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Define 'Single Parent'

(33 Posts)
HanselandGretel Fri 01-Aug-14 10:20:50

I'm live on my own with my children, no partner. To me that's whats classed as a single parent.

When I was OD some guys would say they were 'single dads', yet on speaking to them further it turns out they don't live with their kids just see them as per arrangements with the mum.

There was also someone who has sole custody of his child but is living with a partner for a few years yet still calling themselves a 'single dad' me that's curious as they are no longer 'single' and are very much parenting with their partner who has loads of input.
It rankles with me a bit to call yourself a single parent but have all the luxuries of a live-in relationship....

OP’s posts: |
GloriousGloria Fri 01-Aug-14 10:26:34

Yes a single parent is a person who is single and has majority of custody of the child/children.

A none resident parent is not a single parent and if they have a partner even if it is not the child/children's parent then they are not single either. grin

Rafanderpants Sun 03-Aug-14 17:54:09

Lone parent is being completely on your own with children.

no maintenance or support from ANYONE.


revealall Sun 03-Aug-14 20:44:21

There is a technical difference between lone and single parent. Although both terms to most people are interchangeable.
However at Uni lone parent meant parenting a child who was resident with you on your own. A dad and a mum who split residency equally could therefore both be lone parents.
Single parents could be defined as just that .. Not having a partner.
So if I had a boyfriend who didn't live with us I couldn't be a single parent really but I could be a lone parent ( parenting alone).
It all bollocks though. There are so many routes into and out of being a lone parent very few fit a standard model.
Good luck meeting someone else by the way .

revealall Sun 03-Aug-14 20:51:43

Oh and I agree it's bloody annoying when someone says they are a single parent but gets lots of weekends off and maintenance. But you only have to be on here a bit to know that those families have their own issues.
And if you have a live in partner but still define yourself as single...well I guess it says it all really.

nefnaf Mon 04-Aug-14 16:14:56

Bringing up kids is hard. It's harder when you have no meaningful relationship with their other parent. Mine see their dad but he refuses to talk to me via any other medium than email, and only sporadically at that. So I parent alone in a literal sense in that all my decisions are made by me alone. And although I have a partner he's not living with us, not parenting with me yet in any real sense (although this may change with the depth and duration of the relationship - bloody hope so anyway! grin ) so I guess I'm a 'lone' parent, not a single parent.

Don't get hung up on labels though. No-one has the right to define you, or your status, anymore than it's fair for you to judge other people for how they describe themselves. We're all doing the best we can under bloody hard circumstances. Plus, a new relationship will come along when you least expect it and may (or may not) change how you parent. But I imagine like me, it would take a change of earthquake proportions to stop feeling like a 'single' or 'lone' parent, even if you DO have a relationship. Me having a fella isn't the same as the DC getting a dad IYSWIM.

RoganJosh Mon 04-Aug-14 16:20:00

What should a dad who isn't with the mother any more describe themselves as? I'm being a bit dopey.

nomoretether Mon 04-Aug-14 19:15:14

I don't think there are definitions really - don't people just choose what to call themselves?

I would have used single parent and lone parent interchangeably when I was on my own with a shared care arrangement with my children. It wasn't a reflection or status symbol, I wasn't trying to claim that I worked as hard, harder or less hard than someone who parented completely alone. Some parts of it were easier - I got "time off", other parts were harder - I had to co-parent with an emotionally abusive ex husband and had to deal with his new partner flaunting her pregnancy in my face every week.

A single mum or dad to me means someone who is a mum or a dad and isn't in a relationship. When I met my DH, he saw his kids for less than 2 hours a week because that's all the mother would allow. His kids were still his life, he loves them so much and was desperate to get more access. He wasn't any less of a dad just because his ex was incredibly controlling and restrictive (and before anyone jumps on me for saying that, when we eventually finished in court, the judge gave her a huge dressing down for attempting to come between DH and his kids).

We don't have to label everything. We can just be who we are as parents smile

DaisyFlowerChain Mon 04-Aug-14 20:52:58

I'd say a single parent is either sex who has children and is not in a relationship. A lone parent is one where the other has died.

greeneggsandjam Tue 05-Aug-14 22:26:00

How confusing! Maybe those dads referred to themselves that way to make it clear that they did have children. I assume OD means online dating? I suppose if they just wrote 'single' then people would complain later that they hadn't mentioned the children. Who knows.

I personally really dislike both titles though I'm not sure why. Parents who live together aren't called double parents or plural parents or whatever are they?

revealall Tue 05-Aug-14 22:52:52

Greeneggs- Two parent families are called just that when it's relevant . Lone parent family is used in the same context.

I think dads with children that don't live with them should call themselves dads but not 'single dads' as this implies that they have the children ie single in the parenting sense not relationship sense to an average person .

I dislike both titles. It implies your parenting is apart from the 'normal ' non defined parenting of two parent families .

BlackeyedSusan Tue 05-Aug-14 23:55:40

I think of lone or single parents as the person doing the majority of the care, what ever the circumsances and involvment of the non resident parent. Some have it easier than others, depending on circumstances but it should not be a competition as to who has it the hardest.

TravelinColour Tue 05-Aug-14 23:58:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThistleDoMeNicely Wed 06-Aug-14 16:20:10

I would say a single parent is a parent not in a live-in relationship who has majority care.

A lone parent is someone where the other parent is not involved.

marioworld Wed 06-Aug-14 16:33:31

I call myself a single parent. I have full responsibility of my dc and ex is not involved, I live with my dc and no other adults. I'm in a relationship right now, but not living together.

I've always viewed lone parents as the same as single parents, just an alternative term. The DWP uses the term lone parent and defines it as 'A lone parent is a parent or guardian with a dependent child under 16 who is not in a co-habiting relationship.' It doesn't make any difference under their rules whether the NRP is alive or dead, paying maintenance or has any contact.

I'm not really bothered about the term or who uses it. I only use it really for official purposes or to clarify that I don't have a partner, but only when that's relevant. I have it harder than a 2 parent family in some ways, but thanks to my parents I get a lot of free time, child free nights, and financial support, so I don't always fall into the stereotype of a single parent.

PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Wed 06-Aug-14 17:15:05

I'm a single parent as I don't live with the DCs' dad anymore.

I have a DP, who doesn't live with us. He has his DCs 50/50 and I'm sure he would consider himself a single dad, and his ex presumably refers to herself a single mum like I do.

Lone parent does sound more 'extreme', as in someone whose ex doesn't have any input into bringing up children. As a single parent whose ex has the DCs once a week, I still consider myself a single parent as the other 6 days a week I am parenting on my own.

DrinkFeckArseGirls Wed 06-Aug-14 17:21:47

Eh? If you get maintenance, you're not a single parent? I do 99% of childcare and I'm very much single parent regardless of maintenance.

Rafanderpants Wed 06-Aug-14 19:22:12

definitely a LONE parent here. alone and lone.

no one at all.

no other half, pissed off somewhere and never seen again.

no extended family, friends don't help (fewer and fewer friends as time goes on!) as DCS disabled and they cant handle that, shes a lot of hard work.

no maintenance, im a fulltime carerer for DC so I get carers salary (hate the word benefits or allowance, its work and its a salary) and DC gets DLA and housing help but that it.

revealall Wed 06-Aug-14 21:09:14

It may not be a competition for who has it hardest but it is very difficult when the experiences are so extreme.
I find it hard when my friend complains about being a single mum. She came out of a divorce with enough money for a house, spousal maintenance, child maintenance and an ex that takes the children twice a week. In many ways she is doing the same as when she was married but without her nuisance husband.
I obviously have the total opposite.
So she doesn't want it to be a competition because she'd loose!

IneedAwittierNickname Wed 06-Aug-14 22:04:29

Didn't realise my £5 and 1 'day off' per week means I'm not a single parent, how bizzare.

Imo a single parent is someone who is no longer in a relationship with their child(ren)s other parent. Or cohabiting with a new partner. (By new I mean not the dcs parent)
Basically what the dwp says.

I have single parent friends who have shared residency, a few hundred pounds per month maintenance and mortgage free houses. I also have single parent friends who have no help, financial or otherwise, from the other parent.
They are all still single parents.

Just as there is no 'one size fits all' traditional family, there is no one size fits all single parent family.

revealall Thu 07-Aug-14 12:23:01

You didn't realise it because no one has said it.

Bizarre indeed!

PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Thu 07-Aug-14 15:16:17

Reveal, you said

"Oh and I agree it's bloody annoying when someone says they are a single parent but gets lots of weekends off and maintenance. " in response to Rafanderpants'

"Lone parent is being completely on your own with children.

no maintenance or support from ANYONE.


PenelopeGarciasCrazyHair Thu 07-Aug-14 15:19:16

Just because some of us get a night off once a week and a token financial contribution, that doesn't mean we're not single/lone parents. I don't have any handy grandma or aunts to help out. Those who get some babysitting help every once in a while from their own parents rather than their ex are no more a single parent than anyone else.

IneedAwittierNickname Thu 07-Aug-14 18:32:00

You didn't realise it because no one has said it.

Umm, you did actually. confused

My mum helps me with childcare on average twice per week. I'm still a single mum.

thornrose Thu 07-Aug-14 18:36:08

I'm a lone parent, since my dd's dad died. When he was alive and we were separated I was a single parent.

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