When your child doesn't look like you

Susan Fernandez March 03 2022

It can be difficult when your child doesn't look like you. You might feel like you're not as connected to them or that they don't understand you.

How does genetics work?

If you don`t know how a baby gets its genes, you might worry that something is wrong if your baby doesn’t look like you or other family members. It’s natural for parents to want their children to look like them. But have you ever stopped to think about how that happens?

All of us get our physical characteristics from our parents — things like eye color, hair color, and skin color. We also inherit other features, such as the shape of our face, the size of our noses, and whether we are likely to be tall or short. This is because we get half of our genetic information from our mother and a half from our father.

When a fetus develops inside a woman’s womb, it gets half of its genetic information from the egg (ovum) of the mother and half from the sperm of the father. So, if both parents have blue eyes, it is likely that their child will also have blue eyes. But if one parent has blue eyes and the other has brown eyes, their child may end up with either blue or brown eyes.

Some physical characteristics are controlled by just one gene rather than by many genes working together. For example, whether a person can roll their tongue is determined by a single gene. If both parents can roll their tongue, then their children will be able to roll their tongue too. But if only one parent can do it, then some of their children will be able to roll their tongue and others won’t.

These physical characteristics that are controlled by a single gene are called “Mendelian traits,” named after the scientist Gregor Mendel who did early work on genetics. Some physical characteristics, such as height, are determined by many genes working together. So, if both parents are tall, then their children are likely to be tall too. But if one parent is tall and the other is short, their children may end up being either tall or short.

There are also some physical characteristics that can be determined by the environment rather than by genes. For example, people who live in cold climates tend to have more body fat than people who live in warm climates. This is because having more body fat helps to keep you warm in cold weather.

So, when you are thinking about how your baby got their physical characteristics, it is important to remember that there are three things that can influence the way they look: the genes they inherit from their parents, the environment they live in, and chance.

Whose genes are more powerful - mother or father?

If you wonder whether your child will look like you or your partner, we can tell that it all depends on which genes are more powerful. Some children look very much like one parent and not at all like the other. This can happen even when both parents have dark hair and brown eyes. Other times, children look like a mix of both their mother and father. They might have their mother’s nose but their father’s chin, for example.

How does this happen? It turns out that some genes are more powerful than others. So, even if a child inherits a gene for blue eyes from their father and a gene for brown eyes from their mother, the blue-eye gene will be more likely to show up in the child. This is because the blue-eye gene is what we call a “dominant” gene, while the brown-eye gene is what we call a “recessive” gene.

Dominant genes are more likely to be expressed, or “shown”, in a person. Recessive genes are less likely to be expressed. But it’s not just about which parent the child takes after. Genes can also skip a generation. So, if you have blue eyes but your parents have brown eyes, it’s possible that one of your grandparents had blue eyes.

Some physical traits are controlled by more than one gene. For example, hair color is determined by a combination of several different genes. This is why some children end up with hair colors that neither parent has! It’s also important to remember that looks aren’t everything. Your child might not look like you on the outside, but they will always be your child – no matter what they look like.

Why may your child look not like you?

DNA is something that is passed down from parent to child, and it determines things like hair and eye color. Sometimes, though, a child can inherit DNA that their parents don't have. This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • The child's other parent has a different DNA than the first parent
  • The child is adopted
  • The child is a result of artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization

If your child doesn't look like you, it doesn't mean that you love them any less. You might just feel like you have to work a little bit harder to connect with them.

The most interesting case is when another parent has a different DNA than the first one. In this case, the fetus inherits randomly some of the DNA from each parent. So, it's possible that the child will have a completely different physical appearance than both parents.

When a child is adopted, he or she might look like their birth parents or they might not. It really depends on who the child's parents are and what their DNA is.

If the child is a result of artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, then they will look like the parent whose DNA was used.

No matter what the reason is, it can be difficult when your child doesn't look like you. You might feel like you're not as connected to them or that they don't understand you. Here are some tips for dealing with this situation.

Talk to your child about how you're feeling

It's important to communicate with them about what you're going through. When you're honest about your feelings, it can help them feel closer to you. Usually, if it's something you're struggling with, they'll be more than happy to talk about it and try to help you feel better.

You can start a talk with something like, "I feel a little left out when you don't look like me. And you might feel the same. We can talk about it if you want to". That is just an example to get the conversation going but be sure to use your own words that fit your relationship with your child. In case your child doesn`t want to discuss it with you, try not to force them.

Try to find common ground

Even if you don't look alike, you can still find things that connect you. It could be a shared interest, hobby, or something else that makes you both feel good. When you have that common ground, it can help you feel closer to each other.

For example, if you're both into music, you can go to concerts together or listen to the same songs and talk about them. Or if you like to read, you can share your favorite books with each other.

Don't compare yourself to other parents

It's easy to compare yourself to other parents, especially if their children look like them. But everyone is different and there's no one right way to be a parent. So instead of comparing yourself, focus on what works for you and your child. Every family is unique and has its own special bond.

It is normal that your DNA does not run 100% in your child. You might feel bad about it initially but try to remember that it is okay and there are many other things that make up a person besides looks. Your child is still yours and you will always be connected to them. Just because they don't look like you, doesn't mean they are any less your child.

Besides, comparing to other parents may affect your child as well! For example, a simple comment like "I wish you looked more like me" can make them feel insecure or not good enough. So it's best to avoid comparisons altogether.

Appreciate your child for who they are

This is probably the most important tip of all. It's important to appreciate your child for who they are, not what they look like. Accepting them for who they are will help them feel loved and supported. And even though you might not look alike, remember that you're still connected to each other through your love and relationship. That's what really matters in the end.

Remember that your child is their own person

They are their own individual and they should be respected as such. Just because they don't look like you, doesn't mean they are any less of a person. They are still deserving of your love and support. And as they grow up, they will continue to change and develop into their own unique self. So follow every stage of their life and enjoy watching them grow.

Your little individual is much more confident when you accept them just the way they are! Moreover, only parents can truly see how wonderful their children are, no matter what they look like on the outside. So cherish your connection with your child and be grateful for the special bond you share.

Accept that there will be differences

It's okay to be different from each other. Embrace the things that make you both unique. And even though you might not look alike, know that you will always be connected through your love and relationship. It is ok for birth and adoptive parents to look different with their children. Just because you don't look alike, doesn't mean you're any less connected to each other.

You need to accept all the differences in their appearance and in their character. There will be things that you don’t have in common, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you love them any less. The main thing is that you have a strong connection with each other based on trust, understanding, and respect. When you support your child who is 'not like you or anybody else' - you show them that it is okay to be different. It also helps them to feel confident and loved.

Should it bother you?

Even if your baby doesn`t look like you - it is still yours. The love between parents and children is much more than just DNA. You will always be connected to your child through your love and relationship. You or your partner doesn`t need to worry even if the child looks like the other parent more. It is quite normal. If you have any concerns, it is better to talk about them with your partner or a specialist.

It is also essential to remember that comparing yourself to other parents may affect your child as well. Thus, it`s best to avoid comparisons altogether and appreciate your little one for who they are. Only parents can see how wonderful their children are, no matter what they look like on the outside.

So, these were some tips on what to do when your child doesn't look like you. Just remember that the most important thing is to appreciate your child for who they are and to cherish your connection with them. Don't compare yourself to other parents and accept that there will be differences between you and your child. By following these tips, you can create a strong and loving bond with your child that will last a lifetime.

And consider, that if you don`t guard your child and their confidence - the world will do it for you. So, love them, encourage them and be there for them always! Your child needs your support to grow into a strong and confident individual.