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News and insights in the world of DNA and genetics for paternity, immigration and forensics

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Names. They can have a huge impact on your life, particularly when your name is unusual or odd. I’m sure you have no doubt that our staff has seen many crazy names over the years in the business of DNA Testing. While we’d love to share our favorites, we cannot dishonor client confidentiality. Instead, below is some interesting research on the types of names that might just indicate how your parents “vote” on your name.

Based on research from BabyNameWizard.com, it appears that there is a big divide on the style of names chosen in blue states and red states. Laura Wattenberg founder of BabyNameWizard.com says that more progressive communities, tend to favor more old-fashioned names. Parents in more conservative areas come up with names that are more creative or androgynous. What do you think? To see more on this go to Baby Names: The Latest Partisan Divide?

Written by Briana R.

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.

By Briana R.

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?

 

By Briana R.

Most people don’t realize that there are many different types of twins in the world. Not only can you be identical or fraternal twins but you might be one of any number of other type.  Below are some of the most common other types of twin.

1. Conjoined Twins
Conjoined twins are monozygotic multiples that do not fully separate from each other due to the incomplete division of the fertilized ovum. The individuals will be connected at certain points of the body, and may share tissue, organs or limbs.
2. Twins Conceived Separately: Superfetation
Normally when an egg is fertilized, a woman’s cycle is interrupted and ovulation ceases. Rarely, however, an egg can be released while a woman is already pregnant, resulting in twins that are conceived at different times.
More: Superfation
3. Twins with Different Fathers: Heteropaternal Superfecundation
Fraternal (dizygotic) twins are the result of hyperovulation, the release of multiple eggs in a single cycle. Superfecundation describes a situation where the eggs are fertilized by sperm from separate incidences of sexual intercourse. In a case where a woman has sex with different partners, the twins could have different fathers and the apporpriate term is heteropaternal superfecundation.
More: Heteropaternal Superfecundation
4. “Half Identical” Twins: Polar Body Twins
There are two types of twins, right? Dizygotic (fraternal) twins result when two eggs are fertilied. Monozygotic (identical) twins come from a single fertilized egg that splits. But what if the egg splits and then each half meets a sperm? That’s the proposed theory for polar body or “half-identical” twins, twins who are very much alike but aren’t a 100% DNA match. Although it seems to be a reasonable theory, there is no definitive test to confirm polar body twinning.
More: Polar Body Twinning
5. Boy/Girl Identical (Monozygotic) Twins
Identical (monozygotic) twins are always same gender because they form from a single zygote that contains either male (XY) or female (XX) sex chromosome. However, there have been a few reported cases of a genetic mutation in male twins where one twin loses an Y chromosome and develops as a female. The female twin would be afflicted with Turner’s Syndrome, characterized by short stature and lack of ovarian development. Of course, another explanation for gender differences in identical twins is an identical twin who undergoes a sex change operation.
More Info
6. Mirror Image Twins
Mirror image twins are monozygotic, twint that form from a single fertilized egg. When the split occurs late – more than a week after conception – the twins can develop reverse asymmetric features. This term is not really a type of twin, just an way to describe their physical features. For exmample, they may be right- and left-handed, have birthmarks on opposite sides of their body, or have hair whorls that swirl in opposite directions. In theory, if the twins faced each other, they would appear to be exact reflections of each other. About 25% of identical twins are mirror image twins.
More: Mirror Image Twins
7. Parasitic Twins
A type of conjoined tiwns that develops asymmetrically, with a smaller, less formed twin dependent on the stronger, larger twin. Manar Maged gained notoriety after being featured onOprah. A variation of parasitic twinning is fetus in fetu, where an abnormally formed mass of cells grows inside the body of its monozygotic twin. It survives during pregnancy, and even occasionally after birth, by tapping directly into the blood supply of the host twin. This reportdescribes an Indian man whose fetus in fetu was discovered as an adult.
More: Parasitic Twinning and Fetus in Fetu
8. Semi-Identical Twins
A type of twinning identified in a pair of three-year-old twins in 2007. Described as identical on the mother’s side but sharing only half their father’s genes, the rare twins developed when two sperm fertilized a single egg, which then split. One twin is a hermaphrodite being raised as a female, with both testicular and ovarian structures, while the other is anatomically male.
9. Twins with Different Birthdays
The most common explanation is a labor and delivery that begins before midnight on one day and ends after the clock changes to the next day. If that day happens at the end of the month, or even on New Year’s Eve/Day, the two babies can have birthdays in different months and even different years! Also, sometimes a pregnancy is prolonged to provide each baby with an optimal chance for survival. If preterm labor forces the delivery of one baby, doctors can successfully control the abor and delay delivery to give the other baby more time in the womb. Twins and higher multiples have been born days and even weeks apart.
More: Twins With Different Birthdays
10. Twins of Different Races
Heteropaternal superfecundation can explain cases of fraternal (dizygotic) twins with differing racial characteristics. In one case, the differentiation was due to a lab mix-up during an in-vitro procedure. However, in 2005 in the United Kingdom, two bi-racial parents conceived fraternal (dizygotic) twin girl twins, Kian and Remee Hodgson. Described as a “one in a million” occurrence, experts explain that the girls inherited different genetic characteristics from their mixed race parents. One is fair-haired and light skinned, while the other has dark hair, eyes and skin.

1. Conjoined Twins are monozygotic multiples that do not fully separate from each other due to the incomplete division of the fertilized ovum. The individuals will be connected at certain points of the body, and may share tissue, organs or limbs.

2. Twins Conceived Separately or Superfetation Twins occurs when an egg is released while a woman is already pregnant, resulting in twins that are conceived at different times.

3. Twins with Different Fathers or Heteropaternal Superfecundation occurs when fraternal (dizygotic) twins which are the product of multiple eggs being released in a single cycle are fertilized by sperm from separate incidences of sexual intercourse. In a case where a woman has sex with different partners, the twins could have different fathers and the appropriate term is heteropaternal superfecundation.

4. “Half Identical” Twins or Polar Body Twins is a theory at this time.  There are two types of twins, right? Dizygotic (fraternal) twins result when two eggs are fertilized. Monozygotic (identical) twins come from a single fertilized egg that splits. But what if the egg splits and then each half meets a sperm? That’s the proposed theory for polar body or “half-identical” twins, twins who are very much alike but aren’t a 100% DNA match. Although it seems to be a reasonable theory, there is no definitive test to confirm polar body twinning.

5. Boy/Girl Identical (Monozygotic) Twins occurs when there is a genetic mutation in male twins where one twin loses an Y chromosome and develops as a female. The female twin would be afflicted with Turner’s Syndrome, characterized by short stature and lack of ovarian development. Of course, another explanation for gender differences in identical twins is an identical twin who undergoes a sex change operation.

6. Mirror Image Twins are monozygotic, twins that form from a single fertilized egg. When the split occurs late – more than a week after conception – the twins can develop reverse asymmetric features. This term is not really a type of twin, just an way to describe their physical features. For example, they may be right- and left-handed, have birthmarks on opposite sides of their body, or have hair whorls that swirl in opposite directions. In theory, if the twins faced each other, they would appear to be exact reflections of each other. About 25% of identical twins are mirror image twins.

7. Parasitic Twins is a type of conjoined twins that develops asymmetrically, with a smaller, less formed twin dependent on the stronger, larger twin. A variation of parasitic twinning is fetus in fetu, where an abnormally formed mass of cells grows inside the body of its monozygotic twin. It survives during pregnancy, and even occasionally after birth, by tapping directly into the blood supply of the host twin.

8. Semi-Identical Twins is a type of twinning identified as identical on the mother’s side but sharing only half their father’s genes, the rare twins developed when two sperm fertilized a single egg, which then split.

9. Twins with Different Birthdays the most  common explanation is a labor and delivery that begins before midnight and ends on the following day. If that day happens at the end of the month, or even the end of a year, the two babies can have birthdays in different months and even different years. Sometimes a pregnancy is prolonged to provide each baby with an optimal chance for survival. If preterm labor forces the delivery of one baby, doctors can successfully control the labor and delay delivery to give the other baby more time in the womb. Twins and higher multiples have been born days and even weeks apart.

10. Twins of Different Races can be caused by heteropaternal superfecundation. There are cases of fraternal (dizygotic) twins with differing racial characteristics. In one case, the differentiation was due to a lab mix-up during an in-vitro procedure. However, there is a case where two bi-racial parents conceived fraternal (dizygotic) twin girl twins, experts explain that the girls inherited different genetic characteristics from their mixed race parents. One is fair-haired and light skinned, while the other has dark hair, eyes and skin.

By Lindsay Wagner

The choice to immigrate is a hard one to make. Now, imagine just how hard the transition will be for your child. Yes, some children are able to adapt to new situations easily, but there are a few prevalent issues that will cause great emotional discomfort. As a parent, you interest lies in ensuring that your child is happy. Your child’s emotional state counts. It is important to help your child to settle into their new environment.

What can you do to ensure that the transition is made bearable for your child?

Establish security

Inform your child about every step of the immigration process. Ensure that your child is involved in every aspect, as much as possible. Don’t keep your child in the dark. This is essential. Suggest that your child packs some of their own toys into boxes and place them into a removal truck, then have them unpack their toys themselves in their new home. This will help establish stability and continuity.

Look on the bright side

View this event as an opportunity to teach your child that saying goodbye isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Help them look forward to their new life. Also, help your child to cherish the memories he/she have made in their home country. Create a scrap book of memories with your child before you leave your country of residency. Once you’ve moved to your new home, create a similar scrapbook with your child. This time focus on your new home including the new opportunities available to your child. This will help build excitement about the move.

Focus on School holidays

If possible try to move when the school holidays are taking place in your new home country. This will give your child some time to adjust. Summer is the most popular time to relocate. This is a time when your child can focus on a new environment.  Family and a good support system will become crucial at this point.

Play Catch Up

Spend time with your child emailing and post letters to close friends and family. Join a social network, such as facebook and create a family group to help you child keep up-to-date with family events. This will help your child to remain close and ‘intact’ with the family.

Let your child be the designer

A sure way to allow your child to become comfortable in his/her surroundings is to allow your child to help decorate. Ask your child to suggest a colour, features and furniture for his/her bedroom. Remember, your child’s bedroom will become a haven. It needs to make your child happy. Create a soothing atmosphere with your child’s input.

Discover your new home

Make the transition an adventurous experience. Spend a day travelling around, discovering new interesting places. Perhaps, visit the local museum or library. Children are always keen for a new adventure. This will help create an exciting buzz to the transition.

Party, Party, Party!

Make the transition an enjoyable experience. Invite new friends and neighbours and their children over to your new home. Invite them for tea or games. This is a great way to help you and your child settle in. It’s also a great way to help you child if they are missing friends and family.

Relocating can be an awesome experience. However, it is vital that your entire family share in the excitement. By taking this into consideration and doing your utmost to ensure that your child is prepared, your child can start a life in a happy frame of mind.

In 2007 Bert Riddick escaped a child-support order for a girl he says he has never met and has proof that he is not her father.  Thanks to a 2004 California Law.  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill to allow men to challenge the paternity of children for whom they owe support.  A similar law came before Governor Davis in 2002 but he chose to veto it. In explaining his veto, Davis said that if AB 2240 became law the state might not meet federal requirements on collecting child-support payments, putting California at risk of losing $40 million in federal funds.

After Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the new bill into law Carnell Smith, founder of the U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud based out of Decatur, GA stated, “It’s well overdue.”  His orgonization counts California as the 24th state with some type of “paternity fraud” law.  The California law will help thousands of men who have been assigned child support orders “by default,” as well as  men who signed “confessions of paternity” said Mr. Smith.  This is a personal issue for Mr. Smith, who successfully lobbied for a “paternity fraud” law in Georgia after discovering he was paying for a child he did not father.

California’s new law sets time limits on paternity challenges like many other paternity fraud laws. In California Men can file protests within two years of being ordered to pay child support or within two years of the child’s birth.

Men such as Mr. Riddick, who have known for years they are supporting someone else’s child, also will now be able to challenge their child-support orders under the law.

Advocates said that, the California law passed the Legislature with virtually unanimous support because it was a compromise bill.  A stronger “paternity fraud” bill had been offered in the state Senate, according to lawyer Marc Angelucci, a leader of the National Coalition of Free Men. However, the Senate bill, was opposed by California child- support officials as well as feminist groups who viewed it as a “get-out-of-jail-free card.”

There has been a growing sence of alarmed among Feminist and child-support groups concerning the growing support for what they refer to as the paternity “disestablishment.” They argue that biology is not always paramount in family relationships, and ending established support for a child is rarely in the child’s best interest.

Stories like Mr. Riddick’s are not uncommon.  He stated that he was assigned a child support payment by default after an ex-girlfriend named him the father of her child. Mr. Riddick said he found out he wasn’t the father in 1996 two years after the child support order went into effect when he was arrested as “a deadbeat dad.” The criminal-court judge ordered DNA testing for Mr. Riddick, the mother and the child. “It showed I had a 0 percent chance of being the father of this child,” he said.

The criminal-court judge threw out the charge, but when Mr. Riddick tried to get his child- support order overturned in civil court, state officials refused.  ”They said the criminal court case had nothing to do with the civil case and I would still have to pay child support for 18 years,” Mr. Riddick said. “And I’ve never even seen this kid.”

While many states have started to enact paternity fraud laws and allow men to challenge paternity not all do.  You need to know your states individual paternity laws and seek help if you find your self in over your head.

By Alvaro Castillo

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

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 mean 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 because we are also the products of good or bad parenting.

Often 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 them.

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-aged 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 behavior. 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.

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.

* Realize that you may need to adjust your expectations.

* Try to stay focused on your children’s needs and how your decisions regarding the holidays will directly impact them. Especially think about what kinds of memories you want your children to have and what will be most important to them.

* Keep children informed about plans. Ask them for their impute on those plans.

* Children need to know where they are going to be for special occasions and with whom. Support your children having contact with the other parent or extended family members during their time with you.

* Avoid conflict with the other parent.

* Remember what’s most important to children is not who they spend their special day with, but rather that their parents are not fighting about who they will be with for the holidays. While sharing the holiday can be challenging, for the sake of children, pick your battles carefully and try to minimize tensions.

* If you are traveling with the children, provide the other parent with your itinerary. Provide the other parent with details of when and where the children will be, as well as, how they can contact them while you are away from home.

* Help your children make or buy gifts for their other parent. Children need to experience the joy of giving. This will also send a message to your children that you support their relationship with the other parent.

* Allow children the opportunity to talk about past holidays. Remember children have a right to good memories of their family before the divorce or separation. Make sure you are supportive of their feelings about how things have changed.

* Let children know that even though the holidays will be different, they can still be special. Invite children to help establish new holiday rituals with you. It’s okay to have different ways of celebrating the holidays in each home. You may also want to talk with them about previous traditions and brainstorm with your children ways to combine old and new traditions.

* Try not to let guilt get the best of you during the holidays. Often parents feel guilty about how hard divorce can be for kids. Sometimes we may react to that guilt by overindulging our children with gifts during the holidays.

* Avoid getting into a gift competition with your ex or purchasing gifts for your children that you know the other parent wouldn’t approve of or want in their home. When possible, try to coordinate gift choices with the other parent.

* Give gifts with no strings attached. Even though it can sometimes be very difficult, allow your children to decide at which home they would like to keep their gifts, even if it is not your own.

* Try to maintain a sense of humor and stay flexible. Sometimes plans may need to be altered or revised to accommodate your children’s needs. Don’t sweat the small stuff. When faced with a decision that seems very important it may help to ask yourself what difference will this make one year from now?

* Use times when you are not with your children in a positive way. Spending the holidays without your children can be difficult. Make plans with close friends, family members or take time to do something special for yourself.

* Minimize tension for your children as much as possible.

* Don’t make your children responsible for communicating events to the other parent for the holidays. Only engage in cooperative activities with the other parent, for example, opening presents Christmas morning, if it will be a positive experience for children. It is essential that conflict or tension between parents be managed appropriately.

* If you are not the parent who is with your children for the holidays, use this time to care for yourself and let your kids know you will be okay. Your children will worry how you are going to handle the holidays. Reassure them that even though this holiday will be different, you will be okay. Encourage them to have a good time with the other parent. Let them know what your plans will be for the holiday.

* If you have the children for the holiday, be aware they might miss the parent that isn’t there. Holidays are traditionally viewed as special time spent with family, which may stir up lots of feelings for your children. Make sure they can call or talk to the other parent if they want to.

* Focus on rebuilding a sense of family.

* Talk with children about what makes the holidays special for them and discuss how you can enjoy your time together.

* Remember time spent with children does not have to be extravagant. It’s not about what you spend, but rather how the time is spent.

For years, pregnant and nursing women have been warned to limit the amount of fish they eat.  This is because many marine species may contain high levels of mercury, which endangers development in newborns and fetuses. Recently, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, a children’s health group challenged the this conventional wisdom.  National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition are advising pregnant women and nursing mothers to eat more fish so as to ensure optimal brain development in their babies.

Due to the fear or mercury contamination, many pregnant women avoid seafood altogether. That may actually harm newborns, according to some scientists. (John McConnico for The New York Times) What’s going on here? Currently, the Food and Drug Administration advises pregnant women to limit their weekly seafood consumption to no more than 12 ounces, or about two servings, per week. In addition they recommend staying away from fish that are meat eating (shark, tuna, etc.) as they tend to have higher levels of mercury. Notice they do not say not to eat fish just to watch what type and how much you consume.

The newest recommendation from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, a nonprofit group that focuses on childhood health issues. That group’s scientific advisers say that pregnant women and nursing mothers should eat at least 12 ounces of fish per week. Although both recommendations acknowledge that pregnant women can safely eat about two servings a week, fears of mercury contamination in seafood have prompted many pregnant women to forgo fish entirely neither organization recommends that.

And here is the issue that pregnant women face: an increasing number of studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids, (found mostly in fish) are essential to brain development in fetuses and newborns. A report in The Lancet medical journal, concluded that women who had eaten more than 12 ounces of fish per week during pregnancy produced better developed, more intelligent children. “Advice that limits seafood consumption might reduce the intake of nutrients necessary for optimum neurological development,” wrote scientists from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“The real problem here are the women who are just eliminating fish from their diet,” said Judy Meehan, executive director of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. “Eating 12 ounces is a very safe, smart move, and nobody is disputing that.’’ While none of the research cited in the coalition’s recommendations has been funded by the fish industry, the coalition is using a grant from the National Fisheries Institute, a seafood industry group, to fund its educational campaign, according to Ms. Meehan.

For women who want the health benefits but worry about mercury and other toxins, the wisest course is to choose fish with the lowest levels of mercury. A recent report in The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that the health benefits are likely greatest from such oily fish as salmon, herring and sardines — which are all generally low in mercury anyway. Among the fish to avoid are shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, all of which may contain high levels of mercury and seem to be lower in omega 3.

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 some where 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 me and her, 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.”