June 10, 2010

Children Need Boundaries- Just Say No

A responsible parent understands that sometimes you need to say no to your child. It is not indicative of being mean or strict. Rather it is indicative of great love and care for your child. No is one of the best tools you have access to.

It is not always easy to do. There are numerous occasions that arise in which you want to say yes but in good conscience must say no. I mention this in relationship to Abby Sunderland. Sunderland is a 16 year old girl who is attempting to circumnavigate the world by herself.
"Abby Sunderland's family is scrambling to persuade any government with an aircraft in the area to help find the 16-year-old sailor, family spokesman Christian Pinkston told CNN.

The California teen's sailboat was in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 miles east of Madagascar and 2,000 miles west of Australia, when distress signals started coming from the boat Thursday morning California time, Pinkston said. No one has been able to contact Sunderland since then.

Sunderland began her journey from Marina del Rey, California, on January 23 with the goal of sailing her 40-foot boat around the world solo and without stopping. Mechanical troubles forced her to make two stops for repairs, including in Cape Town, South Africa, in early May."

I hope that they find her in good health. I hope that she is safe, but I cannot condone her parent's actions in allowing her to take this journey. It is the once in a lifetime kind of adventure that I would like to do. It sounds incredible and at 16 I would have been happy to try.

But, it is a major undertaking for any person. A major adventure for an adult and she is most certainly not an adult. I would have said no.

I don't view this in the same light as Jordan Romero, the 13 year old who climbed Mount Everest. He was joined on his adventure by his father and step mother. There was adult supervision, makes a big difference to me.

Don't get me wrong, I don't wish anything bad to happen to Abby Sunderland. I hope that they find her and then present her parents with the bill. This didn't have to be like this. Sometimes the best way to love your child is to say no.


MrMomWorld said...

My only issue is that the article did not mention Abby's level of sailing experience or her preparations for the trip. She apparently has a good enough head on her shoulders to put in for repairs twice when needed and to send a distress call when needed. I don't think a blanket 'not at 16' is appropriate. Everything has to be evaluated in light of the full circumstances. At 12, with no sailing experience at all, my twins certainly are not in a position to make that trip. At 22, my oldest isn't either. But, with 4 years of dedicated preparation, I can't say today that I would tell the twins No when they become 16.

The JackB said...

Of course not everyone is the same. There are exceptions to every rule, but I am not convinced by putting in for repairs or distress. It could be the equivalent of a flat tire, doesn't take much to recognize that there is an issue.

And she may be that rare exception, but...

MrMomWorld said...

Jack, You'll be happy to know that Abby has been found alive and well: http://bit.ly/a4Imba . In the article, it points out that her brother completed a solo sail around the world when he was 17. Her mast broke in a storm. French ship on its way to her now.

The JackB said...

I certainly am happy that they found her and she is safe. I remember reading about her brother. Still not real comfortable with it all, but they aren't my children.