Single Parenthood and its Challenges

There is no doubt that parenting is challenging, even under the best of circumstances. The special issues of single parenthood can sometimes be overwhelming. Let's explore the causes of single parenting, and take a look at the special issues related to each circumstance.

Death of a parent

When there is a death of either the mother or father, through illness or accident, deep and devastating feelings are experienced by both the children and the remaining parent. Anger, guilt, depression, loneliness, regret and feelings of loss will be experienced by both the mother/father, as well as the children. Appropriate emotional support, whether by family members, social workers, mental health professionals or others will become an essential tool to restoring a healthy and positive attitude, and to recovery from this great loss. As life begins to normalize, there will be emotional issues to deal with, and the now single parent will take the brunt of the pressure. In addition, there may be financial issues which make the challenge of single parenting more complex. It is essential that families experiencing this type of loss, and especially the single parent of these families seek out and get the help they need.


When parents divorce there may be similar issues of guilt and loss as when one parent dies, but in general this is quite a different situation for both the parents and children. A divorce may come after a long period of time of fighting between parents. Children may have divided loyalty, and sometimes parents use the children to punish each other.  There can be serious financial issues, as the parents are required to support two separate two households. It is essential that families going through divorce should seek out support from professionals, as well as from family and friends.

Choosing Single Parenthood

Sometimes the circumstances leading to raising children alone are of a more positive nature. Women primarily choose to undertake single parenting, by either adoption or artificial insemination. In many countries adoption is a complex legal process. With many eligible couples waiting extended periods of time for babies, it is not at all surprising that a single woman might have difficulty finding a healthy baby to adopt. Artificial insemination, which is the impregnation of a woman from sperm collected from a male donor, leading to pregnancy and birth of the woman's biological child, is the chosen alternative for many women. A single women choosing parenthood by either of these methods will face many of the same challenges as other single parents, but at least this is a positive choice they made and not the result of sad or tragic circumstances. In turn, this will hopefully help them to overcome some of their challenges with a more positive outlook.

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