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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

At Home DNA Tests To Predict Kids’ Athletic Skills?

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:27 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The newest in your child’s athletic careers might just be a genetic test to see what sports they may be suited for. The parent simply swabs the inside of the child’s mouth and sends the cotton swab off to the company for analysis. The tests are reported to be able to:

• Give coaches and parents early information about their child’s predisposition for success in team or individual sports.
• Can be used to help developing a personalized training and conditioning program necessary for athletic and sport development.

The real question is are these claims fact or fiction? What makes an athlete?  When evaluating athletes, amateurs or professional, you need to look at combination of physical, mental and social attributes. Unfortunately these test can cause children or their parents to push for extreme sports regiments with out looking at the mental and physical effects on the child.

Some of the long term effects are due to life-long injuries to areas like back, knee and hip which are often the end result of extreme forms of exercise or adult obesity and the probability of heart disease which can be an unfortunate outcome of the misguided concept of “bulking up.” Rapid weight gain at any age is associated with dramatic increases in abdominal fat, which is linked to diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

We continue to believe that now we have discovered the human genome sequence we are able understand how the human body works, and we would be even crazier to think that knowing about a few genes can let us shape the future of a child for any reason not just for sports.


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Cops To Set Up DNA Database For Missing Kids

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 4:27 PM
Monday, July 30, 2012

There are many organizations world wide that are trying desperately to help find missing children.  South African Provincial Police are trying to set up a National DNA Database of Children to assist in locating missing children.  Officers are trying to use media, movie theaters, banks and even air lines to show video clops showing pictures and details of the over 114 children who are missing in the provinces.  They are also planning to ask malls, trains and taxi operators to distribute pamphlets with photos and details of the missing children

Police announced these plans as officers continued searching for six-year-old Okuhle and three-year-old Mabaxole Maqhubela, the latest additions to the province’s list of missing children. They disappeared in Laingsburg last week on their way from East London to Cape Town by taxi.

During a weekly press briefing, provincial visible policing head Robbie Roberts, said missing children were one of the “biggest concerns” in the South Africa.  According to Roberts “on a daily basis a lot of children are reported missing.”

Roberts warned parents not to leave their children alone or let them out of their sight.  “And ask yourself when you put your children in the care of somebody, do you really know that person? Do you really trust that person?”

Roberts urged parents to tag their children, including on the tag the child’s name and the parents’ contact details, especially when taking their children to a large public area like a beach. “It’s unbelievable how many children get lost on a beach in one day,” he said.

Roberts said children needed to be taught their home address and parents’ cellphone or landline number. “Once recovered, we find it difficult to get this information from children.” He also urged parents to take photographs of their children so they would always have a recent one.

Provincial Police Commissioner Mzwandile Petros had tasked Roberts, other NGOs, to come up with a more effective plan to tackle the problem.

In the most recent missing children case, Roberts said officers had been unable to find recent photographs of Okuhle Maqhubela and her brother, Mabaxole. The brother and sister went missing from a petrol station in Laingsburg at midnight during a trip from East London to Cape Town, where they would have been reunited with their mother.

Roberts said police in the province would approach the national office to have an identity kit they had created for children, to be distributed in the Western Cape and the rest of the country, if approved.

Once filled out and completed, the kit would include details of the child, a recent photograph, his or her fingerprints, a DNA sample, his or her blood type and details of his or her parents. Dessie Rechner, founder of the NGO Pink Ladies which helps police with search operations, said she was “extremely excited” about the identity kit and proposed database.

Missing children are a huge concern international. Many laboratories are trying to assist in the search for missing children. DNA Identifiers offers a Child Safety Identification Kit like the one described in the article to help keep children safe.

Child Safety Kit

More about this article

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UCLA Scientists Link Gene To Autism Risk

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:44 PM
Monday, July 30, 2012

Classic autism strikes boys four times more often than girls, with the inclusion of milder variations (Asperger syndrome) boys are ten times more likely than girls to be diagnosed than girls.

UCLA Scientists link genetic variant to autism risk. This discovery may explain the gap in autism cases between boys and girls. Dr. Stanley Nelson, professor of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and his team narrowed their research on a region of chromosome 17 that previous studies have tied to autism. In that region they discovered a variant of a gene (a gene that is essentially the same as another, but has mutational differences) called CACNA1G. Dr. Stanley Nelson and his team looked at the DNA of 1,046 members of families with at least two sons affected by autism for common gene variants.

According to Dr. Stanley Nelson, “We wanted to identify what was happening in this region of chromosome 17 that boosts autism risk. When the same genetic markers kept cropping up in a single region of the DNA, we knew we had uncovered a big clue.”

The researcher team traced the genetic markers to CACNA1G. CACNA1G helps move calcium between cells. They discovered a common variant that appears in the DNA of nearly 40 percent of the population studied.

“This alternate form of CACNA1G consistently increased the correlation to autism spectrum disorders, suggesting that inheriting the gene may heighten a child’s risk of developing autism,” Nelson said, but he emphasized that it cannot be considered a risk factor on its own. “This variant is a single piece of the puzzle,” he said. “We need a larger sample size to identify all of the genes involved in autism and to solve the whole puzzle of this disease.”

This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and Cure Autism Now. The DNA samples were provided by the Los Angeles–based Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE).

For more information see:

UCLA Newsroom

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Raising Your “Willful Child,” Without Going Off The Parenting Deep End!

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 11:27 AM
Monday, July 23, 2012

Over 200 pairs of eyes are glued to me as my willful child screams, “ORDER ME MY MEAL NOW!”

My child has refused to order her own hamburger (as she has done many times before) and when I calmly tell her she can either order it herself, or go home without her burger, she goes completely berserk. Yes, I have entered into a “food fare nightmare”—with my formidable opponent, my eight-year-old child.  I feel my cheeks flush as public onlookers wait in complete stunned silence to see who will win—the big one or the little one?  What is worse is that somewhere I know that many of the people now staring at us have been here and have felt just like I have at some point in time.

The Four Parenting Keys to Taming Your Willful Child

Surprisingly, over my years as a family counselor, I have come to love working with willful children. These children have a fire in their belly, a spark in their eye and a feisty attitude that assures their future in walking to the beat of their own drum instead of blindly following the crowd—a trait many parents hope for during the teen years. Yet that day in the food fare I was worn out, embarrassed and on the verge of saying “I quit!”

Raising your willful child can be exhausting. Fortunately for me, I learned some commonsense parenting tools that eliminated nearly all future fights. Allow me to share some of these parenting tips that can support your efforts in taming your willful child.

Raising your willful child with these four parenting tips can help you navigate the emotional mine field successfully:

1. Use consistency. Follow through on EVERYTHING you say. Willful children are gifted at manipulating “chances” and finding loopholes to obtaining exactly what they want. Hold your ground as calmly and firmly as possible—whatever you do, don’t back down.

2. Develop patience. Waiting out a fight without saying anything (especially if a temper tantrum erupts in public) can be one of the most difficult, yet important, things you ever do as a parent. Willful children are bright—they know that the biggest weapon in their arsenal is to push your embarrassment button. Swallow your pride—do not cave in just because you think you look bad in public. Remember if you cave in, your child will learn to use this trump card every time they want their way in a public setting.

3. Talk less and act more. This works well, because when you get into a debate with a willful child you are certain to lose! This is why in my “food fare nightmare” example above I gave two simple options; to order the hamburger or go home without it (the talking less part); and then silently waited (the action part).

4. Take time out for yourself. Parenting children is exhausting (especially a feisty child). Find little ways to take time out yourself (share child care with a friend, hire a babysitter more, use extra hours at daycare) so you will have more energy and patience to draw from during the trying situations.

What Does the Future Hold for Your Willful Child?

These commonsense parenting tools tame the negative opposition, but let their beautiful spirit flourish. If you attempt to use traditional discipline practices and make your child do what you want, you face an un-winnable uphill battle.

Fortunately, commonsense parenting does not mean letting your child get away with murder! A commonsense approach uses firm boundaries, mutual respect and discipline—teaching a child to naturally learn and grow from their mistakes rather than fight you every step of the way.

In the midst of your next fight, you may wonder if there will be an end to the madness. I am here to tell you that there will be a resolution to your current dramas. In my case, these tips allowed me to triumph and actually enjoy raising a willful child.

This same child who gave award-winning temper tantrum performances in public and could bring me to my knees is now a responsible, respectful and enjoyable 17-year-old college student whose year ahead is completely paid by scholarships won. For her, and me we both won in the end. May it also be the same for you?

When taming your willful child remember to keep the faith, learn commonsense parenting tips and know that eventually if you follow the basic principles above “this too shall pass.”


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No DNA Test Is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Love Child Really His?

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:40 PM
Thursday, September 22, 2011

Multiple sources have confirmed that Arnold Schwarzenegger never asked for a DNA test to prove he was the father of Mildred Baena’s child.  In addition, Mildred Baena has yet to establish paternity which typically requires a DNA test.

Sources state that Baena’s husband was out of the country when the child was conceived and that he did not return until shortly before the baby was born.  In addition it is said that the child bears a striking resemblance to Schwarzenegger and to Schwarzenegger’s youngest son Christopher.

According to the American Association of Blood Banks an agency that also monitors DNA Paternity Testing, 3.5 out of 10 Paternity Test comes back as a negative.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger safe to assume Mildred Baena’s child is his with out a DNA Test? Appearances can be deceiving especially when it comes to a persons DNA. Do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger should insist on a DNA test?


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Does Chaotic Parenting Led To Insecure Kids?

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:51 PM
Thursday, September 15, 2011

By Alvaro Castillo
Very few of us manage to have disciplined, orderly households where everything runs like clockwork, kids never misbehave or parents never disagree. But there are some valid reasons why at least a healthy measure of order is important. Children, especially little ones, feel most secure and safe in a loving, structured environment. Several studies have shown that too little structure and routine can cause anxiety.

Children not only need to know when they are going to be fed, when it is bath and bedtime and when they have to go to school. They also need to know when behavior is unacceptable and what the consequences are.



Effective discipline entails setting clear limits, communicating clearly and punishing in a consistent way. There is no point in punishing a child harshly today but only reprimanding him the next day for the same misdemeanor. Rewarding positive behaviour consistently is equally important. Parents also need to adapt their disciplining style as their children grow older. Very young children, for example, need immediate punishment (and rewards!).


When Parents Argue

Parental discord or disagreement is a great source of inconsistency. Children feel very confused if they receive conflicting messages from each parent and soon learn that they can play one parent off against the other. Parents need to agree on one set of rules and stick to it. If a parent disagrees with the other parent’s parenting style, it should be addressed – but not in front of the children.

A common cause of inconsistency is when parents feel they need to overcompensate and became more lenient to make up for something, such as long working hours, marital discord or divorce. The sad thing is that instead of “treating” their child in that way, they increase the child’s insecurity and fears.


‘But Suzie’s mom…’

Adolescents in particular are great at comparing their parents to their friends’. While it helps to learn from other parents, don’t be pressurized into changing rules in order to fit in or not to come across as the unreasonable, stuck-up mom. Chances are, Suzie’s mom is probably hearing the same story.

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Stepfamilies Can Live Happily Ever After

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:45 PM
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

By Alvaro Castillo

Stepfamilies can live happily ever after. Is it easy? No it is not. Judging by the nearly 66% divorce rate among remarried families. Does that mean it isn’t possible? No. Is it worth it? Yes, it is. Take it from experienced stepfamilies.

“Falling in love, getting married and dreaming ‘we’ would all live happily ever after was the easy part of step-parenting. The challenges came when we up rooted children from their homes and communities and placed them into the unknown, not even aware of their hurts and losses. We began living with children only a parent could love and found many problems and much stress,” one couple said.

The challenges a couple will face when putting two families together can be formidable. They can include things like:

* Children still grieving for the loss of their original family.

* Children who are not ready to accept another adult in a parental role.

* Trying to find time to nurture a new marriage in the midst of the chaos created by bringing two families (often unwillingly) together.

* Blending parenting styles.  Couples come together with different expectations of children, rules of acceptable behavior and emotional ties.

* Trying to provide mutual and agreed-upon parental guidance to all the children in the family can be difficult.

Ron Deal, a nationally recognized authority on helping stepfamilies be successful, compares bonding a stepfamily with cooking in a crock-pot: It takes a great deal of time and low heat to bring the ingredients together. The term “blended” family often adds to the confusion and disappointment because members of a stepfamily rarely blend quickly into one smooth mixture and this is just not the case.

In successful stepfamilies, former relationships between children and their natural parents are respected while the natural parent slowly opens the door for the stepparent to become part of the mix. The end result can be a group of people living together who have come to value and respect each other and who can live together in harmony.

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Chess Provides An Invaluable Opportunity To Teach Life Lessons

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:46 PM
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

By Alvaro Castillo

It was only to be expected that I would play chess with my children. Before I became a father chess was a big part of my life. My father and brother taught me to play when I was only 5. Since then, I’ve played with friends, family members, and even strangers (I lost, badly).

I now play chess with my daughters. I taught my oldest, when she was 6, and she has already beaten me once. My 5 year old, started learning when she was 3. When the baby, is older, she and I will also play chess. The reasons are simple: 1) I did it as a boy, 2) it’s cheap, 3) it stimulates the imagination, and 4) it’s an elegant hedge against TV or video games.

While the temptation might be to hunker down and watch a movie or TV, I push for chess it is my way of resisting TV. Last year, I was given Dr. Meg Meeker’s book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. This book cautions fathers on the rancidity of the culture that awaits girls, and instructs on how fathers are uniquely positioned to help.  This holds true for all parents.

My 6 year old is now 8 and she faces questions that I don’t recall being discussed when I was here age. As a father I try to find strategies to help her blossom, without hitting her over the head with it.

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, doesn’t mention chess per se, makes two important points. First: A girl needs Dad time. She needs to bond with Dad, to know he is there for her, and to be assured of his love for her. When life gets hard (not if but when) she can go to him and she knows he will listen. Today’s bond helps both father and daughter move though tomorrow’s problems.

Second: Protect her from herself. Wise decision making also called maturity is the final thing that develops in the mind. Teens can rationalize anything for fun. They have the ability to wreak adult havoc but lack the maturity to consider consequences.

When I grasped these two points, I looked at my stalwart friend and ally in parenting, chess. It turns out chess is the perfect companion for raising children. Chess rewards long-term strategy, stimulates the executive decision part of the mind (precisely what Dr. Meeker says develops last), it also helps build a bond.

I’m not the only one to think chess can be a wonderful tool in raising children. Leopold Lacrimosa is a Scottsdale, Arizona chess coach who also runs the American Chess Coaching website. He stated, on the ChessCentral site, that a child who takes up chess “begins to develop logical thinking, critical thinking, decision making, [and] problem solving.” Again all the things that Dr. Meeker says develop last.  In addtions To Lacirmosea Dr. Peter Dauvergne, a professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada, wrote an article for the University of Sydney entitled “The Case for Chess as a Tool to Develop Our Children’s Minds.”

In fact, a casual internet search using the terms “chess children development” yields well more than a million hits.

Chess serves as a means of bonding with my daughters, and as a way to show my daughters how to think long-term. It also provides a vital contrast to popular culture at large. Consider popular culture. Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, for instance, are young women whose current life situations scream “didn’t think ahead.” And yet, it’s hard to blame the fallen divas, especially when you look at the messages they received from popular culture such as TV commercials. For example when Lindsay Lohan was younger than my 5 year old, there was a popular beer commercial explicitly told us not to think. “Why ask why?” Yeah, why think? Just do it.  Chess helps me protect my daughters from this kind of popular media.

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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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