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Father

Like mothers, fathers may be categorised according to their biological, social or legal relationship with the child. Historically, the biological relationship paternity has been determinative of fatherhood. However, proof of paternity has been intrinsically problematic and so social rules often determined who would be regarded as a father e.g. the husband of the mother.

Biological parents and parental testing

The term biological parent refers to a parent who is the biological mother or father of an individual. While an individual's parents are often also their biological parents, it is seldom used unless there is an explicit difference between who acted as a parent for that individual and the person from whom they inherit half of their genes. For example, a person whose father has remarried may call his new wife their stepmother and continue to refer to their mother normally, though someone who has had little or no contact with their biological mother may address their foster parent as their mother, and their biological mother as such, or perhaps by her first name.

Parental testing

A paternity test is conducted to prove paternity, that is, whether a man is the biological father of another individual. This may be relevant in view of rights and duties of the father. Similarly, a maternity test can be carried out. This is less common, because at least during childbirth and pregnancy, except in the case of a pregnancy involving embryo transfer or egg donation, it is obvious who the mother is. However, it is used in a number of events such as legal battles where a person's maternity is challenged, where the mother is uncertain because she has not seen her child for an extended period of time, or where deceased persons need to be identified.

Although not constituting completely reliable evidence, several congenital traits such as attached earlobes, the widow's peak, or the cleft chin, may serve as tentative indicators of (non-)parenthood as they are readily observable and inherited via autosomal-dominant genes.

A more reliable way to ascertain parenthood is via DNA analysis (known as genetic fingerprinting of individuals, although older methods have included ABO blood group typing, analysis of various other proteins and enzymes, or using HLA antigens. The current techniques for paternity testing are using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). For the most part however, genetic fingerprinting has all but taken over all the other forms of testing.

Parent-offspring conflict

Parent-offspring conflict describes the evolutionary conflict arising from differences in optimal fitness of parents and their offspring. While parents tend to maximize the number of offspring, the offspring can increase their fitness by getting a greater share of parental investment often by competing with their siblings. The theory was proposed by Robert Trivers in 1974 and extends the more general selfish gene theory and has been used to explain many observed biological phenomena.[1] For example, in some bird species, although parents often lay two eggs and attempt to raise two or more young, the strongest fledgling takes a greater share of the food brought by parents and will often kill the weaker sibling, an act known as siblicide.

David Haig has argued that human fetal genes would be selected to draw more resources from the mother than it would be optimal for the mother to give, an hypothesis that has received empirical support. The placenta, for example, secretes allocrine hormones that decrease the sensitivity of the mother to insulin and thus make a larger supply of blood sugar available to the fetus. The mother responds by increasing the level of insulin in her bloodstream, the placenta has insulin receptors that stimulate the production of insulin-degrading enzymes which counteract this effect.[2]

Optimal gender mix

While a child has a biological father and a mother, not every family is a traditional nuclear family. There are many variants, such as adoption, shared parenting, step families, and LGBT parenting, over which there has been controversy.

The social science literature rejects the notion that there is an optimal gender mix of parents or that children and adolescents with same-sex parents suffer any developmental disadvantages compared with those with two opposite-sex parents.[3][4] The professionals and the major associations now agree there is a well established and accepted consensus in the field that there is no optimal gender combination of parents.[5] The family studies literature indicates that it is family processes (such as the quality of parenting and relationships within the family) that contribute to determining children’s well-being and ‘outcomes’, rather than family structures, per se, such as the number, gender, sexuality and co-habitation status of parents.[4]

See also

External links

References


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Parenting article)

From Wikiquote

Parenting is the process of raising and educating a child from birth until adulthood.

Sourced

  • Parenting is among the most personal choices anyone ever makes. At the same time, no other individual decision has as significant a societal impact. Finding a careful balance between personal autonomy and the public welfare is often a considerable challenge.
  • Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage through their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humourously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake up in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind; and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.
  • Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons.
    • Napoleon Bonaparte, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 441.
  • I suppose that every parent loves his child; but I know, without any supposing, that in a large number of homes the love is hidden behind authority, or its expression is crowded out by daily duties and cares.
    • Abbott Eliot Kittredge, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 442.
  • Parenting is the science of art of upbringing children.
  • You that are parents, discharge your duty; though you cannot impart grace to your children, yet you may impart knowledge. Let your children know the commandments of God. "Ye shall teach them your children." You are careful to leave your children a portion; leave the oracles of heaven with them; instruct them in the law of God. If God spake all these words, you may well speak them over again to your children.
    • Thomas Watson, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 441.
  • The more boring a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being good parents-- because they have a tame child-creature in their house.

Unsourced

  • I don't know, maybe I shouldn't have done this. First thing, I took him home and dangled him over the balcony.
    • David Letterman, announcing to the public that he was the proud father of Harry Letterman, in reference to an incident by Michael Jackson, CBSNews.com
  • Everybody was a baby once, Arthur. Oh, sure, maybe not today, or even yesterday. But once. Babies, chum: tiny, dimpled, fleshy mirrors of our us-ness, that we parents hurl into the future, like leathery footballs of hope. And you've got to get a good spiral on that baby, or evil will make an interception.
  • A Child is no more than a puppet. You can only pull its strings.
    • Blair Curcie
  • Each morning I call for the best in me: “I am sent a child. He is a dear guest. I thank him for his existence. He is called to this life as am I, and this unites us – we are people; we are living. He is the same as I am. He is a man, not a future man, but a man today, and therefore he is different from any other people. I accept him as I accept another man. I accept my child… I accept him and protect his childhood. And I understand, tolerate, accept and forgive him. I don’t force him. I don’t humiliate him by my strength because I love him. I love him and thank him for who he is and for that I can love him, and thus, I elevate in my own spirit.
  • Any child can tell you that the sole purpose of a middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.
    • Dennis Fakes
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