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.


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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