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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

Freelance Writer, Lawyer & Blogger

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Last Updated on August 22, 2019

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

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

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

More Resources About Parenting

Featured photo credit: Eye for Ebony via unsplash.com

Reference

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