Most single parents are very aware of the difference between having a partner to help you through hard times and parenting solo. Some may even feel judged by others who assume they arrived at that situation through stupidity, immoral decisions or that they've failed as a parent.
This means that certain frequently asked questions can make a single parent feel frustrated, attacked or shamed. It's worth being aware of this before asking some of the following questions and rather asking yourself "do I really need to know?"
“Do you find it more difficult to date as a single parent?”
You're pointing out the obvious but part of the single parenting struggle is constantly being reminded of it. Of course it's hard, but unless you have something valuable to offer towards the situation, it's probably better not to ask at all.
“Is the father still around?”
Really? Have you thought about whether or not the father recently passed away from a tragic illness or that he could be in a coma from which the doctors say he will never awake? Or maybe it was better for the children that they separated, who knows, but it's probably a sensitive subject that doesn't warrant your unnecessary inquisition.
“How do you do it on your own?”
Didn't you know? Scientists have discovered a new species of plant and when watered, it's leaves grow minions with excellent childcare qualifications and wet wipes.
Sadly, there is no such thing and if you haven't already asked, the answer is "magic, pure magic" and "are you offering to help?"
“Are you seeing anyone else?”
"Yeh. Mr Maker, all of the Gummie Bears and Dora the Explorer too."
This goes in the none of your business drawer.
“How do you afford being a single parent?”
Well it's a good thing you don't assume they're covered in child support or loads of money from a recent divorce, but the financial struggles of a single parent who's had no help from a previous partner or other family really doesn't concern you.
Some single parents are lucky enough to have financial help from family, but they won't always want to discuss this with you if they suspect you might judge them for it. Rather avoid asking altogether.
“Would you ever have kids again?”
This implies that you assume this person had kids for the wrong reasons or that they hadn't thought it out properly. That does happen, but so does life and there will always be certain situations that make single parenting unavoidable.
Just because a parent has lost a partner, for whatever reason, many of them dream of having kids again with someone else one day when the time is right. Other single parents have had a bad enough experience to never want to do it again, but this doesn't mean that they don't want to be a good parent.
“Do you feel comfortable when your kids are with you ex?”
This just gets awkward. Next question...
“Do you regret not staying with your partner?”
Asking a single parent this is equally as inappropriate and uncomfortable as someone asking, "Do you regret staying with your partner?"
As a general rule, don't ask any single parent this. They're probably already trying to deal with not feeling regret and talking to you about it won't help anyone.
What are some of your most cringe-worthy single parenting questions? Send us your comment to email@example.com