Table of contents:
- I am often asked the question: "Is it possible to raise a son as a real man if there is no father nearby?" At the same time, in the eyes of my mother, I see uncertainty, anxiety, fear. Where are they from? I think, from the idea that for the child to develop properly, the family must be complete. Is it so?
- How to raise a son without a father?
Video: Raising A Son: Recommendations For A Divorced Mother. 5 Basic Principles - Self-development, Society
I am often asked the question: "Is it possible to raise a son as a real man if there is no father nearby?" At the same time, in the eyes of my mother, I see uncertainty, anxiety, fear. Where are they from? I think, from the idea that for the child to develop properly, the family must be complete. Is it so?
My mother had a lot of trouble with me, but I think she liked it
If you arrange the family options according to the degree of favorableness for the child (from best to worst), then it will turn out like this:
- 1 - a complete family in which the parents are in good relations and both are involved in raising the child (that is, simply the physical presence of the father is not considered).
- 2 - one parent (in our society it is more often a mother) who understands their functions and is in an adequate condition. As psychotherapist Nigel Latta put it, "One good mom can replace a hundred lame dads."
- 3 - “complete” family, where parents are in conflict, live together only for the sake of the child, one of the parents is psychologically absent (alcoholism, workaholism, etc.).
The last option is by far the most traumatic. Analyzing 16 years of practice, I can say that the vast majority of my male clients were brought up in complete but disharmonious families.
So the question is not "is it possible", but "how exactly to raise a son without a father."
How to raise a son without a father?
5 basic principles
1. Take care of yourself
Yes, let's start not with the methods, but with the base - with the state of the mother. When raising a child alone, a mother does the work "for two," and must take care of herself accordingly. Even if she does everything “right,” but the tortured mother will not give the child the most important thing - the image of an adequate adult nearby.
2. Set priorities - decide who we are raising
A common question is how to raise a real man. Perhaps I will express a seditious idea, but if you wish the child well-being, then you should focus not on the development of masculinity, but on the formation of the right values (responsibility, ability to empathize, ability to care) and psychological stability. The gender aspect is important, but not a priority (especially when resources are scarce).
3. Understand the peculiarities of the boy's psychology
I will not dive into the jungle of gender psychology, I will only note that boys especially need structure and boundaries. Confidence that there are clear rules in the world. For girls, this is not so relevant.
By the way, about “problem children growing up without fathers”. From the point of view of child psychotherapists, the problem is not the absence of a father, but in the wrong setting of boundaries. This often happens against the background of the mother being immersed in guilt over the divorce and the fact that the child is growing up without a father. A vicious circle, right?
4. Take into account the stages of development and your tasks at each of them
Steve Biddulph in Raising Boys … How? describes the stages of development of boys, some of the terms I borrowed from the work of Nigel Latt.
Stage "babies" 0-6 years
The boy is most strongly connected with his mother, she is for him a source of security and love, and the world around him is less interesting.
- Create a caring environment that is stable and predictable (boundaries and rules).
- Start teaching him the basic principles (kindness, responsibility - preferably by personal example).
- Have fun together as often as possible - doing things that are interesting for the boys (from throwing stones to eating chocolate with cartoons - the main thing is not the benefit, but emotional closeness!).
Stage "big boys" 7-12 years
There is a growing interest in the world around us, primarily in everything male. While Mom is still important, the main thing is to get to know and try. There is a need for a male role model, but it does not have to be the child's father; someone close to him (grandfather, uncle, teacher) or even the hero of a film or book will do.
- Build your son's self-confidence (preferably through independence support).
- Develop your relationships (ability to communicate and negotiate) - this is very necessary in adolescence.
- Teach you to calculate the consequences of your actions. More and more often the child has to make decisions, and this is no longer the choice of a T-shirt (as at six years old), but, for example, the choice of whether to try alcohol and drugs (which often happens at 10-11 years old).
Stage "teenagers" 13-18 years old
"The once happy, attractive toddler has evolved into a tall, awkward, foul-smelling and extremely grim type, whose way of communication is reduced to rolling his eyes, shrugging his shoulders and saying 'I don't know."
Nigel Latta, Sonology
This is how hormonal changes take place. Psychologically, at this stage, the participation of a mentor is important, who will prepare for adulthood. Parents go into the background anyway.
- Don't be alarmed (doing stupid things is normal for teenagers).
- Give him freedom, but do not leave him alone, combine personal space with boundaries and rules - this is not easy, but possible.
- Be consistent (require adherence to set rules that change as your child develops, but should be).
5. Pay attention to the special problems that arise when raising a son by one mother
To solve these problems, the help of a specialist is sometimes required.
What are these problems?
- Feeling guilty for breaking off relations with the child's father (leads either to connivance or to distance from the child);
- the use of a son in a war with his father (as you know, a healthy child is unlikely to grow out of "cannon fodder");
- answers to questions “about daddy” (general recommendation is to refrain from negative descriptions of the father, unless he really can be dangerous for the child);
- letting go (it is more difficult due to the increased level of intimacy with the child, especially among mothers who have not created a new relationship with a man);
- using the son as a partner (we are not talking about sexual, but about psychological aspects - the mother fully satisfies the need for a relationship with the child, “she doesn't need anyone else”). By the way, it is also found in the so-called "complete" families, when the relationship with the husband is lost;
- creating new relationships.
In the next article, we'll go into more detail on how to resolve these issues.
The most important thing to remember is that your child needs at least one good parent, and if you are, that's enough
What to see? Films about raising a son as a single mom
- "Strong Woman" (2001)
- Mommy (2014)
- Forrest Gump (1994)
- "All About My Mother" (1999)
- "Be My Husband" (1981)
- Dear Frankie (2003)