men and women and boys and girls, and will make choices based on what they see and discover, and on their own personality. Be supportive of those choices just as you would be if you had a partner around. And if you manage all that, you can pat yourself on the back for having brought up a boy who is likely to have a positive and healthy attitude towards women.

Further support

Take the free Confident Parenting course in our learning section.

Forums for single parents:

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