They say boys take longer to mature than girls, and in a number of ways, that’s very true. Girls, from a young age, seem to anticipate their future as a woman.
They say boys take longer to mature than girls, and in a number of ways, that’s very true. Girls, from a young age, seem to anticipate their future as a woman. When boys are young, they seem to be less fixated on their future and more able to enjoy the moments of childhood. But one of the pressing issues that all boys will face one day is that they will need to learn how to be a man. When they are young, they don’t consciously pay attention to this. But as they grow older, their awareness that this transition must take place swells. And as it grows, so too does a mom’s fear that the process may not go well.
When boys hit their preadolescence years, they begin to sense that manhood is around the corner. As I said, girls seem to start moving toward womanhood at a younger age, and more gradually than boys, who mature in spurts. But while, as women, our transition into becoming adults was probably smoother, we can still understand what our boys are going through. What is more difficult for us to understand is a boy’s concern that we are going to impede the process. Here is the real rub: A son needs a man to help him navigate the transition. Boys are visual creatures. They need to see what a man looks like, speaks like, and behaves like in order to mimic that behavior and internalize it.
This is very important for mothers to understand—especially single mothers. Often sons who live with only their mothers don’t have the opportunity to spend time with men they look up to and there- fore don’t observe healthy masculine traits to mimic and internalize. So it is especially important for single moms to ask a grandfather, uncle, coach, pastor, or friend to spend a little time with their sons. Hard as they try, single mothers can’t be both mom and dad. This is both good news and bad news. The good news is that mothers should relieve themselves of the pressure that they put on themselves to be everything to their sons and just focus on being really terrific moms. The challenge for single moms is to recruit a good man or two to spend time with their sons in order to show them how great men behave.