I don't know anything about the law regarding minor kids and single parent.
But I have lived in this situation, but I was one of three kids, not the parent. Perhaps my story will give you some ideas. Maybe not, but I hope so.
I was 11 when my dad died unexpectedly. Sis was 14, brother was 7. Mom was a housewife.
Naturally, our lives were turned upside down March 12, 1979. I do not know why, but after a few days of being in a daze, I kind-of just took over a lot of responsibilities at home.
Mom never asked me to--it was something I just did. I guess I saw needs and did my best to fill them--as best as an 11-year-old kid can.
My little brother couldn't do a lot, of course, and my older sister helped out in her way I suppose, though I don't really know what responsibilities she might have taken on since I basically hated my her (I mean that in the sibling sense--we never really got along til she left for college
Mom had to find work wherever she could til a teaching job became available, so she sold Mary Kay for a few years. Even so, it was very difficult to keep the bills paid (thank goodness Dad didn't leave us with a lot of debt--just the house payment).
Well, over the next four or five years, whenever the old car broke down I didn't feel we had the money to fix it, so I read auto repair manuals and tinkered til I got it running.
There's a great deal of satisfaction in fixing something that's broken, and helping the family, to boot. Mom never paid me for fixing the cars or anything else around the house. I also never expected it. I always felt it was my duty to help out.
This being said, I don't know what's going through your kids' minds, and I don't know the reason you're a single mom (widowed, divorced, etc.). I don't know if the dad is anywhere in the picture.
Let me continue this story of my life, because I was not always such a good kid.
After Dad died, my grades in school fell dramatically. In hindsight, I think it was mostly because I was unhappy. I didn't have many, if any, friends, no social life, and I disliked being at home.
Mom was without a clue as to the emotional needs of a preteen, then teen, boy and I felt I was contributing to the family's welfare, but felt unappreciated and untrusted.
I felt I had three "moms" in my life: my mom; my older sister, who was bossy and selfish; and my younger brother who was obstinate and irresponsible.
Then, too, my body and my emotions were going through changes that only a man can understand, and there was no man in my life who could explain or help me understand my rapidly-changing world.
I mean, you know the obvious things--how can a 15-year-old boy ask his mom about certain male bodily occurances--but there were also the little things.
For instance, whenever I needed to go to someplace dressed up, no one in my house knew how to tie a necktie. That's a guy thing. Mom didn't know. My sister didn't know. And of course my little brother didn't know.
And when an adolescent boy needs to shave, I had no one to teach me. Shaving sounds really basic, but even to this day I wonder sometimes if I do it right. Not because I'm unsuccessful at it, but because I've never been shown exactly what is right.
All these little things add up to great big emotional problems, Wildflower. I already mentioned my grades--they went from As to Cs and Ds.
I began oversleeping for school every single day--basically, I think, because I hated school. I was teased every day and was never taught to fight back, or even stand my ground. Maybe if I'd had a male model I'd have handled things differently.
Every year, I just turned more and more inward, and still unhappier. Suicide was a daily consideration.
I think I should mention that Mom had no idea of all this stuff I went through. Most of it she still does not know (I'm 37, now).
Then, there's girls. I liked girls. But a boy needs a good male role model to teach him how to talk to girls, how to ask them out, how to handle rejection--especially when one laughs out loud at him, etc.
My mom simply taught me to be respectful of girls, and that men were only after "one thing" and that I should never, ever, do anything to make a girl feel uncomfortable.
So for the next few years I went on rare dates, and even more rarely a second date. Even up to about age 30, I only got first dates.
Why? I found out through a friend of a girl I really liked but couldn't get a second date with (even though our first date was great) that my date had fun and all, but thought I didn't like her.
I said, "how could she think that? We had a great time, and we even agreed that we'd like to see each other again--but now she won't even return my calls. I don't get it."
Her friend told me that she thought I was just being patronizing--not wanting to hurt her feelings.
"Patronizing? No! I'm honest. I simply don't lie to people. I really like her; otherwise I wouldn't have said I wanted to go with her again!"
Her friend said that I left the clue by not trying anything--I didn't try to hold her hand, I didn't try to put my arm around her, I didn't try for a good-night kiss or anything. She felt rejected.
Wow. That just clarified the prior ten years of my life.
So, while this prose is long, I'm thinking that it would be important to find a strong male role model for your son. Find a guy he likes--more importantly, respects.
This man will be able to teach a lot of what you are not able to. Plus perhaps (if it's not too late) instill a sense of responsibility in him. He may also be able to identify and understand the emotions your son may be dealing with right now.
Anyway, that's all. I don't know how well this applies because I know nothing of you and your family. Please accept with a shaker of salt.
Best of luck to you and your family.