Ideas About Being a Single Parent

The prevailing idea of the two-parent family makes it difficult for single parents to feel legitimate. A married couple, in which one partner does essentially all of the parenting and the other works 70 hours a week, collapsing at home between jobs, is seen as legitimate. A single parent, involving her family with other families, a church community, and a neighborhood is somehow found lacking. Don’t you think there is something a little bit crazy about this idea?

Most single parents didn’t plan to be single parents but found themselves in that role or chose it as a relationship changed. Countless single mothers are invited into guilt because of society’s idea that “a boy needs his father” even though they may have ended the relationship because their partners were abusive to they and their sons.

Single fathers are often given the message that they are incomplete parents and are commonly barraged by invitations to meet women who would make “wonderful mothers.”

Parenting is not an easy job for two partners working together. To many, it would be unimaginable to go it alone, yet many people who planned to be single parents or became single parents find it not only possible, but joyful and rewarding. In lieu of this, we prefer the term “sole parent” rather than single parent. “Single” has so many negative connotations, including only half as good, and failure of not having made the grade.

The word “sole” conjures up something entirely different. It carries recognition of the extraordinary responsibility that these parents face and of the strength necessary to achieve what they achieve.

A second meaning is not hard to discern — “soul.” Soul is about essence, and for persons to refer to themselves as “soul parents” is for them to recognize the “heartfulness” that they provide.


  1. If you think about yourself as a “sole” parent rather than a “single” parent what comes to light that you can appreciate about yourself?
  2. What are the advantages of sole parenting?
  3. What keeps these advantages hidden?
  4. How is your family part of a larger community?
  5. What does this connection contribute to your child?
  6. What have you done to make this possible?
  7. Are there other steps you would like to take?

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