I guess it’s smarter than smoking crack

I wouldn’t care if my 16-year-old daughter were the best swimmer this side of the Mississippi.  I wouldn’t let her swim the English Channel. It’s dangerous.

I wouldn’t care if my 16-year-old daughter were the greatest skate boarder on Venice Beach. I wouldn’t let her skateboard up Broadway, with or without a helmet. It’s dangerous.

I wouldn’t care if my 16-year-old daughter were a wonderful driver.  I wouldn’t let her drive across the United States alone. It’s dangerous.

And I wouldn’t care if my 16-year-old daughter started sailing when she was a week old and loved sailing more than life.  I wouldn’t let her risk her life by sailing around the world alone.

Abby hugging her mother before she set sail

If Abby Sunderland had succeeded in sailing around the world solo (she’s the California girl who was recently rescued by a French fishing boat when her sailing boat became disabled in the Indian Ocean), I wouldn’t think of her as a hero. I’d think she was damn lucky to be alive.

Scientific studies of the brain reveal that adult brains can plan, reason, judge and control impulses (considered “higher” functions) better than teenage brains. I acknowledge that while many teenagers have higher IQs than their parents, their EQs typically lag behind.

When it comes to Abby’s parents, I don’t think they’re especially smart on any front. Perhaps they’ve been out in the sun too long.

P.S. The New York Post, not the most reliable news source in the world, reported that Abby’s father had signed a deal for a reality show on daring kids. The article also said he was not doing well financially. Hmmm….

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6 Responses to “I guess it’s smarter than smoking crack”

  1. Susan says:

    Agreed. I went on my own to Europe & Africa at 17. However, I had a plan, was born aged 30 (at least) & was otherwise hugely cautious & suspicious of strangers (in a good way). I often find interns I deal with (here in DC) are rather babyish because of all the hoovering of parents who do not know when to stand down.

    This is not that. I was infuriated by this family’s attitude. You know what else? I’m not usually like this but…can you imagine how much money was spent (by everyone) to rescue her? Yes, of course they should have & did. That’s what one does at sea. But criminy.

    I did not know, either, about reality show possibilities but it crossed my mind as in “I wonder….” – because of her brother doing this last year.

  2. Claire Kennedy says:

    You are spot on, on this one….where were the parents when the brains (and common sense) were being handed out. I’m all for instilling confidence in kids and encouraging their exploration and independence, but I really like simple things like common sense and street savvy…how does it go?….”you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t take the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim!!!!!” Ba-dum!

  3. I guess it's smarter than smoking crack | Fab Over Fifty Blog - - Your Search Solution says:

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  4. Preppy 101 says:

    100% agree.

  5. Maureen@IslandRoar says:

    What more is there to say. I agree completely. I hadn’t heard that about the reality show; interesting…

  6. Toby Wollin says:

    When my eldest was driving from her college in Central Ohio to her internship in DC, I had her call me every couple of hours with her exact location, which I plotted with big red push pins on a map on my cubicle wall at work. When I could not locate her by cell phone on 9-11 (she was working in Ted Kennedy’s office), I went absolutely berserk until she called me from the Metro to tell me she was ok. Call me nuts, but I have three kids who I’ve gotten through high school, college, broken hearts, internships and co-ops, legal stuff, weddings, and they all came out..in one piece…alive and kicking. I told them a LONG time ago that my job as a parent is to keep them alive until they are old enough to get smart and discrete enough to make intelligent decisions for themselves. This girl’s parents are idiots. Period. If they are merely the sorts of parents who do not understand that it is as important to be able to say “Hell, no” as it is to say, “Go for it”, then that is bad enough. If they were using her to get a ‘reality show’ contract, then they have some severe maturity issues – if anything had happened to her, I think someone could have made a decent case to have them charged with neglect. I wonder if someone asked them what they would not allow their daughter to do, what that list would include? Why did they think this was ok?


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