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Raising Teens as a Single Parent: It Takes a Village

My name is Carla and I’m a single parent of 3 children (1 daughter, 2 sons) and raising them in a society where it seems that children run the household, especially the young boys. As a woman, I feel I cannot teach a boy to be a man, but I can teach them respect, discipline, and consideration.

As parents of boys who are actively participating in sports, we as parents make huge sacrifices to make sure that they have all they need in order to be successful on and off the field (i.e. money, uniforms, transportation, study time, etc.). But, children are not always appreciative of the sacrifices that we make for them on a daily basis.

One of my sons, particularly my youngest son, believed that as a parent, it was my “job” to do whatever he wanted me to do and he did not have to do the things that were asked of him. My motto has always been, “do what you are supposed to do and you can do what you want do.” My son knew the motto, but I don’t think he fully understood the consequences of his actions.

When my son was younger, he would always think of ways he could come up with some extra money.  He decided to steal some money from his grandfather’s wallet, take it to school, and claim he found it, so the school would hold it for a week until someone would retrieve the money.  Well, he knew no one would come forward. When I was alerted by the school of my son’s scheme, I knew he was up to something. One thing that a mother knows; she knows all about her children, the ins and outs, ups and downs and the overall makeup of the kids. When I talked to my son, he told me he didn’t know how the money made it to the school, he didn’t steal it, and he just didn’t know what I was talking about. I took his explanation as an untruth and I told him, “if I find out that you are lying to me, there will be repercussions and consequences.” I hung up the phone and within 5 minutes, the school called me back and I could hear my son in the background crying, saying how sorry he was. I went to the school, had a firm conversation with him, and informed him that when he arrived home from school, he would be disciplined. He was on punishment for a month, all his electronic privileges were taken from him and he could not participate in sports for several weeks. He was also made to apologize to the school secretary, the principal, and his grandfather for trying to scam everyone. The embarrassment of having to apologize to those he hurt caused him to become a more humble and caring person.

The things that you do, don’t just affect you, they affect everyone around you. My son taking the money affected his grandfather (because it was a loss of income), the school secretary and principal (they believed the lie and lost their trust), his family (because his brother and sister attended the same school) and me, his mother, because I didn’t think my child would do something like that.

My son learned a valuable lesson; respect is earned and not given. You have to consider others when you decide to take action, because what you do can cause problems for others. We have to learn how to love someone else besides ourselves. He graduated from high school with honors and is now a college student on the Dean’s List.

Being a single parent can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. It DOES take a village to raise a child!