He’s my Baby Boy (in the voice of a mother)
Make note of how a few Black mothers may find satisfaction in parenting girls differently than that of boys. It goes a little something like this …
Make her tough so that she becomes an independent woman to build a life of her own. If he falls or fails, he will always have a place to come back to – Momma’s house. Teach her mannerisms, e.g. how to sit like a little lady; yet, he will learn about chivalry on his own because I am unaware of the practices because I was never a recipient. Ensure that her self-esteem is high, otherwise she may become too vulnerable and dispensable. However, he will be okay – he’s a boy, and besides, he will always have a place to come back to if things don’t work out – Momma’s house.
Tell her about the birds and the bees so that her pocketbook remains valuable. He will learn about manhood through the experiences of other male figures because his father isn’t in his life, but if all else fails, he will always have a place to stay – Momma’s house! I suppose you get my point! Black mothers must stop pacifying our men, implying that Momma’s house is a place to return to when the school of hard-knocks becomes unbearable. A boy should be groomed to become a man, yet returning to Momma’s house to live and subsequently build a life should be a last resort (if any).
Grooming Boys to become Men
Becoming an example to other males should be the primary focus of experienced and matured patriarchs. Conversely, matriarchs can be successful when there is a great support system that promotes and encourages paternal bonding. However, there are some mothers who may do the opposite when feelings of insecurity fuels their energy, thereby shifting the true intent. With that said, this is not to insinuate single mothers are incapable of parenting successful, responsible men insomuch to say their parenting practices should include tips from male friends and respected male mentors as it relates to their sons.
Conversely, I know, as you may also, a few examples of successful men who were brought up by single mothers, i.e. former presidents, movie directors and so many more who get little to no recognition – thus, much to their credit. However, today’s challenge is greater for mothers to groom boys to become men than it is for their fathers, particularly if the mom is parenting from her past hurt and unhealthy emotions, such as a bitter divorce or tumultuous separation that results in custodial privileges.
‘What an admirable responsibility to be given sole or joint custody,’ is a likely reaction a mother with a son may receive. However, the challenges of teaching a boy manhood principles is overwhelming if at it alone. Iyanla Vanzant, who is an “American inspirational speaker, lawyer, New Thought spiritual teacher, author, life coach and television personality among many titles,” alludes to the mother’s inability to effectively parent boys when the practice is delivered from a negative stance of constant reminders of avoidance, fear and refrain that may eventually pique an interest of curiosity instead of employing teachable moments of ‘why.’
Take, for instance, a situation where the mother is overly concerned about her son’s propensities that mimics his father, which in turn, leads to a recall of her former spouse’s conduct that negatively impacted her. Therefore, instead of an embrace of her son’s innate traits, the outcome leads to anguish and apprehension between the mother and her child that stems from place of unhealed hurt and a possible lack of closure among parents who are now divided.
The message! Be mindful that parents may divorce, but the same should not be expected in a parent-child relationship when their parents are no longer together. Further, also reserve the thought that a mother could possibly be replacing a void of her male spouse with that of her son because of her inability to trust males again.