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Updated on July 26, 2010


Being a loving parent is a momentous obligation to society and your children. This obligation cannot be taken lightly as your children depend on your judgment to survive to adulthood!!

I was a fairly permissive parent but I had my limits and I would never cross those limits not in a New York second!!! There are parents who make me wonder if they have any limits? They allow their children to put their lives in danger and that is way too far to go!!!!!!!!!!!



A 16-year-old California girl, Abby Sunderland was lost at sea all alone trying to circumnavigate the world. I heard her parents say they allowed this both because her brother had done this at the same age and to help her to develop character.

I was hesitant to show my feelings on this subject but would they have allowed her to play Russian roulette just because her brother had survived such foolishness? Then this morning I heard Geraldo Rivera express these same feelings on Fox and Friends. Geraldo is an experienced sailor and he likened this to child neglect and I agree with him!!!!!!!!!

Folks there are some things a sixteen year old should not be allowed to try alone even with a friend or a small crew. There may be glory if successful but the possible negative outcome is devastating to this young life, which could be over before it’s even started!!!!!!!!!



Allowing any 16-year-old child to circumnavigate the world alone is way over the top in my view and if I had my way the neglectful parents who are living vicariously through their child should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!!!!!!!!!!!!


I don’t like to be judgmental but this is way to far to allow a child to go!!!!!!!!!!!



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    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 7 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      Sunshine Uy,

      I couldn't agree with you more. Parents were put on this earth to raise, love and teach their children and not to live their lives vicariously through them or to profit from them or their abilities!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Thank you for your sage comment and Merry Christmas.

    • Sunshine Uy profile image

      Sunshine Uy 7 years ago

      If the girl's parents were in their right frame of mind, they never should have allowed her to sail that way despite all the fame and money that they expected from it.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      I agree with your position on the value of your daughter. All young people have their whole lives to make money. We must keep them safe until they are mature.

    • zionsphere profile image

      zionsphere 8 years ago from Oregon

      I would definitely go with my child on a sailing trip around the world....every time a person sails long distance there is a huge risk...if for no other reason, I would go just to make she she wasn't alone if something went wrong...that wouldn't make for good television...but my daughter is way more important that any amount of money that a reality show would bring in.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      My NJ Dog,

      Based on recent facts Abby was following her mother's and father's dream so they can make money off a Reality TV show. That's child abuse IMHO!!!!!!!!!

    • My NJ Dog profile image

      My NJ Dog 8 years ago from NJ, USA

      As a parent, I don't think I could have allowed my child to do this. However, when I said something of the sort to my 29 year old son, he told me one of the greatest 'gifts' I gave him was permission to road race motorcycles when he was 14 and asked how this was so different.

      He had all the safety equipment, training, etc and was racing 400-1500 miles away from me. While there were adults watching him, no one could 'help him' race. Help was there, after he got in trouble, but no one was right with him on the course. And road racing is not the safest sport.

      I do see his point and have always encouraged my kids to follow their dreams. I wonder if the difference is the fact that I could be with my son within 24 hours, and other adults are watching him leads me to a false sense of security? If Abby's parents were on a support ship 10 miles behind her, would I consider the idea more responsible?

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Welcome home I hope you had a good trip.

      I agree with the point you're making. The parents were dunderheads.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      I totally agree with your point of view Tom.

      No matter how talented she is at sailing, the decision to let her try this was absurd and negligent. Furthermore, the time of year made her voyage much more dangerous . What were they thinking?

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Once she's an adult it's her decision so I agree. That being said I would have a cow if either of my adult daughters tried something that dangerous.

      Thank you for your comment.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      Tom, I agree with Evory because a couple of more years would have allowed her to mature a little more. I'm just glad she was found and is okay.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Some rules don't have exceptions where the life of your child is at stake!!!!!

      She survived by pure luck in 30 ft. waves what if Somolian Pirates had taken her?

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Generally I would say no. But as a former supervisor told me "it depends." There are exceptions to every rule.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      Mike Barnett,

      Just because they found her alive doesn't make letting her go around the world alone right. It's child neglect if not abuse.

      If age is an arbitrary number then why did the Supreme Court stop execution of anyone under the age of 18? Why do we not allow anyone under the age of 21 to buy and consume alcohol? Answer that Mr. Child ENABLEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!

      You must be breathing the oil fumes from the Gulf Mr. New Port Richey.

    • profile image

      Mike Barnett 8 years ago

      The 'Coming of age" voyage has been a maritime tradition for thousands of years, and people Abby's age have been making epic voyages successfully ever since. Do some searching regarding youngs sailors and discover Robin Lee Graham, Tania Aebi, Jessica Watson, Brian Caldwell, Jessie Dick, and David Martin, just for starters. Not to mention Abby's brother Zac, who made the voyage at 17. All sailed around the world, and all except Tania were under the age of 18 when they started.

      Age is an arbitrary number, whereas maturity is not. This trip was years in the making and planning. There was no child neglect here. Overall, I'd consider fast food and nintendo child endangerment. I'd call this child ENABLEMENT.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      sheila b.

      I agree with your analysis.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 8 years ago

      What's obvious is that neither the girl nor her parents are smart enough to consider all of the dangers.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      I agree later would be better. At least she would be legally an adult.

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 8 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      This is a very daring deal. I think they should have said no. When she's 18-19 she could do this, but not now. It is so said. She has to be a special person.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Thank you for a very common sense analogy. The situations are both way too dangerous for the children of their ages!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      SusanP 8 years ago

      May I comment to Springboard? In answering the question of how much should a parent limit a child's desire to pursue his/her dreams... Let me present this...A child of seven has been taught to operate the riding power mower/tractor. His dream, at seven years old, is to cut the 3 acres of grass his dad usually cuts, all by himself, with no adult around for 50 miles. You are the you allow this? It's the very same situation. Do you step on his dream and take a chance that he will spend the rest of his life minus a foot, just so he can pursue the dream he has at age 7?

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Thank you for your visit and kind comment.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 8 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Tom I do agree with you completely. Thanks for info.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      I see a big difference than swimming in a pool or riding in a car or plane than circumnavigating the world all alone in a small craft at 16 years of age. This is an adult decision and not to made by a child.

      It's akin to jumping from a plane without a parachute!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      I totally agree with your point of view.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      It's a difficult question only in the sense, how much should a parent limit a child's desire to pursue his/her dreams? Not to say that this WAS the child's ambition, as you pointed out the son did this too. But had this BEEN the desire of the child to pursue this sort of thing, then ALL precautions and measures should be made in order to see to it that the endeavor is done as safely as humanly possible.

      I guess, while I wouldn't necessarily put this situation in the same light, we take risks each and every day in our lives. What makes this risk different than any others? Than getting into a car? Getting on a plane? Swimming in a pool?

    • profile image

      SusanP 8 years ago

      I'm with you, Tom. Children don't have enough wisdom to make

      adult decisions. That's why there are parents! Sailing takes skill, which apparently she has. But the decision to permit her to attempt the trip around the world alone was just plain wrong.


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