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.
Tips for Providing Male Role Models for Kids of Single Moms
- 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.
- Make it a point to actively cultivate male platonic friends either in groups or individually.
- 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.
- Ask for male teachers for you children throughout their elementary and middle school grades.
- 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.)
- Ask you children’s friend’s dads to include your child in activity specific outings, such as ballgames, theater, etc.
- Enroll your children in sports since most coaches are men.
- Boy Scouts are a source of wonderful role models for our sons.
- When your child is old, enough enroll him in a Big Brothers program.
- 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.)