Pop singer Alesha Dixon presented a documentary on BBC3 last night called ‘Who’s your daddy?’ Dixon herself is from a single parent family, barely knew her father, and has several half-brothers and sisters.
As she put it last night, when you don’t know your father, “It’s like your spirit can’t rest till you get certain questions answered in your life.”
In Britain, as in Ireland, huge numbers of children are being raised without their father. Many don’t even know the name of their dad. In the UK, 50,000 birth certs are issued each year without the name of the child’s father on it. In Ireland the figure is just over 4,000, or about one in 20 of all births.
‘Who’s your daddy?’ was about the immense pain this causes to children as they grow up, about the void that is left in their life.
For example, Dixon interviewed a young woman named Amy who had never met her father and had been searching for him for years. The BBC hired an investigator to track him down and she succeeded. When Amy discovered this she was completely overwhelmed by the emotion of it.
Here are some of the quotes from last night’s programme that particularly struck me:
‘Every child has a right to meet their dad’: Amy’s mother.
‘Every boy needs a dad for a relationship’: Teenage boy raised by a single mother.
‘My sister’s dad has 20 children by different women’: Teenage girl.
‘The guys don’t get punished for it’ (i.e. for walking away from their children): Friend of Alesha Dixon.
‘I felt I was on my own all the time. I sought out relationships with older men’: Friend of Alesha Dixon.
‘Girls will sleep with idiots if they don’t have a great male role model’: Alesha Dixon.
These statements need little comment. They speak for themselves. I’ll simply limit myself to saying that those groups in society which insist children don’t need their fathers are fooling themselves, fooling us, and above all, they are utterly failing children.