In Rise Before the Son: Advice for Single Mothers on Raising Successful Boys, single mother Jenieka L. Pearson promises a roadmap to build trust and communication with sons, along with support and guidance to other mothers walking that sometimes lonely and difficult path.
Although divided into 12 chapters, including “The Choice is Yours,” “Sacrifice for Success,” and “Process and Patience,” the book is written somewhat stream-of-consciousness style and quickly becomes repetitive.
It is also filled with the jargon of innumerable self-help books. Readers will find scores of statements such as, “Do what really matters”; “Listen to your heart”; “…accept the pain, bless it and release it.” Unfortunately, such platitudes do little to help readers. Telling mothers they hold the power to transform themselves and that they “must do the work” to stay positive is all well and good. But most parents—whether single or with a partner— want to do better and be better. The trick is how.
Indeed, the author’s book would have been more powerful had Pearson related more personal experiences. She includes one memorable anecdote about when she confessed anger at her son’s back talk and had him call his absent father out of spite. Her son became tearful and confused. She quickly snatched the phone back and apologized to her child, creating a teachable moment on how grown-ups can make mistakes but learn from them and move forward stronger. Unfortunately, such illustrative moments are rare in this book.
Pearson offers solid insight about letting a child be himself and learning to listen. She also nails it when she talks about the danger of comparing a son to his father, since the child may instinctively know that this is often not a compliment. But those gems feel buried.
Single mothers hunger for real been-there-done-that advice. Unfortunately, the necessary specifics are largely missing in these pages.
Also available as an ebook.