arenthood is a fine-tuning character course. When raising children, they are not the only ones under construction. As a parent, every aspect of your character is tested, your capacity enlarged, and your perception of life constantly evolving. Even more, tasking is having to carry out this lifelong assignment alone.
Single Mothers raising kids, especially sons, should be given their flowers. Just like a pilot, it’s not easy to fly an airplane with one engine while simultaneously attempting to coordinate other activities. Teenage boys are a different ball game entirely. While it might have been a lot less challenging to raise them, you might notice that these teenage years have their fair share of pressure. As a terrific mom, you’ve been, there’s no relenting, rather learn new ways to raise your kids in this multicultural world.
A few of the issues
Raising teenage sons could go south in a minute, leaving a single mom wondering where she went wrong. On a cold night in the middle of winter, Isabella sits facing the window as droplets of rain slap on the panes, and the lightning exposed her grim-looking face. Her 16-year-old son Tariq has impregnated another minor, 15. So her baby is having a baby, and he obviously isn’t even ready for that level of responsibility. Only if her ex was a better role model, she reckoned. She feels perhaps she is the problem, and now it’s apparent that she has yet another mouth to feed.
Another case study was Hannah, who lost her son to a shoot-out in the neighborhood. She, of course, noticed his strange behaviors, sneaking out of the house at night, hard drugs in his pocket whenever she wanted to do his laundry, and those suspicious friends always lurk around the corner. It was the ringtone from her phone that jerked her out of a nap, only to hear her son was involved in a gang fight and shot dead.
Then there was Anita with a 17-year-old son. He, like Amy Winehouse, kept saying, “They are trying to make me go to rehab, but I said no, no, no…” The young lad has been struggling with drug addiction since he was 15. All efforts to keep him clean have proved abortive. These are a few of the issues a single mother with teenage sons might face, especially when his dad is missing in action and there’s no father figure present to straighten things out.
Check out a few helpful tips on raising teenage sons as a single mother…
#1. Change your perception of your son(s).
First, approaching your teenage son differently and realizing that he’s no longer the little boy clinging to the hem of your dress and wishing to be spoon-fed is the beginning of a new phase of your relationship with him, especially in the older teenage years. Your boy is becoming a man, and while this doesn’t mean holding off on discipline and guidance ultimately, it delves more on the path of respecting his individuality and accepting that he too is human and has personal preferences. This is the phase of experimentation and rebellion, and maybe that’s why they are more secretive and aggressive. The worse trap to fall into is becoming aggressive. It doesn’t work; instead, it pushes them farther away. Learn to be calm even when you desperately want to rip off their skull. It’s hard, but your level-headed reaction would be a lesson in due season once they are out of this phase.
#2. Loosen your reins on them
It’s undeniably hurtful when your sweet little boy starts snapping at you for doing the things he used to love. This is a natural occurrence once they start to grow up into their teenage years. It becomes surprising how irritated they get when their mom still chooses to dote on them, especially in public. Life changes constantly, and as a single mom raising teenage sons, it’s more beneficial to understand the times and seasons in your children’s lives and adjust accordingly. This doesn’t encourage them to abandon their life decisions alone, but to become a guide to your sons, nudging them towards better decisions and respecting their individualities.
#3. Set boundaries
This is the best time to teach your sons about discipline, setting limits, taking responsibility, and facing the consequences of your actions, whether good or bad. Ensure there’s a consequence for harmful behavior, like being rude, and likewise endeavor to openly reward desirable behaviors. Try not to slip on discipline. Your sons are watching. If they get the slightest hint that they can get away with bad behavior, best believe there will be more offenses to test the extent to which they can get away with it. Occasionally explain the “why” behind the disciplinary measures; it gives them a sense of direction.
#4. Ditch the boys will be boys narrative
The above sentence has produced more insensitive, lazy, and entitled men than otherwise. In Africa, especially, men are shielded from valuable domestic responsibilities, like cleaning up the house, cooking meals, and watching the kids, because they are believed to be “women” chores. Teach your sons how to do home chores, keep their environment tidy, prepare a decent meal for themselves, and become productive on all fronts.
Teach your teenage sons that nothing is emasculating about being put together, having a clean house, and a homemade meal. Instead, they become more independent and stand the chances of choosing a spouse because they love her, not because they need a lifelong nanny/maid.
#5. Save the bitterness for your therapist
Sometimes, life takes a full-on stab at us, and while we may have gotten stitches and anesthesia deep down, there’s a wound that’s yet to heal completely. As a single mom raising sons, the tendency to talk ill about men and your ex might be high, but this behavior is more damaging to your sons than otherwise. Don’t view this approach as hypocritical, but as a wise mother shielding her children from a damaging cycle. Your sons are likely to turn out better men when you model mature emotional management and allow co-parenting (if the other party is willing). Visiting a therapist might help you through the healing process and make you see things clearer from the lens of positivity.
#6. Talk “with” them
This seems laughable, especially with the “Do not disturb” facade teenage kids put up. Don’t let this deter you; beyond the mask of toughness and independence, a human will still appreciate the effort. Try to ask questions, talk with them, and not at them. Sooner or later, they will cozy up to you knowing you respect and wish them well.
Although he is your baby boy for life, you still don’t want a mama’s boy or, worse, a defunct man that would further add to the issues we’re trying to fight off in society. Keep at it. Well done to all the Mamas raising teenage sons. You’re doing a tremendous job.