Single Parenting

Single parenting happens due to death, divorce, adoption, guardianship, or unprotected sex outside a committed relationship. In some cases, the other parent may be physically present in the home, but otherwise unengaged and it can feel like being single. However it happens, it is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and all single parents should be treated with respect and grace. What is not needed is criticism.

With teenage pregnancies, the challenges are multiplied. Many young people lack the financial and emotional resources to create a stable home on their own. Additionally, the whole life/career trajectory of a youngster who becomes a single parent has to change. Too many churches choose to shame and reject these young people and miss an opportunity to love and care for people as Jesus does.

The Bible doesn’t have any formal sections dealing with single parenting as we may know it today. However, it does talk about widows and how God views the fatherless. King David wrote, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Ps. 68:5, NIV). The Bible also has strong words encouraging us to care for and give justice to the fatherless and the widow—often a single parent (see Deut. 10:18, 27:19).

Paul tells the Galatians, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). We have an obligation to one another in the church to lift each other up, not make life harder than it already is. Instead of judging the single parent—offer to help. Babysitting, supplies of diapers, and offering to help with clothing and medical costs is a great way to express the love Jesus has for those single moms and dads who have such a tough job.