I'm a bit of a Coronation Street nut I must confess. Always have been, always with be.
This week has seen the 39th birth on the Cobbles (figuratively speaking of course) -Jack Dobbs. A baby boy to proud parents Tyron and Molly Dobbs.
Ahhhh, but hold on a moment. Is Tyrone the Daddy? Kevin Webster and Molly herself wouldn't necessarily think so.
A Father's Right To Know?
Tyrone is currently understandably over the moon at the deliverance. But then, he would be. He thinks he's the father.
We don't know what the scripwriters have in store for us and how this storyline is to develop, but in real life, what should happen?
I saw a poll today that said that something like 74% of women surveyed wouldn't tell their husbands/partners the truth if the parentage of their expectant child was in doubt.
So when should doting Tyrone be told the truth by Molly? At conception? At birth? On said child's 18th/21st/40th birthday or never? It's a scenario that is played out across the country on a regular basis. As difficult as it must be though for all concerned, I can see no alternative to the 'father' being told at conception that his status may indeed not be as it seems. How fair is it for poor old Tyrone as the example here, to go through the 9 months of pregnancy oblivious to the truth that he may not be the child's father and all in the meantime as he mentally prepares himself for parenthood? Surely, he has a right to know, that all may not be as it seems.
A Child's Right to Know?
This brings us to the even more difficult question of a child's right to know who his of her father is.
If, in the incredibly unlikely event that the Coronation Street scriptwriters decide to not bring this whole Tyrone/Kevin episode to a head and Tyrone & Molly live 'happily ever after', then should little Jack Dobbs (nice nod to Jack Duckworth by the way) ever be told that his parentage is open to question?
When should a child be told that his/her father isn't or may not in fact, be his/her father? Should the child be told as soon as he/she is old enough to understand? Or is that too young? I've heard some say that the age of 12/13 is a better age. Really? One of the most difficult times for a child is moving on from primary to secondary education and the adolescence that comes with this period in a child's life. Adding such a bombshell at this time surely can't help. What then about when they're more mature at 18, or 21? Again though, is this the best time? Everyone is different and parents would hopefully know when the best time would be.
But of course there's complications. In our 'Corrie' case, how could Molly tell young (or not so young) Jack that Tyrone may not be his father if Tyrone himself doesn't know? How would that work? Ideally, Tyrone would know that there's a question mark here and a DNA/paternity test would give an answer.
Or do Tyrone & Molly really need to 'rock the boat' if everything is fine?
The defining issue in all of this here, is the 3rd person. A parent has rights but in my book, the child has rights too. The child has a right to know who his of her parents are. The question of timing, when the child is told the truth, can at the end of the day, only be decided by the 'parents'. They'll know the child best and in each circumstance, decide on when the best time to tell will be.
But, there must be a time when the child is told. It is the most basic part about us - where we came from and what made us what we are. All of us, that's me and you reader and young Jack Dobbs, have a basic right to know this most basic of facts about our being.