A woman blogger (the blog is now defunct) asked the question of how she could raise her son to be an alpha. She was especially worried as she is a single mom. There are many different definitions of alpha floating around the manosphere so let’s just say we really want our sons to grow to be Men.
I was intrigued by this question as these days we are taught that it is the women who knows best in raising the children. Her word should be law and “Mommy knows best”. For some things, I think this is true in many homes. Most of the time, I am the one who decides how sick the children are and if they need to go to the doctor. I make most of the small and many of the large decisions when it comes to school. In these areas, I do know best often enough. However, it’s not because of some magic Mommy power that I possess. It’s simply that I have far more experience in these matters. Some will want to call it intuition, but it’s not as I didn’t have this skill until I had the experience to back it up. (By the way, having the experience to make the decision does not always make it mine. Maritus is the head of our home and the final decision is his. This is something very important for boys to realize).
I do not have any experience in what it is to be a boy, much less a Man.
Boys need their fathers (girls very much do as well, but this post is going to be about boys). If there is a situation where this is honestly not best or not possible then boys need to have some time with Men. Time alone to do Man things, time to see how these Men relate to women, how they relate to their mothers, how they relate to the other Men around them and how they relate to the world. This is probably the biggest influence in teaching a boy to be a Man. He absolutely must be with other Men.
This can be bitter sweet for a mother, yet she should know how important this time is. However, those apron strings can have an awful hold sometimes and it is hard to let go. It is especially hard to not say anything to the Man doing the teaching when what he is teaching goes against every fiber of our beings. What we need to keep in mind, is that even though it may be against our nature, it is not against theirs.
This is how Men may very well teach a young boy a skill (watch it till the end. It’s worth it).
It can be scary as a mother watching this, but if we want our boys to grow up into strong and masculine Men, this is what will bring the confidence that comes along with accomplishing something for real. It’s not a trophy that everyone wins for participating. It’s a real and true task that was learned and learned well by the boy himself. That cannot be replaced by false words of praise. Kids do know better. Much better.
It reminds me of the beginning of the movie A River Runs Through It. Norman narrates:
But it was a tough world, too. Even as children we understood that and admired it. And of course, we had to test it. I knew I was tough because I had been bloodied in battle.
I think there are some things that mothers can do as well in helping their sons along the road to manhood. First and foremost is showing respect and admiration to his father (or to whomever the Man is that will be spending time with him). He can learn from you what a good wife and mother can be and it will help him in his search later in life, should he choose to do so. Mothers can be a powerful influence on their sons and I think they will search out a woman who is very much like the woman who treated the man he most looks up to with respect and love. He will also want to emulate the man who was able to inspire that in a woman.
Second, I believe that mothers should let their sons game them. I say “let” as when they are little you are very likely to see it while it’s happening and realize what’s going on. Don’t make him stop because he gives you that look. You know the one I mean. The mischievous look with the glimmer in his eye. Respond positively to it. That look comes from confidence. Don’t take that away from him. Now, obviously, if he is trying to use it to steal your car keys then you put the kibosh on it. But, if your sons are anything like mine, then he uses that look often and many times it is hysterical and should get a positive laugh, smile, treat, what have you because of it. Let him use his confidence to sway you in a positive manner. It will serve him well later on.
Thirdly, let him be a boy. He’s going to get hurt, dirty, and into trouble. In some ways, your should encourage this. If he falls, if there’s no blood then tell him to rub some dirt on it and get back out there. If he has a bone sticking out his leg, eh, then maybe think about taking him to the doctor. But let him be a boy. Never discourage this. He needs to learn some control over his boyhood, but nothing more as this will lead him on the path to being Man.