Monday, February 16, 2009

Child is the father of the child, no pun intended

Well, I am shocked, actually to say shock would be an understatement. The Sun reports that a 13 year old boy Alfie Patten in Britain has become a father of a girl named Maisie who was conceived after Chantelle, 15 and Alfie - just 12 at the time - had a single night of unprotected sex.They found out about the baby when Chantelle was 12 weeks pregnant. But they kept it a secret until six weeks later when Chantelle’s mum Penny became suspicious about her weight gain and confronted her. Alfie said,“I thought it would be good to have a baby.I didn’t think about how we would afford it. I don’t really get pocket money. My dad sometimes gives me £10.” This issue has understandably created a huge uproar in Britain. I mean how naive these kids are? To bring up a child is no easy task. I don't understand who to blame for this, after all they are themselves kids. This incident raises some serious questions about ethics and values that have to be inculcated in kids of this generation. Yes, it is their life and are free to do whatever they want, but please you have to be a sensible adult to take an enormous decision of such consequences.Its somebody else's life they are putting at stake. Did they think how are they going to bring her up, who and more importantly how will they pay for her upbringing? And to feel no shame or embarrassment for their actions and moreover selling this story to a tabloid! There has been an alarming increase in teenage pregnancies in the past few years and some very famous ones include Sarah Palin's daughter and Britney Spears' younger sister. And that too in countries where Sex Education is taught! But at the end of the day, you do feel sorry for Alfie and Chantelle and what should be done is to support them in all possible ways.

On second thoughts, when I think more of this, I mean this incident could spark an outrage in UK but looking at our own country where girls are married at such tender ages of 9,10, it presents a sad picture of our society.Child marriages are openly practised in our country and no one even cares. The show Balika Vadhu which at this moment is the number 1 serial in the country is about child marriage. Thousands of girls are married and are forced to have children and and the maternal mortality rate is the highest among them. There was this huge controversy a few months ago where it was argued that should sex education be imparted to children, of course it should be but what is urgently required is education and sensitising the adults especially the oldies who think too much of themselves about the consequences of living and following archaic customs and beliefs. Then only we can call ourselves a truly developed country. Hope too see a better India during my lifetime:)

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