Single Mom-Must I Find a Father for My Son?
Many single moms with young sons have the idea that they must find a father for their son. Perhaps the boy's own father is absent, and there are few other male role models for the boy to look up to. The mom begins to panic-helped along by the many people who tell her over and over that a single mother cannot raise a boy on her own-and soon finds herself dating, or even marrying a man simply to give her son a father. There are plenty of clichés you will find yourself dealing with should you be a single mom with a little boy, but in truth you need to understand that each and every situation is different, and that, in many cases, your son just might be better off being raised by a solid, secure mom than he would be having the wrong man in his life.
Who is the "Typical" Single Mom?
The public image of the typical single mom has become somewhat distorted. The facts are that as of 2009 there were 13.7 million single parents raising 21.8 million children. 84% of those single parents are the custodial parent and are moms. Nearly half of those are either divorced or separated, while one-third have never been married. Almost 2% have been widowed, and 19% are actually married, but raising their children on their own for one reason or another. Contrary to the image of the welfare mom, 4/5 of all single, custodial mothers are gainfully employed, and only about 27% of single mothers and their children live in poverty. Again, contrary to the image most people have of the single mom, less than one-fourth receive Medicaid or food stamps, and only 12% receive some form of housing assistance.
Breaking the Idea of the Masculine Role Model
While many people tend to believe a single woman raising a son alone will have significant difficulties, and raise a boy who is gender-confused or worse, the fact is that there are male role models all around most boys, whether in the form of grandfathers, uncles, teachers, pastors, or mentors. Of course if a young boy had absolutely NO male role model, he might be inclined to emulate the media's skewered portrayal of masculinity-a macho, high-energy, testosterone-driven personality who likes to blow stuff up.
There are tons of ways you, as a single mom, can help your son gain a totally balanced perspective on life and what a man should be. One study actually indicates that boys who fall into substance abuse, get in trouble at school and are involved in a variety of antisocial activities are more likely to come from a father-only custody home than a dual custody or mother-only home. The research also shows that males actually get their sense of independence and their ability to have intimacy with others from their mothers. As long as the single mom is strong enough to provide the necessary boundaries, there are actually few issues with single mothers raising sons.
Younger Boys Have an Easier Time
The younger your son is when you become a single mother, the much easier transition he will have, accepting a life without a father as perfectly normal. Teenage boys may have a tougher time, however there are lots of adult role models in the form of teachers, coaches, neighbors, friends and relatives who can step into the void left by the absent father.
The bottom line is that in many cases female-headed households could potentially be a more positive environment for boys than male-headed households and sons from families with single moms often grow up emotionally stronger, more empathetic and more well-rounded than those from "traditional" families.
Consider these (highly successful) sons of single moms: Quentin Tarantino, Lance Armstrong, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby and Tom Cruise, to name only a few. Lance Armstrong says that his mother was against quitting anything, and was stronger than most mothers and fathers together, while Clinton believes that the fact that he spent a lifetime trying to put together a picture of a father had everything to do with how he ultimately turned out. Tom Cruise felt that being raised by women allowed him to see the female side of things and gave him a deeper understanding of how women think.