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Raising a child can be a daunting task, but for single mothers, it can be an even bigger challenge.

Single mothers often have to wear different hats, from caregiver to financial provider, but despite the challenges, many single mothers have been and are able to raise amazing sons who go on to achieve the most wonderful of things in life.

My son is turning 19 this year. Looking at how far we've come, I can't help but be proud of the man he's becoming, however, he's still technically a teenager so some of his decisions are sometimes questionable, but overall he has turned out to be a fine young man. Someone, who I've always been completely in love with and proud of. I don't say this just because I'm biased but people actually tell me, how proud I should be.

Raising him as a single mom was not easy by any means, but he didn't make it difficult either. Many people assume that once you have several years under your belt as a mom, it should be smooth sailing after that, and I honestly thought that too. But nobody tells you that children at every phase of their lives come with new challenges and as a mom and a single one that is, you're dealing with surprises at every corner, and you're dealing with it on your own.

One of the hardest things I found was there was no one to talk to about the stuff my son was up to. If he did something cool, and funny, or reached a milestone… it would have been nice to share the moment with the person that loved him as much as I do. Or even if he did something worrying… I didn't want to be downloading everything or even put on the spot with his grandparents or other family members, so when this happens it would just be me and my thoughts.

Raising a son as a single mom has its unique challenges. I thought I knew everything about boys (wink), but 'knowing' boys and actually having to raise one and raise him properly is completely different, and especially if you're doing it on your own, you'll be quick to realise that you actually know nothing!

I didn't even know that roughhousing was something boys needed until I read about it! Often times prior to reading about it, he'd come home from school and excitedly tell me about how he and his friends would be on the floor doing what I envisioned to be a WWF wrestling match! Of course, I was worried and initially advised him to stop it. I was afraid the boys would actually get hurt. But the funny thing is that he'd comfort me by telling me not to worry explaining that they have a system of 'tapping out' should any one of the boys find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. I thought that was genius coming from 7-8-year-olds!

At home, we'd roughhouse, but I'd get hurt, all. the. time!

I'm no longer parenting a boy, but I'm on a different journey with my young adult, as his supporter, advisor, and cheerleader whilst still being his atm machine, laundry person, cooker, cleaner, alarm clock and reminder. Hey, I'm not complaining. I'm actually loving it, and dreading the day he leaves for university.

We overcame all the obstacles and challenges through a lot of trial and error (to be honest), learning from the experts and mostly following my gut instincts and intuition and allowing myself to be guided by my son.

Here are some aspects that I have discovered to work best as a single mom raising a son. Whether you're a single mother just starting out on your journey or a seasoned veteran, this might offer you some insight, inspiration, and practical advice on how to raise an amazing son.

single moms raising sons

Read and learn as much as you can

Knowing about boys or men and actually raising one from birth is two totally different things. I had two brothers that I helped look after when they were young, but it still was not enough for me to be able to raise my son the best way he needed to be raised.

What I did resort to was a lot of reading. I needed to understand boys at every stage of their growth. What he needs, what to expect and how to support him in his growth whilst managing any obstacles that came our way.

One of the first books I read was Raising A Son by Don & Jean Elium. I can still see it on my desk as I write this. It goes through every stage of a boy's development and explains the kind of support boys need at every stage and how parents can help. It was really helpful to me and for some reason, I felt comforted on many occasions that some of the stuff boys do is just natural and I shouldn't even bother sweating it!

Another classic is Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson which demystifies the misconceptions about the emotional lives of boys.

Find male role models for him

Having male role models is critical in raising a well-adjusted son. The difference in energy that a dad has is something I could not emulate and no matter how much I told myself I could do it all, I had to come to terms that there are certain things that I could not do. It just wasn't the same.

My son is lucky because he has a grandfather and an uncle who was very much present from the beginning. Especially my dad, who did everything he possibly could with my son when he was younger and I'm so grateful for that. They had so many adventures together that have been ingrained in my son that he still talks about it today.

I understand that not every single mom has the support that I did but that doesn't mean that it stops there.

Male role models can come by way of a close friend, a close neighbor, a teacher, or a coach. Sports can be a great way to provide your son with a few male role models.

When my son was 10, he really wanted to go the extra mile with football and he had a coach that he was slowly looking up to who was supportive and kind. What I did to enhance this relationship was to get one-on-one coaching with that particular coach. He spent a few weeks training with the coach who not only taught him about football but also the little things, like getting over fear and how to think on your feet. Unfortunately, the duration wasn't that long but the time they spent together was valuable nonetheless.

Do what you can to find these role models for your son, they'll be an invaluable source of inspiration as well as contribute to a good foundation for your son.

single moms raising boys

Help him find his tribe and support it

I cannot stress enough how friends have been a great source of a lot of things for my son. It's a support system that is unlike any other. My son's friends have been there for him through thick and thin and him for them. For me, they have contributed so much to his personal growth and I don't think they even realize that.

I realize now that there were times when he resorted to his friends to seek advice on matters that may be, I simply could not understand, or he may have even been sheepish to talk about. I'm glad that they have been there and are still there for him. They have managed to help fill in some voids in which a single mom might not be capable of.

Because I have seen how powerful a group of good friends can be, I especially wish it for all single parents that their boys find their tribes. I'll say it time and time again, his friends have been an extension of me and I'm so grateful for them. They have been there for emotional support, encouragement, advice, to put him in his place if needed, to get him back on track if he was steering off and so so much more.

Help your son find his own tribe, whether it be from school, your neighborhood, or a sports club. Once he finds his tribe, you will see the benefits that it brings to him, and to you.

Friendships, especially strong and supportive ones have a profound effect on boys. They are a network of people that your son can rely on to help him navigate through challenges and difficulties. Having this sense of belonging plays an important role in their overall well-being and development.

Support his interests

I used to watch Ben 10 on TV with my son a lot, up to the point that I knew all the characters and could have lengthy conversations with him on it. Why? Because it was his thing at the time and since I was the only parent around, I wanted to connect with him and for him to know that he was not alone in his Ben 10 craze. The thing is I hated cartoons!

When he was older, it was football and I knew absolutely nothing! But with so much enthusiasm he'd tell me about the players, all about the game, the football leagues, and how it works, and I'd listen. I listened because it was something he was enthusiastic about and I knew I needed to play a role in supporting that. I'd stay up late with him to watch live games. He'd test me on the players. I loved it! But I still don't like football.

He is just so passionate about football. He absolutely loves it. When he was young, I'd come home from work and start kicking the ball with him. every. single. day. After that, I enrolled him in a training center where he thrived in. He'd also play football for his school and I was ever so willing to drive him and cheer him on the sidelines.

As a single mom, supporting your son's interests is crucial in helping him develop a sense of identity and fostering a lifelong love of learning. Encourage his curiosity and creativity, make time for his interests, provide resources, show interest in his interests, and connect with others who share his interests. This can help your son feel valued, supported, and part of a supportive community.

By taking these steps, you can help your son develop a positive sense of self and a lifelong love of learning and exploration.

single moms raising sons

Foster an open relationship and be present

As a single mom, it's important that you encourage an open relationship with your son.

I'm glad that I did this from the very start because, after 18 years, we still have a very close relationship. Even through the height of his teenage years and through our own challenges, our relationship stood the test of that phase.

A big part of having an open relationship is that you have to learn to be a good listener. Do you know how people say to listen more than you speak? Well, it starts at home. Showing empathy towards your son and creating a safe and non-judgmental space for communication are foundations for developing an open relationship with your son.

Not only that. You also need to be actively present and show genuine interest when your son expresses his thoughts and emotions. Validate his feelings and experiences.

Building trust and having a supportive and safe environment for your son to express his thoughts and emotions will help in encouraging this open relationship.

I have heard it is common for teen boys to pull away from their mothers as they try to become a man, for me and my son, it never came to that.

Final Thoughts.

Raising boys as a single mom is not a walk in the park. It comes with its own unique challenges and difficulties, but it also comes with the most beautiful moments. Ultimately, the most important factor in raising successful and happy boys is to provide them with a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment to grow up in.

After 18 years, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat, if I could. That's how much I loved every single moment of those 18 years.

Raising him has been a gift.

The only thing I hate is that 18 years have gone by too fast. When my son was younger, it seemed like it would be all eternity before we reached this stage, but I was wrong. The years do fly by.

So moms, do your best whilst you still can and cherish every moment with those boys!


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