Are Black Mothers Failing Their Sons?

Blogger LaShaun Williams, writing for the Madame Noire site, raises the provocative issue of whether Black mothers, who can rely on their personal experiences to raise their daughters but do not have such natural instincts with their sons, are not doing as good a job raising their boys. She suggests Black mothers may be coddling their sons through life– “loving them as boys but not raising them to be men”.

In the article, found here, Williams notes how Black women are outpacing Black men academically, professionally, and economically, and asks if there is something about the way we are raising our sons which contributes to this. Using her own experience raising two young sons and a daughter, she acknowledges having greater difficulty disciplining her sons than her daughter, and wonders whether her tendency to excuse their poor behavior fuels the irresponsibility and immaturity which can follow boys into adulthood. She suggests that mothers work harder to consistently hold our sons to higher standards and place the same boundaries on them as we do our daughters.

While Williams is particularly concerned about how this impacts single Black mothers who do not have men in the house to help raise their sons, this issue is food for thought for all mothers of color, married or single. Do we, as Williams suggests, unintentionally favor our daughters by being clearer and more comfortable with how we discipline them? Do we allow our knowledge of how poorly the world can treat our sons affect our ability to firmly and confidently teach them right from wrong? And if Black mothers do have a tendency to coddle their boys, in households where there is no constant adult male presence, what can be done to make sure there is a firmer perspective at work? How can we all, as Williams suggests, “work harder to consistently hold our sons to higher standards”?

How can we parents best help our sons? Examining issues like these, which have no easy answers, is one of the key reasons GCP was created. We don’t want to wring our hands about such issues, we want to figure out how to resolve them. We look forward to exploring them fully, with your input, in 2012.

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4 Comments

Filed under Parents, Saving Our Sons

4 responses to “Are Black Mothers Failing Their Sons?

  1. pd

    An interesting question and one I have been struggling with. In my case I do not think I coddle my son, if anything I may have been to hard expecting my son to be as responsible and organized as my daughter or I was at his age or younger. It was an unrealistic expectation for him and he felt like he was less favored and always getting discplined. I have lightened up some to help repair our relationship and his ego. I still questions what is and would have been the wisest way to raise a confident, achievement oriented, respectful young black man.

  2. John

    I know for a fact that the majority of young black boys are babied throughout adolescence. The result is the bitchified old boys that I see walking around with this odd sense of entitlement and always playing the victim.

  3. Vicki coleman

    This is an issue I am researching. I believe this type of mothering began in slavery with mothers having seen there husbands belittled by being whipped and hanged. Therefore began the plot of role reversal in the black family.

  4. Vicki Coleman

    I am completing a research study on this very topic; yet, I am looking at another piece to the role reversal in the black community dating it’s start back to slavery.