SINGLE MOMS MUST FIND MALE ROLE MODELS FOR THEIR SONS
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY with Dr. James Dobson
QUESTION: I am a single mother with a five-year-old son. How can I raise him to be a healthy man who has a good masculine image?
DR. DOBSON: As I think you recognize from your question, your son has needs that you’re not properly equipped to meet. Your best option, then, is to recruit a man who can act as a mentor to him — one who can serve as a masculine role model.
In her book “Mothers and Sons,” the late Jean Lush talked about the challenges single mothers face in raising sons. She says the ages four to six are especially important and difficult. I agree. A boy at that age still loves his mother, but he feels the need to separate from her and gravitate toward a masculine model. If he has a father in the home, he’ll usually want to spend more time with his dad apart from his mother and sisters. If his dad is not accessible to him, a substitute must be found.
Admittedly, good mentors can be difficult to recruit. Consider your friends, relatives or neighbors who can offer as little as an hour or two a month. In a pinch, a mature high schooler who likes kids could even be “rented” to play ball or go fishing with a boy in need.
If you belong to a church, you should be able to find support for your son among the male members of the Christian community. I believe it is our responsibility as Christian men to help single mothers with their difficult parenting tasks.
Certainly single mothers have many demands on their time and energy, but the effort to find a mentor for their sons might be the most worthwhile contribution they can make.
Dr. Dobson is founder and Chairman Emeritus of the nonprofit organization Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80995 (www.focusonthefamily.org). Questions and answers are excerpted from “Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide” and “Bringing Up Boys,” both published by Tyndale House.
COPYRIGHT 2010 JAMES