By Brenda M. Hook
1. Respect Women
Many boys that grow up in homes with single moms have never seen their mother treated with respect. We teach people how to treat us, and as a single mother it is our job to teach our boys how to treat others with respect. We must begin by respecting ourselves and not accepting less than what we deserve.
2. We are not POOR – even if we are
Boys that are the product of a single parent home, have probably witnessed the day to day struggle of managing finances. One thing that I never tell my son is that “I don’t have any money.” Instead, I tell him “I don’t have money for THAT.” Young men have enough to worry about, without adding the burden of finances of which they have no control over.
3. How to give a firm handshake
It is very important that boys learn a proper handshake. A firm handshake shows confidence. A proper handshake involves a firm and complete grip, eye contact, and a vigorous up and down motion. A good handshake leaves a good impression.
4. How to dress properly
Dressing properly shows that you take pride in yourself and that you take yourself seriously. This will encourage others to take you seriously. Pants should be long enough to fully cover socks. Shirt buttons should line up with belt buckle and pants zipper. Ties should stop at the belt line. A properly executed tie should have a dimple under the knot. Belts should match shoes. Use an iron. Walking around wrinkled sends a message of laziness.
5. Respect the police
This could be a hard concept, but not learning how to have respect for police officers usually only makes matters worse. When stopped by the police, it is best to keep your hands where they can be seen and obey what the officer tells you to do. Do not run, resist, or put your hands on an officer. Address the officer as “sir” “ma’am” or “officer.” You always have the right to remain silent, even if you are not read your rights. If you are under age, always request the presence of a parent or lawyer.
6. Encourage a Good Education
Education is the key to success. It is not uncommon for boys of single mothers to not even finish high school. As mothers we need to teach our boys that getting a good education puts them on the path to a good future. With the number of scholarships out there, some specifically designed for children of single mothers, there is no reason that going to college is not an achievable goal.
7. Taking responsibility for his actions
There are too many single mothers that spending more time trying to get their boys out of trouble than they do teaching them how to stay out of trouble. We are doing these young men an injustice if we don’t make them take responsibility for their wrongdoings. We need to stop rewarding bad behavior and encourage boys to stop and think before they act. A great percentage of bad situations could have been avoided if only the consequences of the action would have been though about beforehand.
8. Good Sportsmanship
Anyone can be a good winner. But watching your son be a poor loser is embarrassing. Your son can be the best on the team, but once he starts arguing, making excuses, blaming others or criticizing the other team, his skills no longer matter. Poor sportsmanship needs to be called out. Take your child aside and let him know that his behavior is unacceptable. If your son is being aggressive or physical toward others, remove him from immediately the activity.
9. Show gratitude
No one is born grateful-it is learned. It doesn’t matter if you grew up with or without money. We need to teach our sons gratitude for the things they may take for granted. The more you give, the less things are valued and appreciated, these boys end up with feelings of entitlement and are always disappointed. On the other hand, grateful kids are usually more thankful and pleasant to be around, but more than that, gratitude teaches our boys to look beyond themselves, have empathy, and to be sensitive to other people’s feelings.
10. He should pursue HIS dreams
Anyone can follow the dreams of society or a parent and forget about the things that mean the most to them. My son has wanted a career in the military ever since he was in the 4th grade. I think it’s a terrible decision, but who am I to stand in the way of his dreams? We need to let our boys be who they want to be instead of who we want them to be. We need to have faith in the decisions they make and always remember that the road less traveled will bring greater reward than the path of least resistance.