I have heard it many times. We all have. Some have said it to my son and I quickly, in front of all present, contradict the statement with barely an explanation.
No, my son is not the ‘man of the house.’ He is a child.
I don’t understand what would make any logically thinking adult try to put the burden and responsibility of a grown man onto a child. As cute as it may seem, it’s not. We need to keep children in their place and out of adult decisions and situations. You simply can’t expect your son to take over their absent or late father’s emotional burdens.
Even now that he’s getting older and has to shave his face every few days, my son still knows his role in this house. There are things that I may consult with him on, such as where to go on vacation and if it fits in with his busy academic schedule or what he wants for dinner, but when it comes to adult decisions, finances, or other adult problems he is not a part of that because he is not an adult, and frankly, it is not his business.
Your son is not here for you to place your financial fears on him or to rely on him for emotional support and expect him to help you make decisions that are beyond what’s appropriate for his age, just because you’re feeling lost on your own. That’s what friends are for.
Historically, overly responsible children are sometimes unable to have fun, relax or have the ability to develop normal friendships. They learn that other people’s feelings are more important than their own, and once they become adults, they can become anxious or depressed for years of worrying about adult issues and burdens they should not have to bear.
Kids are never too young to accept some level of responsibility, yet they should never be placed in a responsible position that belongs to an adult. Some adults fail to accept responsibility and they give their authority to a child and while I salute single mothers everywhere, no child should be referred to as “the man of the house”, it’s a HUGE responsibility and far too great for our boys to live up to.