AS PICTURES of a bewildered Alfie Patten nervously cradling his newborn baby continue to hog the headlines, one can’t help but feel a little unnerved by the whole episode turning into a media circus.
Looking frightened and confused, the 13-year-old, dubbed Britain’s “Babyfather”, needs guidance and care instead of being used as a pawn for a lucrative meal ticket.
Reports of the baby-faced boy being exploited by his family for six-figure media deals for being one of the country’s youngest fathers make grim reading.
Amid the torrent of claims and counter-claims over who’s right or wrong in selling the boy’s story, the killer punch line has to be a commentator’s jibe at his parents.
“Don’t worry, son, your grandad’s got it covered,” wrote the Daily Mail’s Peter Mckay as he described how the boy’s father appeared to have the situation under control.
What a world away all this is from the past when sordid affairs would have been hushed up; they were frowned upon by society and could result in serious repercussions.
Now it seems like there’s cash to be made out of human misery and misfortune; the whole issue has degenerated into an ugly scramble for money. The fact that several other teenagers have openly staked a claim for the baby – who they probably regard as a cash cow – makes it all the more sickening.
Perhaps any money paid should be channelled towards a trust fund for baby Maisie Roxanne until she reaches 21. That way, no one should be able to profit from this unfortunate episode.
It looks like it’s not just Alfie and his 15-year-old girlfriend Chantelle Steadman who need parenting lessons – their families need them, too.
One of the saddest things about the teenage pair is that they have lost their childhood through this affair, having being robbed of the joy of being children themselves.
Ultimately, the parents are to be blamed, too. Teaching their children self-respect, discipline and good moral values would be the key to a well-balanced childhood. Without a solid family background and the right ideals, the scenario is akin to a ticking time bomb. Morals and values are, unfortunately, of little concern to most people in today’s society.
The most unfortunate individual in this sorry episode is the baby, who is probably better off with adoption than to be with two immature parents who are children themselves.
When it comes to responsibilities like education, immunisation, health, finances and other pressing issues, they’ll find it hard to make decisions which they themselves can hardly understand.
Once the novelty of the birth wears off and the money is spent, these two child-parents will probably get tired of handling a crying baby or continuously changing nappies.
After all, being a parent is no child’s play. And only time will tell how long they can bear the overwhelming responsibility of bringing up a child.