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Single Mom Wants Sons to Respect Her Authority


I am a recent single mom with two boys ages 5 and 3. How can I instill respect for my position as head of the house in my sons without the advantage of an authoritative voice or male presence?


Being a single mom definitely presents its own challenges, but it is important to remember that you have the ability to be both the authoritarian and the compassionate voice of the household. Being authoritarian is more than just voice tone; it also involves being firm in standing your ground and consistent in following through with both consequences and rewards. If you do these things, then your children will come to understand that you mean business and your word is final.

Your children are very young. Please don’t feel like their behavior will never change or improve. Their ages are perfect for implementing rules and setting expectations that can help shape their behavioral development.

Lay down some guidelines about what will and will not be tolerated. Tell them exactly what punishments will occur if the rules are broken. Sometimes children don’t know exactly what adults expect of them. Being upfront about what is inappropriate behavior can help eliminate some of the confusion.

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