Types of Parenting

Many people believe that when an unplanned pregnancy is experienced, there are three options to consider: abortion, adoption, and parenting. However, the option of parenting itself is accompanied by a variety of options. Different responsibilities and challenges are associated with each option.

Option 1 – Getting Married:

  • Some couples choose to get married following the discovery of an unplanned pregnancy.
  • This option may prove to be a benefit. Ask yourself how long have we been dating, how well do we know each other, and if you were already talking about marriage?
  • Most couples are not encouraged to get married just for “sake of the baby.” Marriage has enough challenges when you are entering into it for the right reasons.
  • If you are in a good relationship, this parenting option is the easiest because it has two people committed to meeting the needs of the new baby.
  • Getting married doesn’t always solve problems, seek premarital counseling to see if this option could work.

Option 2 – Joint Parenting:

  • This option is often referred to as joint custody.
  • You may be choosing this parenting option because the two of you are interested in having the baby.
  • You recognize, at least for now, that the two of you are not ready to enter into a marital relationship.
  • This parenting option often has two people committed to meeting the needs of the child, but it comes with additional challenges such as schedules, commuting and communicating.

Option 3 – Single Parenting & Visitation:

  • This may be the parenting option used because one of you is fully committed to the baby.
  • This option is more challenging because most of the parenting responsibilities fall on one individual.
  • Child support is still expected to make meeting the needs of the child easier for the single parent.
  • This parenting option also has the challenges of schedules and commuting.

Option 4 – Single Parenting:

  • Single parenting is usually chosen by individuals who want the baby but their partner has exited the relationship and does not want to be a part of yours or the baby’s life.
  • When choosing this parenting option, it is best to proceed with the expectations that the partner will not participate in any matter.
  • Things may change, the other parent may want to become more involved through seeking visitation, providing financial support and helping out. If this happens, then you and the baby get more than you expected.
  • In most cases, child support is still expected and lawfully required. However, his disinterest often makes collecting a challenge.
  • This is the most challenging parenting option because it means meeting most of the parenting responsibilities yourself. Friends and family usually become your best support.
  • See Doing It Alone.

Last updated: 12/2006