14 February 2009

A Parent at 13-Years-Old...

This particular story out of the UK might have many saying WTF and others simply shaking their heads or others, like me, trying to remember back to when I was 13 and wondering whether this was an outcome I was thinking about.

This is a story of little Alfie Patten, who at the tender age of 13 has managed to get his 15-year-old girlfriend pregnant. Not only did he get her pregnant, it seems that there was a conscious decision to have the child.

Now, I will be 39 this year and I am currently enduring the challenges of fatherhood with our firstborn. I would not say that I am struggling, to the contrary, I am loving it. Nevertheless, I am wondering how well equipped a 13-year-old father and a 15-year-old mother are to be facing these challenges.

By all reports, young Alfie is seemingly a natural and really good with babies. At 13 I would be suggesting that young Alfie is still pretty much a baby himself. However, the pair seem to have the future all mapped out. This includes sharing some of the parenting duties with the baby's grandparents. This is supposedly going to facilitate the pair staying in school and then making the most of their abilities in providing for the kid. Although Alfie seems equally at home with PlayStation and X-Box

The case is an interesting one. It is without a doubt a case to which local social workers will be paying a lot of attention to. Interestingly, the police investigated and decided that it was not in any one's interest to prosecute. This is probably so. A rape charge would seem pretty difficult to sustain and that would leave something like child neglect as a possible charge. Child neglect would also be pretty hard to sustain, unless of course the burden is on the parents to chain their children to the bed.

Let's face it, if the parent(s) have already discussed the "birds + bees" with their kids and the kids go out and do the deed, then really have the parents been neglectful or have the kids just been kids and ignored their parents advice and now have a serious set of consequences to deal with?

It is now that the recriminations will start. Who's at fault? Where did the system fail? Who should pick up the tab on this one?

I do not know that this is indicative of a crumbling social norm in Britain or anywhere else that teenage pregnancies occur. What it is indicative of is a need to reassess whether the idea of abstinence is a sustainable one. Perhaps greater emphasis and more serious levels of sex education (personal development training if you prefer) is necessary in schools so that youngsters are forewarned about the consequences and risks that they face if they engage in sexual behaviour.

At 13, I think I was pretty good on the Atari and I am pretty sure I was not thinking of bedding my girlfriend and becoming a dad. I am not even sure that I had a girlfriend.


The photo is subject to copyright (apparently). I tried to contact the paper that I lifted it from but they did not respond, but it can be found here. The photo is accredited to a Lee Thompson.


Brett said...

Birth control? I feel sorry for the grandparents.

Rob Baiton said...


Birth control at 13 and 15. Is this the responsibility of the parents or should these things be taught in school?

I feel sorry for the grandparents in situations like these. Although, check out the link and read the background on the grandparents in this case. It makes for interesting reading.

tere616 said...

Phew, I feel sorry for the kids.

Remembering my 13 yo time, am still busy with my boy scout activities, can't even remember I have a "lover" at that time.

Birth control ? I remember my mom once told me about using Birth Control, but not at 13 yo age, she reminded me when I was 17 yo age.

I haven't read the link, will read through it. But it's absurd.

13 yo age, having a baby, while he still looks like a baby to me too. Wandering his future will be

Rob Baiton said...


I do not remember getting the "birds and the bees" talk at 13 either.

I do remember having a few personal development / sex education classes in high school though.

Multibrand said...

The story reminds me that raising my son will be quite tough.

Rob Baiton said...


Probably a lot tougher if you were 13!

Anonymous said...

OK that's just gross. Especially cos the boy looks so young and like a baby himself. I can't hardly imagine how the hell can he come up to have sex with his girlfriend with that face?

I have heard that a lot of 13-14 years old are also sexually active here but at least they look like 16-17 years old to me.

When I was 13? I think I was a major geek (still am!) and I don't recall of having a boyfriend whatsoever at that age.