Boys to Men and Girls to Women

Hey Dolls, 🙂

I was talking with a male friend today, and one of our many topics of discussion was the state of our children and how we are raising them. I am a single mother of 2 handsome, smart and hilarious teenaged boys and he, a single dad of a beautiful, smart, 6 year old daughter and we are looking for answers. Before I get into the questions that we had and our inability to answer them, let me give you my version of being a single mother and how it relates to me.

In the begining there was my son’s father and me. He and I had a plan, we wanted to have children and each of us wanted the other to be the parent of our offspring. We were to become married, have children and grow old together with our children and grandchildren in tow. Well, things didn’t work out as planned. To begin with, we had the children first, then there was the brief discussion of marriage, which never happened (whew!). I’m not angry that it didn’t and wish him well. However, as it has often been the case for many single parents, when WE broke up HE broke up with his promise to be a responsible participating party in relation to the parenting our children. Now, this is not about man bashing or trying to make someone look bad, I’m simply stating facts. It has been close to 8 years that he and I seperated and I have been doing it pretty much on my own since then. Yes, there have been child support payments here and there and a coat or a bag of chips every now and then from him, but for the most part it has been all me. This, I think, allows me the label “Single Mom.”

Back to the matter at hand. How do I, a single black female, raise boys to be men? The only things that I’m sure I’m getting right, is teaching them how to be respectable and respected individuals, to be responsible for their actions, HOW to think and not WHAT to think and how to not be used by ANYONE (just to name a few). These things seem to be common sense to me as you would think that everyone would have these basic lessons. However, how do I teach a boy to be a man? I’m not a man, I don’t know what it’s like to be a man, I don’t know what goes on in the heart and mind of a man. So, what do I do? How do I have the conversation of the ‘wet dream’ with my son’s? What do I say about their ever changing bodies? I don’t know what that must be like for a young boy. I can’t teach them how to shave, hell, I nick myself while shaving my legs. I enjoy football, but I can’t teach them the rules and regulations of the game. You know why? Because I’m not running for a ball nor will anyone be knocking me over to take it from me. Besides that, there are some things that a young boy just does NOT want to discuss with his mother. So what do I do? Leave them to figure it out for themselves in hopes that they’ll get it right? I won’t even be able to tell them if it’s right or not, because I don’t know myself. I’m stuck. WHAT DO I DO?

While talking to my friend, he really didn’t have any answers either as he is the product of a single parent home where only his mother was present. In an effort to upgrade from being a good father to being great father, he relocated to another state in order to be closer to his daughter in hopes of instilling some very valuable lessons in her. The relationship between he and his daughter’s mother is a cordial one for the sake of the child. His question was, how do I teach my daughter to not be a “bust down” not to be stupid, not only in relationships but in general? He is not a woman nor does he knows what it’s like to be a woman or what goes on in the heart and mind of a woman. Like myself, he has the essentials to give to her, to be respectable/respected, to not be used and to stand up for herself. I had no other answers for him as we share the same plight. Although I came from a household where both of my parents were present, I unfortunately missed the lesson.

I can remember clearly being called (by my father) stupid,bitches and whores and that I would never amount to anything. After hearing that for so long and with no one to coming to my defense or to convince me otherwise, I began to believe it. It wasn’t until I was 35 and he was on his death bed that my father told me, without coaching, that he loved me. At the age of 42, I’m still trying to break free from that which has been embedded in me. It’s a daily struggle to convince myself that I HAVE amounted to something, that I AM valuable and deserving of love, real love. This is not a sob story and I’m not looking for pity, only answers.

My parents made me go to church every Sunday, and bible study on Wednesdays and choir rehearsal on Friday, and none of that helped me AT ALL, I still missed the lesson. I found no answers there and there were no lessons at home, only whippings when I was being “fast” or “flip” at the mouth. I didn’t ask questions, just did what I was told. But the lesson on how I should expect and demand to be treated by a man was not given, therefore, I failed at relationships, and have no lessons to pass on. I had to sneak to have boyfriends and boy’s certainly could not come to my house. Boys were nasty and stinky and I was told to stay away from them. They only wanted one thing from me (It took me forever to figure that riddle out) and just stay away! I did just that and missed out on a lot, including the lesson.

But the question remains…..

How do I raise a Boy to be a Man and how can a man raise a Girl to be a Woman if the lesson was never taught.
How do we teach what we don’t know?

I can only pray that I’m doing it right and that my son’s turn out to be productive contributions to society. I hope that one day in the future, the women in their lives will say, “Your mom did a great job at raising you. You’re an awesome MAN” This is my daily prayer.

Smile, Pray, Love, Laugh, THINK, Live and keep it FAB!
(((HUGS))) and MUAH!

~Always FAbulous~


5 thoughts on “Boys to Men and Girls to Women

  1. Hello, here are my thoughts. Since there is no handbook on raising children with two parents or without I think parents should focus on doing the best job they can do while not focusing on the absent parent. Children grow up and they know what parent did what. I technically was not a single parent as I have always been in a relationship (don’t judge me) and my children are not perfect but I did and continue to do is always have something nice to say about their father even If I knew it was a lie, I made a conscious choice to procreate with this person and at one time I felt some sort of love or maybe strong like for that person. There are some great examples of people coming from a single parent home and there are some Horror stories from two parent homes so just be the best parent you can be.

  2. Good morning, parenthood…There is really no right or wrongs. A lot of lessons that we all must learn. Some of us had great role models even if it wasn’t our parents. But I agree with Raquel that we shouldn’t down play the other parent. Also, we do the best we can with what we are given.

  3. I hear ya Neena, but SOMETIMES…..When the other parent is inactive, it’s impossible to UP play them. I have never placed my opinion of my kids dad on them. They have learned for themselves. Neither do I cosign how they feel. But I certainly do NOT try to sway them to feel differently. I allow them to have their own opinions and feelings towards him.

  4. Well, I guess I wasn’t a single parent until now, however, my oldest son recently told me although my husband was in the house he didn’t feel he had any part in his upbringing. Kind of shocked me but it is what it is. I have not said anything bad about my children’s fathers. One child I had right out of high school and the other two I had after marriage. Dotty I can try to answer how do you raise a man and it is exactly how you are doing, unfortunately there are some things we can’t answer my son when to his uncles, but one thing I always say – and fathers day is one of them days that drive me crazy cause people credit me with being a father – I am not a father, I don’t know how to be one, I am a mother, a parent.

    So, for those areas you can’t cover find responsible men, relatives, mentors, males teachers who can guide them. I also never talked down about my children’s father to them but I didn’t lie for them either. When my children question me about their fathers actions my response is I can’t answer for him and that is a question you’ll have to ask him. I do know that he loves you but some parents do things differently. My older children will now make comment about him negatively and I correct them and remind them what the bible says but they are entitled to their opinions but I just remind them to be respectful.

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