Raising children is one of the most important jobs a parent can have. Raising a son, especially an African American son in America has become extremely difficult. It seems that the idea of “it takes a village to raise a child” has been dismissed and children are now lucky if they have both parents. There has been a recent rise of single mothers and fathers in our society. The Quintessential Gentleman spoke with author of A Single Mother’s Guide To Raising A Son, Mervin Bourne. Here are his tips on raising a son.
- Teach your sons that manhood is not measured, proven or demonstrated by uncontrollable aggression. Parents often perpetuate (even through tolerance) the myth that unbridled aggression is a normal and acceptable trait of boys. This aggression manifests itself in many ways – a short temper, violence and hostility, to name a few. Without learned balance, your son’s ability to differentiate when it is appropriate to be aggressive, from when it is not will be distorted. We must teach our boys that manhood is reflected in having the judgment to decide when aggression is necessary and when it is unnecessary to achieve a desired result. We must teach our sons that the inability to control his temper and process his emotions is actually a sign of weakness, not strength.
- Teach your sons that money, material things or anything outside of himself do not define his value. While there is great value in both financial stability and the ability to support one’s family, there is little value in merely possessing money and things if the man who possesses them is lacks substance, wisdom, and purpose. The idea that consumerism and materialism is healthy, intelligent or masculine is totally wrong. In other words, manhood is reflected not only by one’s ability to obtain money, but also by his ability to use it wisely to support, invest in, and construct a substantive future.
- Teach your sons the value of their reputation. Teach them that they are not entitled to the benefits of a solid, time-tested reputation. Conversely, they earn them by building their reputation. In the real world, unless you are backed by your reputation, you don’t get the benefit of the doubt when your actions come into question. Part of becoming a man is learning the value of your reputation, and protecting it at all costs.
- Teach your son that he is not entitled to the things he receives, but must show gratitude for everything he has and is given. An entitled child believes that they are entitled to what they want, when they want it. He believes that it is either your responsibility, or society’s responsibility to provide it for him – indefinitely and at his discretion. Furthermore, he believes that the things he wants in in his life should be his – not because he has earned them, planned for them, or sacrificed for them, but simply because he wants them. A simple “thank you” from a child could mean, “I know that I am not entitled to what you have given me or done for me, and I appreciate it.” This gratitude, which we must teach our boys, will be the foundation for their understanding of the value of reciprocity, i.e., the value of living to give, and not just to take from the people around us.
- Remember that boys are learning how to interact with and treat girls (and eventually women) primarily from the people who are raising them. That means that without being told, they are observing and drawing conclusions regarding how women should be treated, how women should treat the men in their lives, and how much the women in their lives love themselves. For better or for worse, your son is paying attention, and one day, he will be someone’s boyfriend, husband, or friend, and the kind of partner he will be in all of those relationships will have much to do with what you’ve shown him – not just what you’ve told him.
About A Single Mother’s Guide To Raising A Son
A fresh, straight to the point look at the realities of single mothers raising sons – from an informed male perspective. It exposes the pitfalls and examines the misunderstandings that have been preventing millions of single mothers from raising successful, productive sons for decades. The author, himself raised by a single mother, offers a concise, bold, and hopeful message to all single mothers that despite adversity, they can raise a generation of young men that society can be proud of.
Sneak preview 2016 Extended Trailer for Upcoming Documentary – A Single Mother’s Guide to Raising A Son: