A Christian pastor by the name of Gillis Triplett has written a very provocative post called 10 Things Single Mothers Do To Ruin Their Sons Lives. His list is composed of things like dating, crying in front of your child and purposefully turning your son into a momma’s boy.
While I can’t disregard his entire list, I do believe that he has got most of them wrong. His post focuses on the premise that a woman can’t raise a boy to be a man because she is not a man. But she doesn’t have to focus on that at all; she can focus on raising a good person.
Single moms do have a great responsibility in raising sons without a father present, but not because the father’s presence would add a sense of manliness that will magically improve their lives. The additional responsibility comes as a result of the extra burden being placed on the woman to cover all of the bases when trying to care for, instruct and be a model for a child. That is why it is important to have a partnership when raising children so they are exposed to a variety of values that will shape who they are.
In my past interactions with men who have not developed a healthy relationship with themselves or the world, I do believe that they have been heavily influenced by their mothers who unknowingly created a belief system that they are unable to shake. But this cause and effect has nothing to do with a male not being present. These men simply lack the healthy support of their primary caregiver, which makes them feel alienated from this world, because to them, their mothers represent the world. Here are seven ways moms can ruin their sons' lives.
1. Not telling your son you love him
Even if it’s tough for you to say because you didn’t receive the same warmth from your parents, when you don’t ever actually say those words to your sons, they don’t truly understand their meaning and will reject any other person who offers those sacred words because they won’t believe they are true.
2. Heavily criticizing your son's choices
When you criticize his first attempts at speaking into the mic you may as well unplug it for the rest of his life.
When a child is assertive enough to make a choice for himself and he shares that choice with you, it is as though he is stepping onto a stage for the first time and wondering if the mic is on. When you criticize his first attempts at speaking into the mic you may as well unplug it for the rest of his life because he will have a very tough time trying it again.
Heavily criticizing your son for the sake of toughening him up against a mean, cruel world backfires because he will expect the world to reject his ideas and, ultimately, who he is. Even if you do not agree with his choices, he needs to know that you respect his ability to choose.
3. Teaching him that women are evil
Women who remember their scheming and conniving days are apt to warn their sons about women who are just like them. A mother will warn her son that women will try to trap him by having a baby, the same way she tried to trap his father. He will keep this warning close to heart, and when love presents itself, he will remember his mother’s warning and terminate the relationship, feeling powerful that he didn’t fall into that trap. He will realize much too late that it wasn’t a trap after all, and he missed out on a chance at being loved because of his mother’s prediction.
4. Engaging in verbally or physically combative relationships
Your son will watch and emulate your relationship style. If he watches you argue, insult, scream and punch the people you love, he will believe that this is a normal relationship and will only be satisfied when he has the same type of interaction in his own life.
5. Coddling your son
He needs to know how to shoulder this world without your presence.
Sometimes we understand that our kids may need an extra kiss or an extra-long hug after a rough day, but caring for a teenager or young adult as though he is still an infant will make him act like an infant in grown up settings. Instead, allow him to get dirty, be hurt and experience disappointment. He needs to know how to shoulder this world without your presence because you won’t be around forever.
6. Keeping him from knowing his father
It doesn’t matter how upset you are that the father of your child does not want to be with you or whether or not your child’s father is paying child support. If he will not pose a physical danger to your child and you withhold interaction, you are limiting the love your child can receive and the lessons you cannot teach him alone. You are handicapping your child and also demonstrating that women will hurt men intentionally, potentially sabotaging his belief that he can experience a satisfying relationship because he will believe that all women will treat him the way you did.
You don’t have to apologize for a man who does not want to be in your child’s life. You don’t have to buy extra toys or give extra treats and favors. Your child will experience the effects of this loss, but he will always look to your reaction as a model for how he will react. If you keep it moving and keep loving him without putting so much emphasis on the absence, he will grow up to say, my Dad wasn’t there and we were always fine.