UK: “Who’s Your Daddy?” at 9pm on Tuesday on BBC Three

http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 1/hi/uk/8395638. stm

<< Alesha Dixon on growing up with an absent father Imagine growing up without a father in your life... My parents split when I was four. I don't have much memory of them together and given they are so different in character, I can't really imagine them together either. As a result I grew up with my mother and an extended family of half-siblings and step-siblings when all I really wanted was what I call the 2.4 family. When people asked me about my family when I was little I used to get embarrassed. I had to sketch out a family tree and explain how I was related to people. I've always been really close to my mother and now have a pretty good relationship with my father too. But I know for a fact my confidence was definitely knocked for a while growing up without Dad being there on a regular basis but I managed to deal with it and am now a pretty secure and confident woman - you'd have to be, to do what I do. Despite not having him in my life on a day-to-day basis, I always felt a bit lucky (strange as it sounds) as I knew who and where my father was, even if he wasn't living with me. Spotting love These days I can't help thinking about those kids - and there are a lot of them - who don't know anything about their fathers, and because of that I decided to make a programme on absent fathers from the child's perspective. The National Council for One Parent Families says about three million children today have experienced the trauma of their parents separating, and a million of them never see one of their parents again, usually the father. Children are always the first to pick up on a bad atmosphere. In fact in many ways they're more tuned in to spotting love - or the lack of it - at home. I'm not saying a couple have to stay together because of their children. What I am saying is it's really important for both parents to be active in some way in their children's lives, regardless of what their relationship is like with each other. But if you've never known who your biological father is, then I reckon you must have loads of questions you'd want or need answering. I would like to have children one day with the same partner. But also I do recognise that there are loads of people out there who may have children with more than one partner. I also know I can't control society at large - world domination has never been my thing. But every child has the right to know who and where they come from and if they've got any brothers or sisters out there. This isn't just important emotionally speaking, but medically and genetically speaking too. Just imagine - your father has a disease running through his side of the family but you don't know him, so you don't know anything about it. If you did, you might actually be able to do something to prevent it. Likewise, if you don't know who your father is, you won't know if he's gone on to have other kids so you could end up bumping into a half-brother or sister down the local pub or club without knowing it. One thing could lead to another and, well, it's a pretty scary thought. I've met several people during my investigation who've been really worried about this very possibility. One girl called Amy said it literally crossed her mind every day. She'd walk down a street and wonder if she had just passed her father or her half-brother or sister. If she met a guy on a night out, one of the first things she'd ask him would be "What's your surname?", just in case it matched that of her biological father. This was one of the very few facts, other than his date of birth, she actually knew about him. Help and support It seems like our world is changing in so many ways these days - especially with sperm donation and fertility developments. Yet when I've checked out the support that's out there for children like Amy who are in the dark about their father's identity, I've been a bit disheartened by what I've found. On the positive side, children conceived through sperm donation have the support of Donorlink, which is subsidised by the government, to help them track down their biological father or other half-siblings. Similarly, children who are adopted now have agencies, not to mention recognised rights, to find out about their biological parents. But for the others, those who are the product of a fling or one-night stand, or whose parents split before they were born or have refused to be involved in their life, what is there out there to help them? According to government figures, 50,000 babies a year are registered with only their mother's name on the birth certificate. Now that's scary. Also, I've discovered a chink of light in that there's a bill going through Parliament which will mean that a father's name will have to be put on a birth certificate. That's definitely a great start for the children I'm talking about - but is it actually enough? Having a name alone to go on is not a lot if you want to find out about who and where you come from. We're not all trained private detectives, after all! It's time people took this issue a lot more seriously. Children growing up without knowing who their father is has become an increasing phenomenon which won't go away just like that. I certainly know what it's like to have unanswered questions to keep me up at night, but just imagine not knowing the basic answer to the question of where you come from. Any absent fathers out there - come on, be a man and get in touch with your children. At the very least make yourselves known to them. After all, it's never too late to be a father. Alesha Dixon presents Who's Your Daddy? at 9pm on Tuesday on BBC Three. >>

One thought on “UK: “Who’s Your Daddy?” at 9pm on Tuesday on BBC Three

  • December 9, 2009 at 7:23 pm
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00p0nl0

    “Singer and Strictly Come Dancing star Alesha Dixon investigates the potential fallout of not knowing who your father is.

    Alesha talks to children and experts as she examines both the emotional and practical implications of not knowing where and who you come from. From the extreme case scenario of potentially sleeping with a half brother or sister that you did not know you had, to the possible backlash of not knowing your medical background.

    Alesha wants to get the nation thinking and talking about the issue of absent fathers as seen from the child’s perspective. Along the way, she also takes on the ambitious task of helping one young person in their hunt to track down their biological father.”

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