What Does a Child Deserve?
Parents have struggled with this question for eons. Unlike other mammals, a human child takes a very long time to grow up and become self-sufficient, and therefore needs’t’t long-term help from the adults responsible for them.
So what does a child deserve? There isn’t a parent out there who doesn’t agree that every child deserves a roof over their head, clothes to wear, and food to eat. These are absolute needs versus the ‘wants’ that children usually request from us. Nearly all American parents would add education to this list of basics. But is there anything else that a child deserves from his parents as he or she grows up?
As a top paternity test lab we hear a lot of personal stories from our customers, so here are some suggestions for what a child deserves that come largely from listening to them.
1. To Trust and Be Trusted
Does your child trust you? A 2012 study by the University of Minnesota determined that children as young as preschool age use the same characteristics that a rational adult would use when judging the reliability of an information source (Koenig). Parents mistakenly believe that their children will believe whatever they say just by virtue of the fact that they are their parents. But this study disproves that.
Just as children have to earn their parents’ trust, so do parents need to be the people their children can trust most. Why is this so important? Parenting Counseling Specialist Bonnie Harris puts it beautifully: ‘Children resist with all their might when they think we are against them-when we criticize, blame, threaten, lecture-when they don’t trust that we understand and accept them. To find their way, they need to trust us to trust them.’ When mutual trust is experienced by children as they grow, it positively affects all future relationships.
2. To Love and Be Loved
This is a no-brainer, right? Well, it’s not as simple as it seems: The effects of lack of warmth and real parental affection early on in a child’s life are life-long. Psychology Today reports the following: A UCLA study suggests that a loving parental figure may alter neural circuits in children and this could influence health throughout a lifespan. On the flip side, the negative impact of childhood abuse or lack of parental affection take a mental and physical toll can also last a lifetime. Childhood neglect increases adult risk for morbidity and mortality (Bergland).
Children deserve to be showered with loving kindness from the people they trust the most-their parents. It’s one of the essential components of happiness, and they will pay it forward with their own children and grandchildren someday.
3. To Be Forgiven for Wrongs
Children are just small people learning how to become adults. They don’t deserve to be treated as adults, nor do they have the capacity to think as grown-ups yet, but parents should remember that children are not little robots-they are going to have good days and bad days; they have feelings of sadness when sad things happen, just like their parents (those feelings just may manifest themselves differently); they are going to forget things; they are going to be thoughtless. The list goes on and on . . .
Parents need to forgive their children for their unpleasant behaviors, just as we would want to be forgiven for our own. To be given a clean slate by those they trust and love the most makes it less likely for a child to beat themselves up so quickly both when they are young and when they’re adults. Forgiveness is a gift.
4. To Belong to a Tribe
Many customers who contact us about getting a paternity test and finding their own fathers are well into adulthood-in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. Why is the pull so strong to find out who their biological father is? If the customer had a father figure who helped raise them, they are almost always appreciative of everything the man did for them. But still, the pull is strong to know the truth.
Every one of us craves wanting to be part of something bigger than ourselves-to be part of a family or community. Without that support, we may feel depressed, spiritually disconnected or even sick (Rankin).
Family is a child’s first tribe. Later, they branch off to school friends, a spouse’s relatives, work friends, church, town, and so forth. But first comes family. Children deserve to know their biological roots and all that comes with it: health history, heritage, culture. There are many benefits to a paternity test, but just knowing the truth and knowing where you came from and where you belong are two of the most important ones.
The Bottom Line
As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. You don’t have to have a lot of money, power, or a big house to give them what they need most. But interestingly, each of the needs mentioned above is not enough on its own. Trust. Love. Forgiveness. Tribe. They’re all intertwined and necessary. If a paternity test is an option that can help satisfy the tribe need-either for you or your child-you know best when to bring the subject up and pursue it.
What do you think? Would you add more to this list? Tell us in the comments.
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Bergland, Christopher. “Parental Warmth Is Crucial for a Child’s Well-Being.”Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC., 4 Oct. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.psychologytoday.com%2Fblog%2Fthe-athletes-way%2F201310%2Fparental-warmth-is-crucial-child-s-well-being>.
Harris, Bonnie. “Trust Your Children More; Teach Them Less – Bonnie Harris | Parenting Blog | Connective Parenting.” Bonnie Harris Parenting Blog Connective Parenting. Connective Parenting, 08 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http://bonnieharris.com/trust-your-children-more-teach-them-less/>.
Koenig, Melissa. “Learning and Trust Ã¢””š Education and Human Development.” CEHD Vision 2020. Regents of the University of Minnesota, 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http://cehdvision2020.umn.edu/cehd-blog/learning-and-trust/>.
Rankin, Dr. Lissa. “The Health Benefits of Finding Your Tribe.” Positively Positive. Positively Positive, LLC., 18 July 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. <http://www.positivelypositive.com/2013/07/18/the-health-benefits-of-finding-your-tribe/>.