It annoys me when people say they are a single parent when, in my opinion, they are not. Which makes me to question: what is the definition of a single parent?
To me, a single parent is someone who makes the decisions almost all of the time, if not exclusively, for the children. This parent also has the vast majority custody with the children – say, has the children 85-90% or 12-14 nights a fortnight.
A co-parent is someone who shares between 50-85% (or 7-11 nights a fortnight) of the custody and makes joint decisions regarding the welfare and wellbeing of the children. Co-parents take an active interest in the child’s daily life.
So, what if you don’t fit these descriptions? Perhaps the best description for you is single person with children or a parent who is single or a divorced dad/mum? You may be a parent who has become alienated from your children or a person that for a variety of other reasons doesn’t see the children.
I have heard some single parents describe the other parent of the child as a “sperm donor”. This title isn’t very kind (especially when it wasn’t a donor situation). However, it does aptly describe the absence of one parent and lack of communication between the parents.
So when you next meet a person that says they are a single parent, it could be worth investigating what that person means. Or perhaps, you might like to reconsider how you describe yourself in relation to your parenting status.