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  • Finding Male Role Models for Kids of Single Moms

    Dawn Davenport

    20
    Finding Male Role Models for Kids of Single Mothers

    Single moms face the additional challenge of providing male role models for their children. While not easy, it can be done.

    Get any group of women together who are thinking about becoming a single mom or are already parenting alone, and one of the first things you’ll hear them talking about how to provide male role models. Single mothers often acknowledge this need for their sons, but I’m a firm believer that girls need male role models just as much as boys. This is an issue for single moms and lesbian couples.

    The key according to our guest experts on yesterday’s Creating a Family show on considering becoming a single mom is to be intentional. Intention is easy to say, but harder to do. We give specific advice, plus talk about all the issues of becoming a mom through donor sperm or adoption.

     

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    Tips for Providing Male Role Models for Kids of Single Moms

    1. Consider moving nearer to your extended family so they can become part of your support network, and your male relatives can become role models. Specifically ask your dad, brother, or cousin to become more involved in your child’s life.
    2. Make it a point to actively cultivate male platonic friends either in groups or individually.
    3. Join a church and ask the minister if she/he can recommend an older couple whose children are grown who might become surrogate grandparents to your child and who share an interest with your child, such as fishing, hiking, or reading. Aim for steady, if not frequent get togethers.
    4. Ask for male teachers for you children throughout their elementary and middle school grades.
    5. Take your children to a male pediatrician and dentist. (When they are young it doesn’t matter, but as a girl reaches puberty, I prefer a female doctor.)
    6. Ask you children’s friend’s dads to include your child in activity specific outings, such as ballgames, theater, etc.
    7. Enroll your children in sports since most coaches are men.
    8. Boy Scouts are a source of wonderful role models for our sons.
    9. When your child is old, enough enroll him in a Big Brothers program.
    10. Look to your child’s interests and try to find male mentors. For example, if your daughter is a budding photographer, find a photography club for both of you to join and seek out male photographers to work with you and your child.

    Sexual predators exist and you must be careful who spends time alone with your children. Search out organizations with strong policies against sexual abuse and background checks, such as Big Brothers, scouting, and most churches. Ask what practices are in place to prevent sexual abuse.

    While finding male role models is not easy, our kids deserve it. What have you done to provide men as role models for your kids?

     

    Image credit: Amanda D. Olson (This woman is one talented artist. Check out her photostream.)

    09/01/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 20 Comments


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    20 Responses to Finding Male Role Models for Kids of Single Moms

    1. Dawn: It was great to be on your program talking about this issue. Like I mentioned, my 10-year-old son’s Big Brother match has been wonderful. We also found several other families, as my kids developed various interests, with dads who could be helpful (creative, sports) and I tend to step away so they have good bonding time. Prior to school age, it was harder… we just were surrounded by women. But…. finding a man to read stories is a great way to get the ball rolling. Simple for both parties, yet a nice pivotal time. Male friends, cousins, neighbors… look actively for them.

    2. Susan M. says:

      As a single mom, I’ve found a number of kind and mature men who are volunteer coaches for girls’ teams in community sports, teams that include their daugtrs. Also church has Sunday school classes and youth group activities led or co-led by men. And my daughter hangs out with her friends’ two parent families a lot. All in all, she seems well grounded and doesn’t express any need for a dad..in fact, likes having a lot of one on one attention with me, and an elderly bachelor comes over for dinner occasionally…a dad would be nice, but without one, we seem to be doing ok.

    3. Jennifer P. says:

      big brothers, big sisters.

    4. Jessica says:

      Navigators USA and Campfire are inclusive alternatives to the Boy Scouts.

    5. Jessica says:

      Thanks for posting! This is great for lesbian parents too.

    6. 4H is a good suggestion if you live in a more rural area, although most of the leaders in our area are women.

    7. Lorraine N. says:

      I think it’s equally difficult to find them for both.

    8. I think it is harder to find male role models for younger boys and girls, than for older kids. I hadn’t given it much thought but do you think it is easier to find male role models for boys than for girls?

    9. Lorraine N. says:

      I’ve been concerned about the need for male role models lately and how to go about it.

    10. Michelle A. says:

      Use men as babysitters when needed. Also are there men at your child’s daycare?

    11. Tara J. says:

      By the way, if anyone knows of organizations for boys besides the boy scouts I would love to know what they are.

    12. Tara J. says:

      Unfortunately my family are all three hours away, I try to make special trips so my son can see his uncles, I travel three hours for haircuts! There is also a man who volunteers in the church nursery that Jeremiah loves. Before we moved, there were neighborhood dads who would include him in games of catch, but we aren’t there any more. I will definitely enroll in the Big Brothers program when he is old enough, and I am looking for alternatives to the boy scouts–because of the exclusionary rules, maybe the Navigators if there is a chapter in this area. I am also looking forward joining sports, there aren’t many programs for two year olds though.

    13. You are welcome Tara. What have you had success with so far?

    14. anon says:

      This is great advice. I’m female and was raised by my biological single mom; this was definitely an issue for my brother (who had some anger issues) but also one for me as I struggled with how to relate to men when I was younger. My mom did seek out role models, although I can’t say that any one particular guy was a replacement for a traditional father figure. Thanks for adding the part about sexual predators. Unfortunately, one of the guys my mom invited into our lives was one – he didn’t abuse anyone in our family, but it was a possibility. There is something to be said for teaching your kids about space and boundaries – you just never know who someone is (in our case the predator was from our church), and we need to empower our kids to make a plan to get out of a bad situation.

      I imagine the same approach would apply for single dads or gay partners raising a child? Maybe it isn’t so hard to find women willing to be involved in a child’s life?

      • anon, thanks for seconding my thoughts on why girls need men in their lives too. And yes, sexual predators are an issue that we have to be careful with. Unfortunately, if we take our fear overboard, our kids can never have a relationship with someone other than us.

    15. Tara J. says:

      Thank you and thank you again for posting this!

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