19 May 2009

Child's play

Alfie Patten is said to be "extremely distressed" that he is not the father, after all, of the little girl born in February to a 15 year old girl.

Given that he is 13 years old and yet has been told and lectured by all and sundry about his responsibilities as a parent as if he were ten years older, I'm not surprised he is distressed. He had probably just got used to the idea that the child was his when DNA tests revealed that the girl had, in fact, conceived the girl with a boy of her own age.

This doesn't rectify the situation for anyone. Two 15 year olds having sex is wrong, and especially when they have clearly had little or no information before them about the consequences.

But a boy barely out of short trousers, only just a teenager, has now got to deal with the fact that after all the adverse publicity, all the sanctimonious crap from commentators and politicians, all the criticism undoubtedly aimed at his family, that he isn't a dad after all. And, pray, perhaps he should be afforded the same sympathy as any adult would get at the news that someone he was infatuated by should treat him in such a way.

He has had a lucky escape in one obvious sense. But it's as obvious that this experience could tarnish him for the rest of his life. His family must be relieved and yet incredibly angry. The 15 year old mother must feel decidedly foolish too.

Presumably all the press and the authorities had as evidence, prior to leaping into action in reporting, condemning and making a fuss of the whole sorry business, was the word of the young mum. She said it was Alfie's, and away they went. The DNA test would just make a new story later, irrespective of its result.

The kids involved - the mother, father and phantom father - have youth and immaturity to explain away their mistakes. The adults involved have no such excuse. And at the end of it all is a baby who is going to grow up knowing that she was an accident caused by two children barely out of nappies themselves and whose very existence was allowed to be condemned by a society that knew everything and did nothing.


Ishouldbeworking said...

I've got a horrible feeling Alfie Patten's family are so dysfunctional that what they're likely to be feeling now is angry - angry that they won't make as much money now Alfie's been proved not to be the 'father'. From what I heard on Radio 4 this morning, they're already feeling a sense of injustice because the papers who promised them money haven't paid up.

A Write Blog said...

A thought provoking post.

Are you suggesting that such things shouldn't be reported?

The press should report on the sort of society we are living in. That's what they are there for no matter how uncomfortable it is for us or for those involved.

OK, the complication here is the youth of those involved.

But where do you draw the line?

Would an answer be that reporting such things should have an age limit when it comes to naming people.

In their case it would not have had the same impact. "Girl A, 15 is pregnant by Boy B, 12; or so she claims" would have not been read with anything like the same interest and the social context would have probably been missed.

The photos and the names allowed us, members of this society to look at what we have all created.

It might give other "I want to be famous" wannabes pause for thought.

The media is largely a mirror of all of us and if we don't like what we see then a part of what we are looking at is ourselves.

After all, how many of us reading this refused to look at the youngsters' photos and refused to read it?

Russ Litten said...

What's wrong with two fifteen year olds having sex? it's inadvisable, if they have no knowledge of sexual health or contraception, but that applies to twenty five year olds as well.