RAISING A MAN: Tips for single mothers AND fathers Tip #3 of 10

Your son has hunt, fish and survive on his own.

Hold on…we’re not living in the “homestead” days any longer so I should say, educate himself, work (make money) and navigate life by making good decisions…on his own.

The most important three words in my statement is “…on his own.” My previous Tip #2 was, “Let him fail!” To let him fail, tip #3 appropriately is… STOP doing everything for him.

You can show him how to do it…but don’t do it for him.

…and please God STOP hovering over him! Tell him to do it and walk away. Five seconds after the instruction, don’t ask, “Do you need help?” You are not helping. If he needs help, let him ask for it. Don’t anticipate the “ask”…make him ask for help. Making sure he won’t mess up is not helping him to develop problem solving skills.

I was raised by my step-grandmother, I would watch her tell my cousin, her grandson, to take out the trash. You would think that such a menial task is easy to do but moments after telling him to take out the trash, she would immediately lose patience with him and start grabbing the bag or performing the task before he even began. She would start correcting him as soon as he started taking out the trash. She did this with the majority of everything he did. I mean, she ALWAYS did it. Over time, he had challenges working through the problem. I witnessed this from the age of 7 until about 13 years old. It was like he was slow or handicapped but he wasn’t…he just never developed those basic skills and started to always second guess himself. She didn’t do this to me, he was her favorite and I always had to fend for myself. In retrospect, her favoritism towards my cousin back fired because I developed the cognitive skills to problem solve, adapt, and excel at a rapid pace…faster than her grandson.

I know some of you mothers will say, “Well he’s too young to do it on his own.” You might be right but I’ll ask, “If not now, when?”  When will you know he’s ready if you’ve never tested or allowed him to understand his own capability?

As adults we want to immediately help children…I know I do.  I’ve learned to resist and ask, “Do you need help?” When they respond, “No”…I walk away with the confidence that this individual will navigate life just fine.

MPM

Be a coach because coaches coach, they don’t play.

DISCLAIMER:  I’m not a psychiatrist or even a parent. This blog is my supportive opinion, which is based on about 26 years of mentoring young boys from the age of 7 to about 18.  While mentoring, I have also received formal and informal guidance from older black men/volunteers from the DC Chapter of Concerned Black Men, Inc. I also received formal training as a volunteer with Mentors Inc. My personal development and growth from the 7th  – 12th grade includes my attendance of an all male boarding high school called Girard College. While my opinion can be applied to young women, I believe most times I have an inherent bias towards masculine issues. My lens, for good or bad, is aligned to young males and men.

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RAISING A MAN: Tips for single mothers AND fathers #2 of 10

 

 
The next tip for single mothers is probably the hardest to do.
I said it before, it’s hard for any well intended mother to not nurture, support and guide. As a man, I cannot measure exactly how incredibly hard it would be for a mother to resist when you have the best intentions for your son…especially when trying to resist doing what comes natural. 
 
You must let him fail.
 
By letting him experience his failures, he begins to problem solve. This is hard…trying not to save him from failure. If you allow him to fail, he develops the skills to get back up. He begins to make his own corrections. More importantly he doesn’t operate with a sense of a “net” is going to save him. If the hypothetical “safety net” isn’t there…then maybe he would be more careful about his decisions. 
 
It’s almost like a toddler learning to walk, if he starts to fall and you catch him…every time, he never develops balancing skills or reflexes or, more importantly, the ability to get back up. He learns to pay attention where he walks, to identify the unleveled pavers in the walkway to slow down his pace whatever the cognitive development necessary to not fall.  Even if he’s too young to let fall…when do you trust him to walk on his own?…if not now when?

Your son has to learn to survive and get back up without you. He will still be waiting for you to catch him from falling or…laying there waiting for you to pick him up.

MPM

DISCLAIMER:  I’m not a psychiatrist or even a parent. This blog is my supportive opinion, which is based on dating single mothers, mentoring young boys from the age of 7 to 18 for almost 3 decades and other various life experiences.  While mentoring, I have also received formal and informal guidance from older black men/volunteers from the DC Chapter of Concerned Black Men, Inc. I received formal training as a volunteer with Mentors Inc. Lastly, my personal development and growth from the 7th  – 12th grade includes my attendance of an all male boarding high school called Girard College. While my opinion can be applied to young women, I believe most times I have an inherent bias towards masculine issues. My lens, for good or bad, is aligned to young males becoming men.

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RAISING A MAN: Tips for single mothers AND fathers #1 of 10

In this series, I’ll write in a sequence that builds on each tip from 1 to 10. My tips, I hope, will present another perspective outside of your own. In no way am I indicting any mother on her ways of raising her child. My suggestions relate to the raising and structuring of a male individual.

So let’s start there…the first of ten tips for mothers raising sons is structure.

I feel structure is the most important concept for raising a male child,

…but there has to be rules.

You build structure with a rule philosophy. The adherence to rules builds his concept of order. Young boys need structure so they could grow to be responsible men. It could start with your son is running around the dinner party acting a like he has no home training…at the same time, your friends are looking at each other embarrassed for you, cause he’s not listening to you. This is the first hint that you’re losing control of your son.

So…it starts with a concept of telling your toddler son “No”. Yes it grows to him washing the dishes before bed, homework before xbox/playstation, no cursing, no weed, whatever. Trust he may do those forbidden things when you’re not around but you have to run the house with rules. My main point is that he must learn repercussions before he becomes an adult. If he isn’t compelled to follow the rules at home, what will compel him when he becomes a legal aged adult? Structure and rules build on his ability to pay his bills on time, keep a job and even keep male friends.

Your son must live with boundaries and guidelines that align to become a law abiding, tax paying citizen. You cannot allow your son to do what he wants when he wants. If he has to take out the trash before you are home from work…it better be done. Structure builds on his concept of rules and repercussions.

Repercussions…there MUST be repercussions, no cellphone access, put up the xbox, do something. I beg you…don’t let your heart allow you be easy on him.

It’s a simple concept but I believe the hardest thing for mothers to do is to resist the urge to nurture and support your child. Nurturing is what comes natural to a mother. I say resist because you should not coddle your son into being handicap. You are not helping him when you protect him from his bad decisions. When you insulate him from the pain of a bad decision…you fortify bad habits that become his behavior and he will never learn to do the right thing. Your son grows up to believe mom will always save him or more importantly, it’s not his decision that caused his circumstance. Without repercussions…as a man; he will not keep his word, he will not obey traffic laws, he will becomes that neighbor that blast his music at 1am.

Your son is not your friend, your surrogate husband or your baby. He will be a man with habits that you’ve allowed him to think are okay. Our professional and private environments need responsible men, our communities need responsible black men. Your son will grow up with behaviors that you’ve endorsed, what traits do you see in your son that a woman… a wife would desire in her husband?

MPM

DISCLAIMER:  I’m not a psychiatrist or even a parent. This blog is my supportive opinion, which is based on dating single mothers, mentoring young boys from the age of 7 to 18 for almost 3 decades and other various life experiences.  While mentoring, I have also received formal and informal guidance from older black men/volunteers from the DC Chapter of Concerned Black Men, Inc. I received formal training as a volunteer with Mentors Inc. Lastly, my personal development and growth from the 7th  – 12th grade includes my attendance of an all male boarding high school called Girard College. While my opinion can be applied to young women, I believe most times I have an inherent bias towards masculine issues. My lens, for good or bad, is aligned to young males becoming men.

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RAISING A MAN: Introduction

As an adult male raised in the 70’s & 80’s I can revert back to uncles, cousins and grandfathers being men, not just male but men. They exemplified traits that dealt with honor, trust and survival. They molded the young men of the family to be responsible leaders in the community and dependable friends in great times and in dire circumstances. My family members as well as neighborhood dudes corrected me when I was wrong, instructed me and coached me for success and ushered me into better circumstances than their own. I remember watching my cousin Georgie wash his car by spraying a water hose directly on his running Monte Carlo SS engine while the neighborhood kids looked on with golf ball eyes waiting for the car to blow up. I remember seeing “Ham” and “Link” steal a car from the parking lot, I remember laying on the ground with my cousin Dwayne when he was changing his alternator on his Camaro or when the guys on the corner would sing…really sing the latest R&B songs. They would teach us lil homies how to open clams with a knife or more importantly how to talk to women. Yeah…I’m old. As a teenager I hung around good and bad examples of men. It was a rite of passage, we had to learn who we were as individuals…away from the debilitating coddles of a mother. We had to figure out what path we were going to go…good or bad. Back then the lyrics to songs were different, women were different, our families and communities were different…they weren’t different, they were better.

I could expound on any niche of black culture and deconstruct reasons but what would it matter? In this surreal COVID existence I’ve learned to appreciate time and attempt with all energy to make things better or at the very least, use my precious time to improve or better our race.

As an adult male I’ve witnessed the generations of young men become inherently more feminine. I’m disheartened by seeing our young men become more mercurial in their emotions, unbalanced in their temperament and dare I say weak. Don’t misunderstand me, having emotions is not a bad thing, expressing your emotions is not a bad thing or only a “feminine” thing.

I don’t like seeing any young black man as a weakened individual.

When I say, “weak” I speak of the traits that don’t align with being a young man. Some kids don’t know how to shake another mans hand, don’t know how to look me in the eye when speaking, lack dependability, don’t respect elders, can’t hold your hands in a fight and have a poor work ethic…I could go on for a few more days but I won’t.

My concern is that there’s an imbalance in our families. No one takes a back seat, everyone wants to be the boss. Our families are fractured now and I feel it was intentional. I don’t have the energy to address the gay agenda, gender ambiguity or even the masculinity of women.

More than weak, our young men have become effeminate and I want to challenge the trend…my challenge is to give 10 tips on helping our young men become leaders in the households, lead their own families and raise balanced men and women of their own.

This blog series is not about blame. Its my attempt to improve our race. I want to put this out because maybe you find my tips useful. I’m a stranger..but I’m a man.

What I will do is provide 10 tips on raising a man.

MPM

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” (Frederick Douglass, 1817-1895)

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