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Q: “Are my children missing something because I am a single parent?”

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Every family is different, so there is no one approach that fits all. But I think we can say it’s important to ensure that a child does not feel inferior to others. It is unnecessary for single-parent families to try to imitate families where both parents are present. There may be times when a child longs for the mother or father who is not there. Yet there are children with both parents who are overindulged and cannot become independent. Quite a few people who have lost a parent while still small develop remarkably as human beings. As long as the remaining parent prays earnestly and loves the child wholeheartedly, the child can definitely grow into a strong and resolute adult.

First Soka Gakkai President Tsunesaburo Makiguchi was separated from his parents as young child. He built a wonderful life by experiencing one difficult challenge after another. Shakyamuni, too, lost his mother right after he was born. They showed that a person can become great even without parents. If one possesses a strong spirit, or what we call strong faith, then one can change even what most would see as a disadvantage into an advantage. It’s important to foster such a strong mind in children, so they will never be defeated by anything. (Ikeda Sensei, Happy Parents, Happy Kids, p. 16)

What are the keys to raising happy and healthy children? Happy Parents, Happy Kids offers warm, broad-minded advice from Ikeda Sensei, which serves as a reliable guidepost for parents as they seek to build happy families. Happy Parents, Happy Kids is available for $8.95 at SGI-USA bookstores, online at or by calling 800-626-1313.

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