By Arabi Tobi
Photography by Anisha Bamahry

Single mothers carry off solely the responsibilities of their children’s education, health, discipline, and happiness. They go out of their ways and desires to be proficient at these roles and more. Like in my own case, my single mom didn’t just become a hero of three fatherless boys, but a role model for other single moms.

Though something felt missing, I grew up with two brothers without the “dad” experience. Studies show that boys benefit from having contacts with a father, even if they don’t live together. Averagely, boys raised with a father often do better academically and socially than their fatherless peers. I guess my mom is just exceptional.

Raising Kids alone as a single mother, especially when they are boys, does it mean their lives are over? That’s a big NO!  I’ve met several successful men in the business and entertainment industry that grew up without a dad. Though it is a fact that fatherless boys face extra challenges and have certain behavioral or character traits in common. Like my single mom did, it is important that you look out for these behaviors your sons may exhibit so that you can take steps to help them become confident and happy young men.

SOMETHING IS MISSING. Research shows that one of the side effects of growing up fatherless is feeling incomplete, alone and lacking a strong identity. This will sometimes make him seek out the company of a group that provides him with a sense of belonging.

WHAT CAN BE OF GREAT HELP? As a single mom, help your boy(s) be a part of a sports team, club, or religious guild, rather than leaving it to them to find their own peer group. In my case, my single super mom carefully studied each of us three boys, recognized our talents and gave us the opportunity to excel at them individually and collectively; giving each one guided freedom and masculine pride in our achievements.

LOVE, TRUST, AND SEX.  Many questions are left unanswered with fatherless boys about sex, trust, and matters of the heart. Talking and learning from a father about these issues is a lot easier as fathers give practical advice and carry them into healthy, fulfilling relationships as men. The absence of this leads to fatherless boys having a deep-seated hurt that leads them to view love as a vulnerability. As a result, they may have a difficult time trusting anyone compassionately.

WHAT CAN BE OF GREAT HELP? One good way to keep a fatherless boy rightly guided is to ask a male relative or other important male in his life to talk to him about the emotional aspects of dating and love, as talking to an opposite sex about these issues might seem weird and embarrassing.

ROLE MODEL/HERO. Appropriate adult male behaviors, such as respect, self-discipline, politeness, citizenship and confidence are left to the character traits from the world around fatherless boys to choose from. They are left with celebrities, pro-athletes, popular musicians and animated TV heroes instead of strong male models to mirror. These kids sometimes misunderstand characters.

WHAT CAN BE OF HELP? Keep an eye on who he’s emulating because you are the strong central part of his life, he’s probably incorporating a lot of your values and behaviors, so be aware of what you model. Be sure to surround yourself with the kind of men you’d like him to become.

As someone who grew up without a father, I know exactly the loss fatherless boys feel as they grow into adulthood and work to overcome the side effects of growing up fatherless.

Like my beautiful mom has done with myself and two other grown boys, Keep up the great work. Single moms really manifest the super powers in the feminine nature.

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