Mentoring for Sons of Single Moms

Here at Focus on the Family, we have nothing but the highest regard for moms and dads who are willing to shoulder the heroic responsibility of raising a child without the help of a spouse. We have always been of the opinion that single parents have the most difficult job in the universe. That’s why a significant portion of our ministry has always been dedicated to the task of coming alongside them and supporting them in any way we can.

We’re keenly aware that single parents face a number of formidable obstacles. To put it in simpler terms, they need lots of help: not just the professional help they can get from ministries like Focus, but the companionship and support of friends, neighbors, and family.

This is particularly true in the case of single mothers who are trying to raise young boys to manhood without a father in the home. As a boy approaches puberty, he desperately needs the masculine influence and guidance of a good male role model. In today’s society, it’s not always easy for Mom to find a man who is willing and able to assume this all-important responsibility on her behalf. Where should she begin her search?  Here are a few ideas:

1)     Extended family. A good place to start looking for male input is Mom’s own extended family. Grandpa is a natural candidate. If the kids have a good relationship with him, and if he has what it takes to be a positive role model, it would be worth asking him if he’d be willing to spend some more time with them. If he agrees and lives nearby, the children could spend one weekend a month at their grandparents’ house. If he lives far away, they could go for an extended stay during school vacations.

2)     The church. Another good resource is the local church. If a grandfather or uncle isn’t available, a pastor or elder might be able to recommend a trustworthy older couple in the congregation who might be willing to act as “surrogate grandparents” on an as-needed basis. A boy could benefit in many ways by developing a positive relationship with a man and wife who have a strong Christian marriage. The key, of course, is longevity, not frequency. If the child meets weekly with a mentor over a period of four months, only to have the relationship cut off at the end of that time because of overload, it’s probably going to feel like rejection. A male Sunday school teacher or youth leader who has a family of his own would also be a good possibility.

3)     School teacher. Other options could include a trusted school teacher or coach. Of course, Mom would need to be certain that she knows these individuals well. She should screen their backgrounds carefully with their employers, and make sure she’s comfortable with their values. Sad as it seems, the risk of sexual abuse is always present in modern-day society.

For more help in this area, we recommend that you take a look at Dr. Kevin Leman’s book Single Parenting That Works. You can order a copy by way of our Online Store.