In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal 10 tips – 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts for single mothers raising sons.
First a quick update:
**** Is it ever a good idea to date a friend’s ex? – HerCampus.com posed the question and you can read my insights here: http://www.hercampus.com/love/relationships/dating-friend-s-ex-it-ever-good-idea
**** Follow me on Twitter – You can now choose to follow me and receive a few words of wisdom on Twitter: @Behavior_Expert https://twitter.com/Behavior_Expert
Now, let’s talk about the 10 tips – 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts for single mothers raising sons.
Being a single mother is extraordinarily challenging with tremendous financial, physical, mental, and emotional pressures. Raising a son on your own, is even more difficult.
First, here are the words of caution – the 5 “Don’ts”:
1. Don’t make him your ‘man’
A client was revealing to me that he feels a romantic attachment to his mother. For him, it began when he was 4 years of age and she was being hit by her husband. She turned to her son and asked him for comfort. Soon, she divorced the abusive husband and said to her son, “You are my man.”
It is a common occurrence for single mothers (and even married mothers who feel disconnected from their husbands) to turn to their young son for emotional support. However, this creates enmeshment: the child is unable to form his own identity; he cannot psychologically and emotionally separate himself from his mother, is plagued with guilt, and grows up afraid and angry at the world. The child cannot replace or play the role of an adult male. He cannot process or understand your emotions.
Set physical and emotional boundaries for him and for yourself.
2. Don’t make him ‘the man of the house’
While this behavior seems to be similar to calling him your ‘man’, it is actually an added layer where he feels responsible for the household, for his mother’s wellbeing and even for the financial responsibilities. Some young boys will go and seek work to help or they will be overwrought with self-loathing and helplessness for not being able to turn things around. Remember, a young boy cannot be your emotional rescuer.
3. Don’t teach or encourage him to hate his father and all men
You can be angry at the father if he has failed to perform his responsibilities or failed to live up to your expectations. However, he is still the biological father of your son and your son has a right to connect or communicate with his father, until such time, that it is clear that it is damaging to the son to do so.