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Paternity: 7 ways of Establishing Who Fathered Your Child

Paternity: 7 ways of Establishing Who Fathered Your Child

In this day and age, paternity disputes and doubts are far from unheard of. There are many statistics about paternity testing and the number of tests carried out although of course, not all are equally reliable.

The American Association of Blood Banks, a reliable source of information when it comes to paternity statistics, gives an estimate of the number of paternity tests carried out in 2003 as being somewhere around 354,000. So, let us take a better look and see 7 different ways in which one can establish whether an alleged father is really the biological father of a child – in some cases paternity can even be established without even testing the alleged father.

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Paternity Testing

Paternity testing is the most reliable and accurate way of determining whether man X is the biological father of a child or perhaps children. Ideally, whatever the scenario, paternity testing involving samples from the alleged father and the child will always be the first recommendation. If the alleged father is willing to be tested and the child too, then all is well and good. DNA samples need to be collected from the putative father and child using mouth swabs. Once the samples are collected, it is time for the laboratories to analyze them to see whether the father and the child really share the same DNA profiles, thereby confirming that the alleged father is the biological father. Unfortunately, there are countless cases where the alleged father is unavailable or unwilling to be tested (or perhaps dead). In such cases, there are other tests which can be carried out. Most online companies will have available an online customer support team. Some of the main ones include EasyDNA, DDC, homeDNAdirect and The Genetic Testing Laboratories.

Testing the Alleged Father’s Possessions

If you are unable to get a DNA sample directly from the alleged father, you might have the chance of using an item belonging to the alleged father which contains his DNA – for example, a pair of glasses, a cigarette end, a used condom, a toothbrush and many other such samples which a laboratory can use to extract the alleged father’s DNA. Obviously, not all samples are the same – some are better than others and provide a higher chance of successful DNA extraction. The age of the sample, type of sample, how it was stored and collected are the main factors must be taken into consideration. The laboratory will be able to give you a full appraisal of your chosen sample once you contact them for the test.

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Whilst taking an item you suspect contains another person’s DNA for a paternity test is legal in most countries, you should be aware of DNA theft laws in some countries such as the UK. In the UK, it is in fact illegal to take any DNA sample belonging to another person with the intention of having it analyzed. You would need the full consent of the person to whom the sample belongs to do the DNA test.

Sibling Testing

When the alleged father cannot, for some reason or other, take part in the paternity test the next best option is to carry out a DNA test between the siblings of the alleged father. There are various types of sibling tests which can tell you whether 2 or more individuals have the same biological dad or different biological fathers.  The following tests can all be used in cases where individuals wish to know if they share the same biological father:

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  • If tested parties are female, they can carry out an X chromosome test
  • If siblings are male, they can carry out a Y chromosome test
  • If siblings are both male and female, they can carry out a full siblings test.

Of course, siblings might not always agree to being tested, especially if they might stand to lose financially.

Aunt/Uncle Testing

Testing the alleged father’s siblings and comparing their DNA to the DNA of the alleged father’s child is another alternative to a DNA paternity test. The result of an aunt/uncle test with their alleged niece or nephew is not, however, always accurate even if they are truly biological relatives. The amount of common genetic material between aunts or uncles with their nieces of nephews is not as much as the father’s. This said, in some cases, it is possible for biological relatives to have barely any common DNA. Conversely, there may be instances where the amount of common DNA exceeds. Depending on the gender of all the people involved in the test, there may be other more accurate tests (such as Y chromosome testing in cases of solely male test participants).

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Grandparents Testing

A DNA test can be carried out to confirm whether the grandparents are related to their grandchild. If results confirm that they are not related then the implications are that the grandchild’s father is not the biological father either. The test is very accurate if both grandparents are available. If only one grandparent is available you might want to consider different testing options, as there is a strong likelihood that you will not have a conclusive answer with this particular test. When both grandparents are available, laboratories can use both their DNA samples to reconstruct the profile of their son (the alleged father). They can then proceed to compare this profile with that of the grandchild to see whether there is a match (indirectly confirming paternity) or a mismatch (indirectly excluding paternity).

Paternity Testing in Pregnancy

It is also possible to establish paternity in pregnancy in what is called a prenatal paternity test. Using a number of methods including amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, and maternal blood samples, scientists can extract the DNA blueprint of the unborn baby. Prenatal paternity testing can be carried out at around 10 weeks but this depends very much on the type sample collection used – for some prenatal paternity tests, the mother might have to wait till her 15th week. It is also worth noting that many prenatal paternity tests also pose certain risks. For example, amniocentesis can result in miscarriage because the sample collection involves inserting a needle into the womb. The needle can sometimes harm the fetus, cause stress and lead to miscarriage. So, please consult your physician before you take this measure.

Featured photo credit: Buzzghana via buzzghana.com

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Elise Bauer

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Published on December 20, 2019

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Kate sits down to the dinner table and is eager to be a good girl and eat her dinner like her Mom and Dad want her to do. She is a sweet girl who wants the approval of her parents very much. It is not always easy though. During dinner, she stands up and starts to leave the table because she has to use the bathroom. Her Dad yells at her to sit back down. He tells her “we don’t just get up from the dinner table, we wait and ask to be excused after everyone is finished eating.” She begins to protest, wanting to explain that she needs to use the bathroom. Her father becomes more upset with her and yells at her that she is now talking back and she is not allowed to say another word at the dinner table until everyone is finished eating and then she can be excused.

Unfortunately for Kate, she can’t hold it, and she has a little accident because she is too fearful to say a word to her Dad. She doesn’t want to get yelled at anymore. She also knows that in her home, kids don’t have a say. What Mom and Dad say is like words carved into stone. They are strict beyond reason and they will not bend their rules. Therefore, Kate felt that she had no choice in the matter and when she could no longer hold it. There was nothing she could do about it.

Kate’s parents are an example of authoritarian parenting. They are strict, they are not emotionally engaged with their children, and they have very high expectations for their children. This type of parenting style leaves children feeling disconnected from their parents.

Kate wanted to communicate to her parents that she had to use the restroom, but she couldn’t even get her words out because her parents have such strict rules and demands of her. They did not care to hear what she had to say, because upholding their rules was more important to them. In their household, a child’s opinions and feelings do not matter.

This kind of strict parenting is not helpful for children. It can damage a child and leave them with low self-esteem, mental health issues, and doing poor academically among other problems cited by research in Parenting Science.[1]

What Does Authoritarian Parenting Look Like?

In the 1960’s, a researcher and theorist by the name of Baumrind established the well known theory of parenting styles. Those four parenting styles, which are well known today, are authoritarian, authoritative, passive, and neglectful. For proactive parents that are trying hard to be good parents, they will usually lean toward either authoritarian or authoritative.

Authoritarian parenting involves strict parenting and high expectations for children. This can sound reasonable and even like good parenting. However, the strict parenting is often characterized by lack of compassion toward the child, little to no flexibility in rules, and complete control sought over the child’s behavior.

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Parents who use this parenting style believe it is their job to control the will and behavior of their children. An article in Psychology Today explains how authoritarian parents operate:[2]

Authoritarian parents believe that children are, by nature, strong-willed and self-indulgent. They value obedience to higher authority as a virtue unto itself. Authoritarian parents see their primary job to be bending the will of the child to that of authority—the parent, the church, the teacher. Willfulness is seen to be the root of unhappiness, bad behavior, and sin. Thus, a loving parent is one who tries to break the will of the child.

For example, Jake has authoritarian parents. He wants to stay out past curfew on a school night because he has an opportunity to play in a jazz ensemble. He has been playing the saxophone for years and his ambition is to play in a college jazz ensemble.

With Jake still being in high school, his parents have a curfew. On school nights, it is 8:00 pm. This rule is instituted because his parents believe they need to ensure that Jake gets his school work done each night and that he needs to be well rested for school the next day. However, they don’t explain the why of their rules to him, they simply tell him that those are their rules. The jazz ensemble is practicing at 8:00 pm on a Thursday night and they have invited Jake to come play with them. It is a well known group and a huge opportunity for Jake.

Unfortunately, his parents say no. Their authoritarian parenting style is unwavering. He wants to discuss the opportunity and its importance, but his parents will not even entertain the conversation. They stop him mid-sentence and go over their rules again. There is no flexibility.

If Jake’s parents had been authoritative, they would have taken the time to hear out his case and would likely have granted him a later curfew for that one instance. They would see that, although they have a curfew, there are some instances when an opportunity is worth bending the rules. They would ask that he has his homework done before going to play with the group, and that he come home as soon as the practice was finished.

Authoritative parents have rules, but they are also flexible based on reasonable requests for exceptions. The authoritative parents are interested in how their children are thinking and feeling. Conversely, authoritarian parents are not likely to be interested in hearing their child’s thoughts and feelings, because they want to control the will of their child, not come to some middle ground.

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Here are some characteristics of authoritarian parenting:

  • They have strict rules that are unyielding and unwavering. This is often called “heavy handed parenting.”
  • They do not want input from the child about rules. They also feel that the child’s opinion does not matter, because they are the parent thus are the supreme authority over the child.
  • There are severe punishments when rules are broken.
  • There is an emotional disconnection between parent and child, because the parent is not interested in what the child thinks or feels. They are more interested in controlling the behavior of the child and having the child be compliant to their rules.
  • Children are expected to listen to their parents and follow the rules, there are no exceptions. A child that voices their objections will likely be punished for doing so.
  • The parents have high expectations, especially when it comes to compliance of their rules.
  • Parents expect that their child will be obedient and they do not need to explain the “why” of their rules and expectations. Compliance is expected out of sheer obedience, not because the child understands the reasons why the rules are set. Parents do not feel the need to explain why they set their rules.
  • There is a failure to have attached relationships between parent and child because of the overly dominant nature of authoritarian parents and their unwillingness to allow their children to have their own voice or free will.

Authoritarian parents are driven by a belief that they need to control their children. This means controlling their children’s behavior to an extreme. They are inflexible and don’t take into account the child’s desires, emotions, or well-being as being as important to enforcing rules to get the desired outcome. Authoritative parents on the other hand, seek to guide and direct their children instead of control. There is a distinction.

The Problems of Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting has many negative consequences to children. Children who are raised in homes with extreme authoritarian parenting are more likely to become dependent on drugs and alcohol, have lower academic performance, and increased mental health issues according to Parenting for Brain.[3] Children who are raised with authoritarian parents are also more likely to have lower self esteem, inability to make decisive choices, and have social skills that are lacking.

When a child is raised to be taught day in and day out that their voice does not matter, then that child will likely be ingrained with that belief. They will not value their own opinions because they have been taught that what they think does not matter and is of no value. This leads to poor self-esteem and low self-worth.

If a child doesn’t believe that their thoughts matter, then what they think about themselves overall is going to be affected. They will not think highly of themselves or believe that what they think, say, or do is of value. This will contribute to low self-esteem long term.

Social skills will suffer because a child who comes from an authoritarian home will be trained to believe that nobody wants to hear their opinion and that relationships are based on compliance.

For example, Judy is raised in an authoritarian home. She is now 18 years old and has her first boyfriend. Anytime that he asks something of her, even if she internally disagrees, she feels that she is supposed to comply and do what he says in order for him to like her and continue wanting to be with her.

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He wants to have sex. She does not feel that she is ready, but she will not voice this to her boyfriend because she doesn’t think that her opinion will matter or that he will want to listen to what she is feeling. She goes along with sex in their relationship to be compliant. She doesn’t want to be punished by disagreeing with not having sex. He says that they are ready for that next step in the relationship and she fears that the consequence of saying no would be that he ends the relationship.

Therefore, she doesn’t even voice her thoughts or feelings on the situation because she doesn’t think they have value or will be heard anyway.

She has been taught by her parents that her opinions and feelings don’t matter. She has learned from the past 18 years with her parents that what matters most is that she is compliant. She gets along with her parents best when she is doing exactly what they want her to do. This is why she feels the need to do the same with her boyfriend.

Going along with his decisions, being compliant, and not voicing her feelings will keep the relationship going and avoid conflict or punishment. The ultimate punishment in her mind would be that he ends the relationship.

With her opinions never being valued by those who she has loved the most (her parents), she has learned that she should not voice her opinion if she wants to keep the other person in the relationship happy. In her mind, because of how she has been raised, compliance overrides all else, and her opinion is meaningless.

However, her boyfriend is not her parents. He is understanding and would want to know how she feels. He wants a long term relationship with her and he loves her so much. His true desire is for her to be happy. He would never want her to have sex if she wasn’t feeling the same way that he was feeling. He would gladly wait and would want to hear what she thinks and feels about taking their relationship to the next level.

Authoritarian parenting methods can inflict great harm on a child. The child becomes emotionally damaged because they grow up believing that their opinions, thoughts, and feelings do not matter. Instead they are taught that compliance and being obedient supersedes all else.

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The Solution

The solution is to move from authoritarian parenting methods to authoritative parenting practices.

Authoritative parenting has been deemed as the best parenting method by researchers, according to Psychology Today. Parents who use authoritative parenting methods have rules for their children, but they are not looking for blind compliance. They recognize that having a relationship with their child is of great importance and therefore valuing the child’s voice, opinions, and thoughts is important.

Authoritative parents seek to guide and direct their children, but they do not seek to control the will of their child.

Parenting Coach Plan explains the foundation of authoritative parenting as the following:[4]

Authoritative parenting can be described as a style of parenting that combines firm limits and clear boundaries with fair and consistent discipline. Authoritative parents are also nurturing, highly-involved, and willing to speak openly with their child regarding expectations and the consequences for failing to meet those expectations. Rules are enforced and fair consequences are put in place for when those rules are broken.

Children raised in authoritative homes follow the rules because they understand the “why” of the rules. They are also bonded to their parents because they are able to talk to their parents openly. This bond helps nurture a positive home environment and a two-way relationship that can last a lifetime.

To learn more about how to be an authoritative parent and how to discipline a child using this parenting method, check out my article:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

Reference

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