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Archive for September, 2010

Parenting Pointers

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:34 PM
Friday, September 17, 2010

By Alvaro Castillo

The parenting pointers below are pointers for children six months to 65 years or older. Our children are always our children and we always need to treat them with love and with a great deal of respect, whatever their age. At some point, as our children become teenagers, we realize that our job as parents is evolving and we need to enable our children to take on more responsibility and achieve greater independence.

At that point parents start to become consultants, assuming that we have brought our children up with good values, the rest is up to them.  We should have helped them learn to manage their day to day life and only our occasional guidance should be needed. I know you may feel desperate. At these times, stop, walk away, call a friend or emergency hot line, make a cup of tea, hop into a quick cold shower, breathe slowly, count to 100, write, but don’t take out your feelings on your child.

Taking out your frustrations or worries on your child won’t help your relationship with them or other family members, and it is a sign that you, the adult, are out of control. If you are worried about them miss behaving or making mistakes all you will see is their mistakes.  Try catch your child “being good.” Everyone loves to be praised and there’s always something good and probably lots wonderful about your child too. You may just be examining your child’s decisions with a  too-critical eye.  Try coming up with at least five nice things to say a day. Praise your child for appropriate behavior and ask them to tell you “good” things they have done, especially since you aren’t always around to observe. Don’t worry about interrupting them if you catch them in a quiet moment. It will be well worth it and they’ll get back into whatever they were doing.

Involve your children in your daily life this includes things like helping cook dinner, plan meals, and other household chores. Let them know what you’re doing and find out how they spent their day. Sometimes it may be easier to do things yourself or do it “for them,” your children need to be involved. Feeling useful and needed is essential to building good self-esteem.

Children are part of your family team and have important contributions to make. They also learn to respect you and themselves by being more involved. Remember consistency is the key to good parenting.  Say what you mean and and model that behavior if you want your children to be able to understand that there are rules within and outside of a family.

Saying that you will do something and then not following through teaches children that not following through is acceptable behavior   It also teaches children not trust the very people who are most important to them. You are the boss and the role model for appropriate behavior, and your children need to know that it is you and not them who run the house.

If you are afraid of your child or feel that they are running the house, get help fast as bigger children have bigger problems. Discipline your child with love. Punishment should be used only as a last resort, punishments should be fair and should fit the crime. Excessive punishment will backfire and true discipline is really the teaching of appropriate acceptable behavior.  Typically this can be done with consequences not punishments.

When teaching that a behavior is inappropriate, let them know why it is inappropriate and then suggest what they can do instead. Don’t belabor your point, give repeated warnings or get into a power struggle with your child. Make sure that your expectations are realistic. Schedule time with your children like game nights.  These times are wonderful opportunities to become closer. These are not opportunities for lecturing but rather for listening to and enjoying each other.

Step back and hear what your child has to say. You may be surprised to discover that you like how they thinks and that they have a lot to contribute. If you start early, you’ll discover that listening to an adolescent can be a real joy.

Talk with and to your child. Yelling, screaming, nagging, talking down, threatening and any other similar behavior does not improve the relationship. The best “teachable moments” are not during a crisis but during those unexpected times together, such as car pooling or on a walk.

Actions speak louder than words. Children learn by imitating your behavior, so make sure you’re happy with it. Look after yourself. You need time to refuel just by yourself without anyone, but if you are in a relationship you will also need “couple time.” If you don’t make your partnership a priority now you may discover that when you children are older, your marriage feels meaningless and you are unhappy.

We all make mistakes. It’s important to be forgiving with your children and move beyond the mistake. Hug them, hold them, make time for them and let them know that there is nothing more precious in your life than they are.

If you feel that your relationship with your children is not what you want it to be, or if you feel they have behavioral problems that are impacting others, don’t sit idly by waiting for things to change.  They won’t. Children don’t “outgrow” their problems.  Those small issues if not dealt with now will often become larger issues as your child gets older. If you want to change your relationship with your child, you might have to do something differently. Parenting is not easy work and most of us learn by on-the-job experience

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The Blame Game — Parenting With A Victim Mentality

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 4:08 PM
Thursday, September 16, 2010

By Alvaro Castillo

Have you ever had a conversation with you child and walked away feeling like a “Momma Bear” inside of you is raging? This happened to me the other day after my son said that another child had his head pinned down to the ground on the playground. I went through all the “momma bear stages.”

I looked at my 6-year-old gave him pity. I assumed that he had been bullied. I did not check out the facts.  With the limited information I got about the incident I made a snap judgment about the situation. When we fall into the victim role, we make lots of assumptions and over-generalizations about our victimization. We think “My child is not treated fairly!”

Then I was gossiping about how the victimization process took place. I see this happening all the time with parents, and I confess I do it a lot myself. The conversation usually starts with a persistent complaint about something, and then the receiver of the conversation agreeing with your complaint.

Gossip is the conversation of victims. It is characterized as idle conversation that always makes you right, someone or thing wrong, it keeps you stuck in the past. Being a victim is characterized by blame, justification and being right. When you stop being a victim, you give up the ego state of being right.

In this process, was I protecting myself or my son from what I viewed through my victim mentality as a threat? Was there really a threat? Did I created that threat, and then passed that victim role on to my child? Now how does he feel walking onto the playground? Did I created a victim in my approach to his general story about the playground?

Learning takes place when we look at the paradigm in which we are living and operating. We get these paradigms or life scripts from how we were parented and from how our own life events shape what we call the truth. What is the risk of parenting out of a victim paradigm? You raise mini-victims who blame teachers for their bad grades, blame a boss for a mistake at work, blame you for not treating them right or blame a ticket they got on peer pressure or police officers.  You raise children that can not take responsibility for their own actions or behaviors.

The next time you start thinking your child could be a victim, ask yourself these questions. “What can I do as a parent to assist my child in taking control of this situation himself with assertive, not aggressive or passive, communication?” “How can I better show my children they are not victims and give them control of the situation instead of me solving this problem for them?”

The next time you feel victimized, ask yourself, “What can I do for myself to move out of this helpless feeling, creating a more strength-based, solution-focused mind set?”

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Learning Begins At Home: Children Are The Products Of Either Good Or Bad Parenting

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:59 PM
Thursday, September 16, 2010

By Alvaro Castillo

Learning begins at home, the most important lessons are learned at home. Parents are the first teachers. Children learn about their world and how to be a good person from the very day they are born. A child’s sense of self comes from how their parents treat them and respond to them.

Experts in child development often advise parents to tune in to their children from an early age. Children’s self-esteem is nurtured early in life as they interact with their parents in a positive environment. When a child gets into trouble, parents often blame themselves for being too lenient or too strict with them. Some parents will even blame the child for being naughty or disobedient.

The truth is, children are the products of either good parenting or bad parenting.  This does not meant that their parents are good or bad people. We make mistakes with our children, and often we are not aware of better ways to teach our children.

Parents can do a better job with their children when they understand the different stages of a child’s development. As children mature, parents need to manage their children’s behaviour differently. You cannot talk to your teenager as you talked to your six year old. Listen to what your child says and find ways to support their interests.

Communication plays a vital role in our daily interactions with all family members. We need to understand what they hear and see, and be able to send messages in ways that they can understand and accept. Children need adults to guide them in choosing the right words to express themselves. Teaching by example is the most effective tool for parents.

Many parents have found that their words fall on deaf ears when they do not act in a manner that is consistent with what they say. A mother of two school-going boys remarked that today’s teenagers are easily influenced by their peers. She feared for her children’s welfare. She wondered how she can protect her sons from negative influences.

Children tend to draw closer to their peers when their parents refuse to acknowledge them or listen to them. Their peers, on the other hand, make them feel accepted and loved. They never question them or belittle their ideas.

Self-esteem is how a person feels and thinks about themselves. Feeling loved, valued, wanted and respected will make children feel good about who they are. Parents can create such an environment for their children to grow up in. Once your children are confident, they can try new things and explore their world.

Parents must allow their children to make mistakes so that they can learn what they can do to succeed. Just like when a toddler learns to walk, they will fall many times before they achieve success. Once they manage to walk, they will experience an overwhelming sense of pride.   Many children feel unloved because they are scolded or punished frequently.

The foundation of their relationship with their parents is built on fear and violence. While parents consider their acts of punishments as a form of discipline, their children do not share this understanding. They cannot accept the fact that their parents inflict pain on them to teach them a lesson.

As children grow, parents must be prepared to allow them to take charge of their behaviour. When parents respect their children for their sense of independence, children will live up to parental expectations.

In today’s world, our children need to know that being different is acceptable. We do not want our children to be carbon-copies. We want them to have their own likes and dislikes. They should not feel the need to submit to societal pressure to look the same and talk the same way.

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Parenting With Consequences Not With Punishment

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 4:08 PM
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

By Anne Wolski

Parenting can be a particularly daunting task. Parents are constantly being told that hitting a child is not appropriate and that punishment is not an effective parenting tool. However, punishment and consequences are not necessarily the same and can definitely a positive way of disciplining your children. A proper form of discipline teaches the child to become a responsible adult with self-discipline and consideration for other people.

Consequences, encourage good behaviour and help to keep the lines of communication open between parent and child. It is not enough to use negative consequences alone in teaching children to behave appropriately.  This only teaches them what not to do and does not teaching them more appropriate behaviours. Parents also need to use positive consequences for good behaviour.  Consequences need to be used alongside being open and honest with your children as to what you expect of them.

When you focus on your child’s good behaviours and praise your child for these behaviours, the bad behaviours generally decrease and negative consequences aren’t needed as frequently. Remember that consequences are only there to reinforce boundaries and rules when verbal reminders haven’t worked.

It is important to think carefully about the type of negative consequences used for bad behaviour as overuse or inconsistency can render them ineffective and even useless.

There are three types of consequences, natural consequences, logical consequences, and loss of privileges. Each of these can be used as required, depending on the behaviours displayed by the child.

Natural consequences can teach your child lessons without your intervention. These can be either good or bad. An appropriate natural consequence may be when a child refuses to eat a meal, later they will feel hungry and will learn quickly that refusing to eat is not appropriate and leads to personal discomfort as long as they aren’t given food when they express hunger.

In a bad sense however, the consequence of behaviour may lead to injury in which case it is important for the parent to intervene in order to protect the child. Unfortunately, natural consequences can reward bad behaviour. For instance, a bully is rewarded when the victim gives in to demands unless a parent intervenes.

A logical consequence is one that is in relation to the behaviour displayed. An example of this would be where the child throws food or drink on the wall or floor in temper. When the temper is done, the child would then be expected to clean up the mess that they had made. This form of consequence gets the child to think about what they did and the consequence of their actions. These consequences are fairer as they are relevant to the particular behaviour.

Loss of privilege may be used as a negative consequence for some behaviours such as swearing and aggressive behaviour and may range from losing the privilege of watching a television program to not being taken on an outing.

The use of time-out is is a loss of privilege consequence that is appropriate when the child is being particularly difficult or where both parent and child are feeling angry and need a short break to calm down.  You and your child need to use this time to calm down in order to address the situation more appropriately.

Although negative consequences are important tools parents, it is also important to be aware that encouragement for good behaviour will lessen the need for consequences. Your children need to understand exactly what is expected of them. Obviously, if the child then ignores rules and subsequent reminders, then negative consequences need to be applied. These need to be consistent and must apply to all children in the family regardless of age and gender. Otherwise, your children will see it as favouritism toward other children and this may lead to a diminished sense of self worth as well as continued bad behavior.

When using consequences it is important to keep a few things in mind:

Keep the consequence short in order to give the child a chance to try again. Don’t take the toy away for hours…take it away for fifteen minutes or so. The consequence does not have to be long or harsh for it to work.

It is important to implement the consequence calmly and without getting personal or upset. Refer to the bad behaviour not to the bad child. Staying neutral and in control lets the child learn from the situation rather than worrying about how angry the parent is with them.

All children display negative behaviours at times. How you deal with these behaviours as a parent can make all the difference in maintaining a close bond with your children. Don’t confuse negative consequences with punishment and use the negative consequences in a constructive manner. Happy Parenting!!!

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Parenting Concepts: Guides To Great Parenting

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:53 PM
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

By Carl DiNello

Parenting skills are something that new parents can only learn on the fly. Children do not come with a set of directions. The only thing a parent can do is to make a commitment to invest the time, effort, and dedication necessary to raise their children to be honest, responsible people.

It would be impossible to draw up a list of list of hard and fast rules and methods for parenting. This is because not all family situations are alike, and not all children respond to parenting methods in the same way. Does that make ‘learning’ about parenting useless?

Read more »

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Parenting Apart And The Holidays

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:51 PM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

By Alvaro Castillo

Holidays are traditionally depicted as a special time of the year for families.  They are suppose to be a time together. When a divorce or separation occurs, many parents and children find themselves feeling confused, disappointed, conflicted, angry and frustrated. During this time of the year, it is important to remember special occasions do not have to be emotionally stressful provided parents are able to put their children’s needs first.

Below are some pointers on how to make your holidays less stressful for you and your kids.

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To Be The Father Or Not To Be…

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:17 PM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

By Martin Myers

Before you can truly understand the importance of DNA paternity testing, you must first understand the DNA element involved and why DNA is used to establish paternity. DNA is the map of your genetic makeup. Each and every person has a different map of DNA. This having been said, persons who belonging to certain ethnic backgrounds, or certain races, can have DNA that shows related characteristics. No two people, except for identical twins will have the same DNA.

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ACLU Challenging California DNA Laws

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:16 PM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The ACLU is challenging the California law that requires police to collect the DNA from all suspected felons.  Michael Risher an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union told the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco court that the government should not be allowed to take the “genetic blueprint” of someone who hasn’t been convicted of a crime.  One-third of the 300,000 Californians arrested on felony charges each year are never convicted.  This does not stop the police from talking their DNA sample.

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Developing Co Parenting Skills: Working Together To Raise Happy Kids

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:56 PM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

By  Laura Doerflinger, MS, LMHC

Co- parenting isn’t easy, it’s quite a chore. What is more difficult on you child is when neither parent is willing to negotiate or communicate, then the child has the job of transitioning from one parenting style to the other. As a parent educator and family therapist, I have seen many anxious and confused children affected by their parents’ inconsistent rules and styles. This can occur even to children who’s parents live in the same house, the bottom line is that it is the parents’ responsibility to create a balance.

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Parenting: Prescribing The Symptom

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 9:04 AM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

Rebecca was struggling with her 3 year old’s screaming. Whenever someone didn’t do what he wanted, he screamed and screamed, all in an attempt to get his way. Rebecca had tried many different things to get him to stop screaming, time outs, telling him to use his words, walking away and ignoring him, taking away toys and taking away events, such as a birthday party. A couple of times she had lost it and screamed back at him. Nothing was working to get him to stop screaming. Even though screaming didn’t work for him to get his way, he kept doing it.

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