There is limited research and literature on Parenting Experiences of Single Parents by Choice (SPCs). In an innovative study in Israel, we examined the parenting experiences and attachment styles of 54 Jewish SPCs in various regions in Israel. Both women and men, city dwellers and villagers, with between one to three children, participated in the research. The sample included individuals who had become parents in different ways: sperm and egg donation, adoption and surrogacy. The objective of this study was to examine parenting experiences and their unique characteristics and how family relationships and past couple relationships correlate attachment styles.
The results of the study indicate that an SPC is generally characterized by a sense of responsibility and loneliness. The participants viewed their choice positively despite the difficulties experienced and separating couple hood from parenting was perceived by most as a life constraint. The attachment styles (AS) were distributed as follows: Secure – 50%; Disorganized (Fearful-Avoidant) – 32%; Fearful – 9%; and Avoidant – 9%. Furthermore, reported relationships and AS could be loosely divided into three groups: A. Those who had significant relationships in the past and an interest in future relationships were found to be have a more Secure AS. B. Those who reported complex relationships with their original family and couple relationships were found to be more disorganized. C. A relatively small group of women, who reported a paucity of relationships in their lives and a lack of intimate relationships, were found primarily to have Fearful or Avoidant AS. This paper discusses the challenges and dilemmas we discovered and offers directions and practical implications aimed at helping SPC families with their parenting*.
*The research was published in Hebrew in a book called, ‘Single Parenting by Choice – To Raise a Child Alone’ (Resling, 2018). This paper is an expansion of a presentation that was delivered at the 4th International Congress of Clinical and Health Psychology on Children and Adolescents, Spain, 16.11.18.
Keywords: Parenting, Single parenting by choice, Attachment styles, Solo mother, Solo father
Received: September 16, 2019; Revised: May 05, 2020; Accepted: October 28, 2019