Maternal or paternal grandparents

Correspondence between maternal and paternal parenting styles in early childhood

The goal of the present study was to investigate perceived similarities and differences in parenting styles between mothers and fathers in the same family. The 56 parents of 28 preschool children independently completed the parenting styles and dimensions questionnaire (PSDQ) . Results reveal only modest similarity in parenting styles used by two parents within the same home. Permissive (and to a lesser extent, authoritarian) parenting was somewhat positively associated across parents but no cross-informant association was found for authoritative parenting. Fathers perceive their spouses to be more authoritative, more permissive, and less authoritarian than themselves, whereas mothers only perceive themselves to be more authoritative than fathers. Parents who share similar parenting styles are more accurate at reporting on their spouses’ parenting styles than are parents with differing styles. Correspondence in parenting style across both parents in the home is important as are parental perceptions of similarity and differences in styles. Independent assessment of both mother’s and father’s parenting styles, and each parent’s perception of their spouse’s parenting appears needed in research and practical settings.

Condensation of chromosomes is essential for mitosis and depends on their recruitment of condensin complexes containing structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) proteins and regulators such as CAP-D2. Is the condensation mechanism always the same? In zygotes, condensed paternal chromosomes are less compact than their maternal counterparts, but whether this reflects different condensation mechanisms has never been clear. Philippe Collas and co-workers now show that the condensation mechanisms of maternal and paternal chromosomes in mitotic zygotes do indeed differ (see p. 2931). They find that AKAP95 — a scaffold protein previously shown to recruit condensin to chromatin — is targeted to maternal chromosomes in the female pronucleus but does not enter the male pronucleus. In addition, using peptides that compete with AKAP95, the authors show that AKAP95 is required for recruitment of CAP-D2 to and condensation of maternal but not paternal chromosomes. Collas and co-workers conclude that an AKAP95-independent mechanism recruits condensin during paternal chromosome condensation in zygotes, suggesting that this could affect the degree of compaction of the condensed chromosomes.

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Illustration by Robert Neubecker

What makes you who you are genetically? The easy answer is your family. The longer answer begins with the fact that all humans have two parents (at least for now), and usually four distinct grandparents (there are unfortunate exceptions). Genetically you are a recombination of four separate individuals. But that does not mean you have an equal contribution from four separate individuals. Humans normally carry 23 pairs of chromosomes: 22 autosomal pairs and one pair of sex chromosomes, either two copies of the X for a female or an X and a Y in the case of males. By Mendel’s law of segregation you receive one copy of each pair from your mother (via the egg), and one copy from your father (via the sperm). This means exactly half of your genome derives from each parent.

Things begin to get more complicated going back two generations. One might think that of the 44 autosomal chromosomes you would receive 11 from each of the four grandparents. (For simplicity we’ll leave the sex chromosomes out for now. If you are a female, you receive one X from each parent, while if you are a male you receive an X from your mother and a Y from your father, who got it from his father.) But while the proportion of one’s inheritance from parents is fixed by exact necessity, the fraction from grandparents is governed by chance. For each of the chromosomes you inherit from a given parent, you have a 50 percent chance of gaining a copy from your grandfather and a 50 percent chance of gaining a copy from your grandmother. The laws of independent probability imply that there is a 1-1,048 chance that all of your maternal or paternal chromosomes could come from just one grandparent! What’s more, genetic recombination means that chromosomes aren’t purely from one grandparent or the other; during the cell divisions that produce sperm and eggs, chromosomes exchange segments and become hybrids. You almost certainly have different genetic contributions from your four grandparents.

But this is not just abstract theorizing. Imagine that you could know that 22 percent of the genome of your child derives from your mother, and 28 percent from your father. Also imagine that you know that 23 percent of the genome of your child derives from your partner’s mother, and 27 percent derives from your partner’s father. And you could know exactly how closely your child is related to each of its uncles and aunts. This isn’t imaginary science fiction, it is science fact.

Last year, I sent a sample of my then 2-month-old daughter’s genetic material to the firm 23andMe and received her results. As it happens I already had the genotype of my daughter’s mother, father, all her uncles and aunts, and all four of her grandparents. In other words, her full pedigree was already available when her results came back, and she was easily slotted into the bigger genomic family photo album. Not only do I know which proportions of her ancestry derived from each grandparent, I know which regions of her genome derive from each of her grandparents. For example, one grandmother is half Norwegian, so genealogically my daughter isone-eighth Norwegian. But I quickly calculated using diverse data sets of various nationalities that genomically she is somewhat more than one-eighth Norwegian. This is reasonable as 28 percent of her ancestry, according to how her DNA analysis matches up with the DNA of the rest of the family, happens to come from her half Norwegian grandmother.

One might think these sorts of facts are useful only for the sake of satisfying curiosity, but sometimes theoretical knowledge can be put to practical use. Last spring my wife asked our pediatrician about testing my daughter for a treatable autosomal dominant condition which I happen to exhibit. The physician’s reaction was straightforwardly paternalistic. She would not authorize the test because she believed our daughter was too young. This did not sit well with my wife. The mutated gene which causes my condition has been well characterized. My wife went home and quickly used one of 23andMe’s features to find out if my daughter inherited a copy of the gene through me from my mother or my father. My mother is affected by the same ailment as I am, while my father is not. The happy ending is that my daughter almost certainly does not have the condition, because she inherited that genetic region from my father. The bigger moral of the story is that decentralized genetic information can allow persistence to pay off.

All of this is a consequence of the fact that I have an obsession with genetics. But it is also contingent on the fact that for less than $500, you can send in a kit and receive back a record of 1 million genetic variants in short order. This would have been unfathomable just 10 years ago. Out of 3 billion base pairs in the entire human genome, 1 million may not seem like much, but the ones tested were chosen because they vary across the population, and they represent a substantial proportion of the variable genome. Much of the information is banal, trivial, and redundant. My eyes are dark brown, and those of my wife are blue. Therefore, you will not be surprised to learn that a quick check on variants that code for eye color predicts that my daughter will shake out to have a light brown shade (as a matter of fact her eyes are light brown or hazel).

Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_genome/2013/10/analyze_your_child_s_dna_which_grandparents_are_most_genetically_related.html
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Grandparents prefer the grandchildren with whom they share most genes

Dr Friburg and colleagues, whose findings are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, said there was strong evidence of a bias of paternal grandmothers to granddaughters.

However it did not seem to happen the other away around.

An earlier study suggested preferential treatment stems from genetic uncertainty because not all grandparents are certain their grandchildren are their own.

A woman always knows she is the mother of her child but a man has some uncertainty about his paternity because he might have been cuckolded. This issue is compounded for grandparents.

A maternal grandmother knows with certainty her genetic material has passed to her grandchildren through her daughter but a paternal grandfather has double uncertainty – he has no certainty that either his son or his grandchildren bear his genetic material.

Previous research has shown having a paternal grandmother on hand boosted a baby girl’s chances of survival but cut a baby boy’s.

Boys were more likely to survive if their maternal grandmother was involved in their upbringing than their less-related paternal grandmother.

The Differences Between Paternal and Maternal Grandmothers

by Jan Faull, M.Ed.

Is it a myth that paternal grandmothers yield to maternal grandmothers? Do you agree with this “rule”? Do you adhere to it, or do you fight it? Has it proven true in your life as a maternal grandmother? Has it proven true for those of you who are paternal grandmothers?

What this rule means is that when the maternal grandmother is holding the newborn grandchild, the paternal grandmother doesn’t horn in; she waits until the maternal grandmother relinquishes the baby to her.

Why would it be so that the mother of the child’s father would play second chair to the mother of the mother in a grandchild’s life? It’s because the mother (now grandmother) and her adult daughter usually hold a close bond, far more intimate than the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law relationship. Plus, the mother of the newborn often parents her baby in much the same way she was parented by her mother; their parenting style is similar, and there’s trust already built into the relationship. When the mother-in-law — and her different, but not necessarily wrong, style — enters this intimate circle, her approach might make the baby’s mother and the maternal grandmother a little uncomfortable. The mother-in-law must prove to her daughter-in-law that she’s reliable, competent and willing to take care of the baby as prescribed by her daughter-in-law, therefore earning a relationship with her son’s children. While the paternal grandmother may never be as close to her daughter-in-law as her daughter-in-law is to her own mother, she can develop her own relationship with her son’s kid(s).

If you feel confident in your position as paternal grandmother and communicate love to your grandchildren, a positive and deep relationship will follow. However, it’s up to you to take the lead.

Now, certainly this is not the case for all paternal grandmothers. Some daughters-in-law are more laid back, open and accepting, while others are more tense when it comes to turning their baby over to the paternal grandmother. And then there are exceptional paternal grandmothers. Take Mary Ann as an example. She has three sons. As her sons each married and began having children, she was determined to have a relationship with her grandchildren. She told each couple before their baby was born that she would take care of the baby and any subsequent children one day a week. What new mom could resist? This is a commitment Mary Ann was willing and able to make and proved to be the entrée into a loving relationship with her grandchildren and a deeper, more committed relationship with her daughter-in-law.

All paternal grandmothers can’t make such a weekly commitment. Some work full time, others live out of town, and some are simply busy with their own lives and want to be involved but not on a weekly, scheduled basis. What do they do? They offer to babysit so Mom and Dad can enjoy a date night. They take the baby overnight every once in a while. They take care of the baby a couple hours on Saturday or Sunday so Mom and Dad can be kid-free for a bit. They’re flexible and can step in when Mom or Dad is sick or has an extended workday. There are lots of ways to build a relationship with your grandchild, even if you don’t hold a position of No. 1 in the eyes of your daughter-in-law.

Yet still, if you’re at a family gathering and the baby-now-toddler and the maternal grandmother are engaged in an activity that is clearly their own, such as singing a special song or playing a unique game known only to them, don’t join in. And whatever you do, don’t compete by then showing off your unique game or song. Hold back. Your moment will come. You’ll have your turn. You’ve put in your time. Your relationship with your grandchild is secure.

Children need lots of people to love and support their growth and development. They benefit when they feel a unique love that comes from each of their grandparents. Competition between grandparents serves no purpose in the child’s life; besides, the paternal grandparent seldom wins such competition. Carve out your unique position in the child’s life, find time for it and all — particularly the child — will view you as the loving paternal grandmother you are.

About The Author

Jan Faull, M.Ed., has taught Parent Education for more than twenty-seven years. Jan’s weekly column Parenting for The Seattle Times ran for ten years.

She is a recognized speaker to a wide variety of local and national organizations. Jan is the author of five books: Mommy, I Have to Go Potty (Raefield & Roberts, 1996); Unplugging Parent-Child Power Struggles: Resolving Emotional Battles with Your Kids Ages 2-10 (Parenting Press, 2000); Darn Good Advice-Parenting (Barrons, 2005); and Darn Good Advice-Baby (Barrons, 2005). Her latest book: Amazing Minds: The Science of Nurturing Your Child’s Developing Mind was published in August 2010 by Berkley Books a subsidiary of Penguin.

Jan was a board member for PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) and currently serves on the PEPS Advisory Board. The mother of three adults and grandmother to three granddaughters, Emilia, Flora and Violet and one grandson, George, she resides in Seattle.

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Influence of Maternal and Paternal Parenting Style and Behavior Problems on Academic Outcomes in Primary School

Introduction

Academic outcome (AO) is an important factor that provides the basis for children’s subsequent life satisfaction. Both parents and researchers are interested in knowing which factors play a crucial role in determining childhood AO. One of the most studied factors is parenting styles (PS). PS is a group of attitudes and behaviors relating to child rearing (Darling and Steinberg, 1993). Bauermeister et al. (1995) defined two PS: (1) sensitive PS (SPS), which is based on warmth, mutual support and appropriate autonomy while maintaining firm and consistent limits on children; and (2) coercive PS, based on physical punishment, lack of consistency and ineffective limit setting. Certain aspects of SPS, such as appropriate autonomy and warmth, facilitate AO and could serve as a secure base from which children can explore their environment and overcome challenges in non-family settings such as at school (Soh-Leong and Lim, 2003; Steinberg et al., 2006; Garn et al., 2010; Masud et al., 2015), while certain characteristics of, such as lack of consistency or ineffective limits, are associated with low AO (Steinberg et al., 1989; Pelegrina et al., 2003; Osorio and Gonzalez-Cámara, 2016; Checa and Abundis-Gutierrez, 2017). Another variable that can affect AO is the presence of behavior problems. Children exhibiting high levels of aggression, anxiety or social problems show poorer AO compared with their low aggressive, low anxiety, sociable peers (Clasen and Brown, 1985; Nelson et al., 1999; Ladd et al., 2006; Schwartz et al., 2006; Checa et al., 2008; Caprara et al., 2014; Carlo et al., 2018). In addition, attentional problems have been found to be both negatively related to AO and a good predictor of AO (Duncan et al., 2007; Breslau et al., 2009). Finally, it is important to note that several studies have shown differences between maternal and paternal reports of their children’s characteristics and abilities (Dumka et al., 2009; Álvarez-García et al., 2016; Llorca et al., 2017).

The current study aims to examine interrelations between PS, behavior problems and AO in primary-school children. Most of studies in the literature have been focused on the parenting practices of mothers. We assessed maternal and paternal PS in order to determine the separate influence of mothers’ and fathers’ PS on AO. We expected to find a positive correlation between maternal and paternal SPS and AO, and either a weak negative or no relation between CPS and AO. Second, we examined how behavior problems were related to AO. We expected behavior problems to be negatively related to AO. Finally, we examined the separate contribution of maternal and paternal reports of behavior problems and parenting styles in predicting AO. Given that mothers are often the primary caregiver, we expected that maternal SPS would be the strongest predictor of AO.

Methods

Participants

A total of 78 Spanish families participated in the study. Written informed consent was obtained from the parents of the participants. The mean age of the students was 8.08 years (SD = 1.6; 38 girls). The study was carried out in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Ethics approval from University of Granada was obtained.

Procedure

Four questionnaires, two for the mothers and two for the fathers, were sent by mail together with instructions for completing and returning them to the school. One questionnaire measured behavior problems, the other PS. Finally, teachers provided information on the children’s general AO at the end of the academic year.

Instruments

Inventory of Parenting Guide

Inventory of Parenting Guide (Inventario de Prácticas de Crianza) (IPC; Bauermeister et al., 1995). The IPC consists of 37 questions that assess PS in daily situations. Parents’ responses are grouped under two factors: (a) CPS: 15 items that include the use of physical punishment, lack of consistency and ineffective limit-setting; and (b) SPS: 22 items covering warmth, concern, consistency and motivation of children. All responses are recorded on a four-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (never or rarely) to 3 (very frequently).

Child Behavior Checklist

Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach and Rescorla, 2001). We used the second part of this questionnaire (113 questions) to assess the children’s behavior in everyday situations. Parents’ responses are grouped onto nine scales: anxious/depressed (AD), withdrawn/depressed (WD), somatic complaints (SC), social problems (SP), thought problems (TP), attention problems (AP), rule-breaking behavior (RBB), and aggressive behavior (AB). Responses to all items are recorded on a three-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (never or rarely) to 2 (very frequently).

Academic Outcome (AO)

Missing Data

The valid n for each measure is provided in the Supplementary Material. Sixty-four families consented in writing to providing information about their children’s AO. Twelve fathers refused to complete the CBCL questionnaire, while two mothers and twenty-one fathers did not complete the IPC inventory. Only measures on the CBCL and IPC with an α ≥ 0.60 for fathers and mothers, as well as measures that followed a normal distribution, were included in the analyses (see the Supplementary Material for more information about the material and methods).

Results

The internal reliability and descriptive analysis are reported in the Supplementary Material.

Correlations

Pearson’s correlations for behavior problem, PS and AO are presented in Table 1. All behavior problems reported by fathers were negatively related to AO, while only mothers’ reports of WD, AP, and AB were similarly related. Finally, both maternal and paternal SPS were positively related to AO.

TABLE 1

Table 1. Correlation between measures.

Regression

We conducted regression analyses to examine the contribution of SPS, and the behavior problems found to be correlated with AO, separately for mothers and fathers. These analyses showed that both maternal and paternal reports of AP, as well as maternal SPS, were significant predictors of AO (Table 2).

TABLE 2

Table 2. Regression.

Discussion

In this study we examined AO in relation to behavior problems and PS. First, we found no negative relation between CPS and AO. This result is consistent with the literature showing either no correlation or a weak one between AO and CPS (Pinquart, 2016; Llorca et al., 2017). As expected, both maternal and paternal SPS were positively related to AO. These results are consistent with those of previous studies (Soh-Leong and Lim, 2003; Steinberg et al., 2006; Garn et al., 2010; Masud et al., 2015). We believe that SPS may serve to provide a secure basis from which children can overcome challenges, for example, in the process of academic learning. Second, as expected we found a negative relation between AO and all behavioral problems reported by the fathers and only some (WD, AP, and AB) reported by the mothers. Previous results have revealed a negative link between AO and behavioral problems in children (Clasen and Brown, 1985; Checa and Rueda, 2011; Llorca et al., 2017; Carlo et al., 2018). Finally, in order to examine the contribution of behavior problems and maternal and paternal PS separately, we ran two separate regression analyses for mothers and fathers. As expected, and as some studies have previously shown (Dumka et al., 2009; Llorca et al., 2017), maternal SPS was a predictor of AO but paternal SPS was not. These results support our prediction and point to the relevance of maternal SPS for AO. It could be hypothesized that fathers and mothers adopt different roles in the education of their children; mothers may have more influence over their children’s activities including academic ones. Future investigations should clarify this question, taking into account paternal and maternal variables such as how much time parents spend with their children or what types of activities they do with them during this time, to determine the real effects of fathers on AO. Finally, one finding that we expected was that AP reported by fathers and mothers was a significant predictor of AO. This data is consistent with previous literature (Duncan et al., 2007; Breslau et al., 2009, 2011). Several studies have shown the benefit of attention on learning school subjects (Bull and Scerif, 2001; Blair and Razza, 2007; Checa et al., 2008). We believe that attention is particularly important for regulating behavior and focusing on what is being discussed in the classroom (Checa and Rueda, 2011). In sum, although the influence of both attention and PS has been investigated previously, this study shows the relevance of both variables as key aspects in supporting children in meeting the demands of school. When children are in the classroom, they must pay attention to their teachers, ignoring distractions in order to concentrate. In this situation, children with high-SPS mothers seem to be confident in their abilities, which could increase their opportunity for effective learning and obtaining a good AO. Also, we believe it is relevant to emphasize the role of AP on AO in order to promote interventions for school-age children that target attention and to work with parents about PS with the aim of improving AO. We believe that social services and a clinical setting could promote family education on SPS practice and more knowledge about behavioral problems related to attention in order to improve AO.

Limitations and Futures Directions

This study only evaluates the influence of behavioral problems and PS on AO. Future research should study the influence of other variables related to AO, such as interests and intelligence structure (Pellerone et al., 2015, 2017) or interpersonal problems (Lo Coco et al., 2018). Moreover, it would be interesting to study the subjective perception of time (Mannino and Caronia, 2017; Mannino et al., 2017b) and also could be related to AO and to parenting relationship. Future research should replicate these findings using a larger sample and with other types of families (Mannino and Schiera, 2017) or individuals with disabilities (Mannino et al., 2017a) in order to determine whether they are generalizable to the general population. Future studies should also examine familial variables such as socio-economic status and personal variables such as self-regulation, maladaptive personality traits, and well-being (Gervasi et al., 2017; Granieri et al., 2017; Mannino and Faraci, 2017) to clarify the relations found in this study.

Author Contributions

PC and AF-P designed the work. PC, AA-G, and CP-D analyzed the data. PC and AF-P interpreted the data study. PC, AF-P, AA-G, and CP-D revised the work critically for the important intellectual content and approved the version to be published. All authors affirmed that the questions of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. PC and AF-P was involved in the conception of the work and the acquisition of the data.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Supplementary Material

Achenbach, T. M., and Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for the ASEBA School-Age Forms & Profiles. Burlington, NJ: University of Vermont.

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