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Adolescents and adventure: How much is too much?
June 11th, 2010
02:12 PM ET

Adolescents and adventure: How much is too much?

The fact that Sutherland has been located is cause for celebration, but the concern and activity surrounding the search for a teenager allowed to sail alone across oceans brought this question to many people’s minds: Is this a good idea?

The answer: well, it depends
"Adolescents vary tremendously in regards to their judgment, maturity and the risks that they face in life," says Frederic Reamer, a professor of social work at Rhode Island College and a member of the National Association of Social Workers. "There are circumstances in parenting where virtually everyone would agree… and then there are circumstances like this where reasonable, thoughtful minds can differ tremendously," he says.

Abby Sunderland is not the first adolescent to embark on such a quest. And Reamer says children who complete these tasks can benefit from “a strong sense of accomplishment, competence and remarkable satisfaction,” and parents should not stifle their teen if they feel their child is mature and demonstrates good judgment.

In an interview with CNN shortly before her daughter set off on the around-the-world adventure, Sutherland’s mother, Marianne, did express concern over how her daughter would handle loneliness, but also said she felt Abby could handle the challenge. "The critics don't know Abby and what a good sailor she is. We know it's a risk, but also that with the right equipment and preparation, it's a very calculated risk”, she told CNN’s Anouk Lorie.

Others say hold on a minute
“I think its wonderful she wanted to take this on, but when you're responsible for helping a child to develop, you are gradually increasing the risk in their life,” says Jill Weber, a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C.,  area, and a member of the American Psychological Association. “In this case, it sounds a lot like allowing a toddler to walk himself to school.” Weber encourages parents to consider everything their children come to them with, but only within boundaries.

Dr. Suniya Luthar, a professor of psychology whose research at the Teachers College of Columbia University focuses on children of privilege, says the cultural context of American society often encourages parents to say “yes” to situations that could lead to harmful outcomes for their child. “There is this feeling that more is always better, and the more you can do and accomplish the better. But there needs to be limits,” she said in a phone conversation. “Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you necessarily should.”

Studies looking at the teenage brain show that adolescent brains are different from adults, and that certain areas impacting judgment may not be fully developed until they are in their twenties. Weber says the fact that the teenage brain is not developed, can put childredn at increased risk of being traumatized in dangerous situations. “If you're suddenly flooded by fear, that's when the frontal lobe needs to kick in, but for adolescents, it may not.”

A spokesperson from US Sail, the national governing body of sailing, says there are no age limits on an when a person is too young or too old to sail, but the most important thing is to be aware of safety requirements . "We’re happy that Abby is safe, and the fact that she was able to maintain herself in these conditions demonstrates she had a firm grasp of the guidelines."

In comments to CNN before her departure, Sutherland demonstrated a keen awareness of the challenges she could face.

“I know there is a possibility I could die. People die at sea all the time,” she admitted in the interview, adding “It's kind of terrifying to think about. But it is those thoughts that will keep me safe as they'll make me very careful.”


soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. meme

    CPS should be called on these parents! this child is under 18 and should not have been sent out in this type of dangerous environment! these parents are sick! and the children should be removed from the home! while she was out in the ocean they were tucked away in their warm beds they should be embarrassed!

    June 11, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Schooner131

    I don't care who the child is. Most teenagers can't be trusted with the family car. Child Services is brought in when a teenager is left in the house alone. This is ridiculous. What is with these dippy parents? Another teenage boy tried the same thing.

    These parents are unfit.

    June 11, 2010 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Stacey Reiman

    I wrote a response to this article on my blog

    http://homeschoolspanishonline.com/dailyblog/112-abby-sunderland-my-take-on-adolescents-and-risk.html

    June 11, 2010 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. bothteamsplayedhard

    Who pays the bill for the rescue efforts?

    June 11, 2010 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mike

    Nothing that occurred in the course of this trip leads to a conclusion that Abby's relatively young age had any bearing on becoming stranded in the Indian ocean. At 16 years of age, she consistently made good decisions all along the route, decisions that showed her experience and poise under pressure, moreso than man folks 2 or 3 times her age.

    Anyone who would suggest that a child would be in better hands with CPS than with loving parents who provided a great deal of training and guidance to her in preparation for this trip is nuts.

    Abby's entire team made only one decision that seems suspect: The decision to allow her to set out at the time of year that she did, putting her in the South Indian Ocean at the worst possible time. They assessed the risk and realized that if she waited, her goal would be unattainable as she would be too old to set the record.

    Abby is obviously an exceptional person, something of a progeny in her chosen sport. Every day minors push the limits of safety in some form or another in pursuit of their sport. Many gymnasts and cheerleaders suffer bone, growth plate, and nervous system injuries each year, but you won't find many folks who discourage parents of gifted athletes from pursuing these dreams.

    Periodically a little league baseball player will die from being hit in the chest with a line drive. Should all little league sports be banned, or should the parents of these children be locked up?

    Everything in life comes with some risk. The life's lessons that Abby learned though this will provide her with incredible strength throughout her life. She's learned the value of preparation, planning, and perseverance. She's learned about the value of teamwork as well as how to manage herself in times of peril. Those are lessons that many adults never learn. Yet some say that her parents should be locked up for allowing her this experience.

    Did it end perfectly, as planned? Absolutely not. Did it end well? It appears that the answer will be "yes", as Abby will emerge alive and better off for having had the experience.

    June 11, 2010 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. JinAz

    My issue is that we are not, as a culture, very reasonable in how we treat teens: A teen cannot work a full-time job, but can fly solo around the world in a single engine plane. A teen cannot choose a sex partner older than him/her self by two years, but can sail the ocean deep alone all around the planet. This seems not only irrational, but nearly schizophrenic. Either teens can make decisions for themselves- no matter the risk involved- or they cannot. We need to make up our minds.

    June 11, 2010 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Gray Duncan

    As a teacher of high school students for 22 years I admire the ambition of Abby Sunderland. In a time when mediocrity is much too accepeted, young people like her set an example for other young people to be insprired to accomplish great things. Great to see young adventourous spirits like her. Sincerely, Gray

    June 11, 2010 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Yakfishingfool

    Abby is safe, an equipment failure caused her to abandon an otherwise successful attempt. She is an experienced sailor, and, as evidenced by her ability to handle a demasting at sea, a person with her act together. She is not on drugs, in the back seat of a car with a boy, or trying alcohol, she is living an adventure that most of us here could only dream about. We all consider our own levels of danger. I would never let my children ski, but have many times taken them in their own kayaks in the everglades with gators and snakes and sharks. Never gave it a second thought. They learned the safety issues, and were prepared for their environment. Be thankful she is fine and don't assert your beliefs on a family you don't know. Good job Abby, get'em next time!

    June 11, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Timothy

    Those saying that the parents should not have allowed this trip because 'teenagers are irresponsible' should reconsider. Unlike pampered, sheltered children that enter adulthood expecting to be waited upon hand and foot, this brave young woman has–thanks to her own actions and precautions–safely survived in a situation where many adults would lose their heads.

    June 11, 2010 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Lucy Coriander

    I think it is wonderful that this girl has parents who are supporting her in such a venture. 16 is old enough to know what you want. She knows the risks, knows she may die, and has decided that she is willing to risk it. It would be far more of a tragedy for her to be stifled and not allowed to live her dreams because it was 'too dangerous'. Life is dangerous kiddies, live a little! I say big deal about her age, if she has the skill to sail around the world, let her try by god!

    June 11, 2010 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. cbrons

    CPS will not take the "child" away meme. In fact I'm willing to be the "child" is far more competent and capable than you or your children. Helicopter parents are far more damaging to a society than parents who have the courage to allow their HIGHLY COMPETENT teenager to embark on a journey in which they are more than capable of handling. She is an EXPERT sailor. The fact that she is still alive and managing the situation in these types of circumstances shows that she knows what she is doing and moreover that 40 year old sailor would likely have taken the same steps. Before judging, please try and figure out what you're talking about.

    The family should obviously have to pay for the rescue.

    June 11, 2010 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Susie

    Biased reporting. Notice how they gave more airtime to the dissenters.

    As to you people with abusive language for Abby's worried-sick parents, shame on you. Didn't your parents teach you any manners?

    June 11, 2010 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. One dad

    LOL@Stacey's blog.

    Here's a clue, Stacey. I won't encourage my daughter when she is a teenager to get pregnant and won't encourage my teenage son to go off to war. I also won't let me kids try to sail around the world when they are 16.

    I love how everyone has started spinning this story as a "success" that illustrates Abby's skills. The truth is that she and her parents made a stupid move by trying this stunt in the winter in the Southern Hemisphere when the weather is notoriously bad.

    Hopefully, due to the bravery of some people with a lot more sense, Abby will be rescued. Of course, that "calculated risk" that Abby alludes to didn't include the risks to the lives of others when she screwed up.

    June 11, 2010 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. A Au

    Dear Abby's parents, I hope you taught your daughter to be considerate. Or may be you are not considerate yourselves, otherwise you wouldn't let your daughter do this. But your daughter's pursuit of adventure or "being the youngest to sail around the world" has put the rescuers' own lives at risk in trying to save your daughter. Have you thought about that? These people have families too.

    June 11, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dawn

    What's the point of this, anyway?
    If they want to sail around the world by themselves, great, grand, wonderful. Go for it. When you're an adult!

    But what's the point of doing it as a kid? All of this 'I want to be the youngest person to do X' is just self absorbed show-boating (no pun intended...). It's like those bumper stickers saying that your kid is an honor student. They want to be able to say that their kid was the youngest to sail solo around the world. And for what?

    Is that bumper sticker really worth the chance of losing your kid? Because it will ALWAYS be a chance, and as long as she's underage, it's the responsibility of the parents to use good judgment.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. DB

    Some adolescents are much more mature than others. Remember that up to about 200 years ago, girls her age and younger were GETTING MARRIED and having children. Of course, they were also treated as chattel, not given any rights throughout most of the world, as well, but because someone is young does not mean that they are automatically immature and incapable of a feat like this.

    I am not a teenager anymore, but I had the maturity at the time to do something like this, had I the opportunity. My parents were worried, but I was actually capable of taking care of myself as well. Then again, I knew plenty of teenagers who were nowhere near as capable as I was... or more so, as Abby.

    Anecdotes are not evidence – because you know no teenagers who can do something like this does not mean all teenagers are incapable or should not be allowed. There are clearly outliners who are far more mature and capable than the vast majority, and to stifle them, even at the expense of their lives, should not be YOUR decision. If they are capable and can do this, then they should be allowed to. If they fail, then they fail – the risk to their lives is their own, and you have no right to attempt to throw your own judgement on the issue (often lacking of knowledge to the specifics of the situation) and make blanket proclamations about "unfit parents."

    Instead of judging what these parents have done (raised incredibly self-sufficient kids who are capable of survival in extreme conditions), maybe your should be looking in the mirror, and asking yourselves, "Why are my children so mediocre? What did I do wrong so that my kids can't even be allowed outside the house without adult supervision?"

    Maybe if you actually let your kids do something on their own and grow as human beings, they'd become worthwhile members of society. Honestly – if she tried this when she was 17 years and 11 months old, you'd all still crap yourselves silly over this. If she was 18 years and 1 month, you'd not care at all. Two months of difference matters to you people for no real reason at all, just an arbitrary measure that has nothing to do with maturity at all, only your preconceived opinions as to what a teenager "should" be, instead of the reality of people running the gamut from extreme incompetence and immaturity, to those supremely competent and mature, far above the majority.

    Of course, for most of you, it's equality you want – all kids to be conformists, just like you and your own.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Cliff Downing

    Calling CPS is rediculous. If you aren't familiar with sailing then you aren't qualified to have an opinion. Better to have lived and lost than never to have lived at all!
    This underestimating the ability of our kids is exactly the problem we are having with them in america today. GO ABBY!

    June 11, 2010 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Paul Dornisch

    It appears the parents had faith in her. In my opinion that justifies their decision. I wish I would have had parents like that; ones who taught the right lessons and showed trust.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. chapmannews

    In the 1800s, teenagers (well, boys, in almost all cases) were regularly working or in service aboard ships as sailors and midshipmen – sometimes as young as 13 or 14 years old. In the case of the midshipmen, who were officers, they were often put in leadership positions or forced into leadership in war situations. Many responded with heroism and probably just as many not so. It depends on the person, of course. We tend to infantalize teens in our culture, but this was not the case in past eras where maturity had to occur more quickly (and lifespans were not as long). Hats off to Abby for the courage to set sail alone and accomplish what she did!

    June 11, 2010 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Julia van den Heuvel

    Laura Dekker is a 15 year old Dutch sailor. She announced her plans to circumnavigate the world at 14 years of age, but the Dutch government stepped in and ordered shared custody. This triggered a discussion on the limits of government intervention. If not renewed, her shared custody will end this coming July, so she may yet become the youngest person to sail around the world.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Dekker for more information.

    By the way, I agree with schooner131 that most teenagers cannot be trusted with the family (or any other!) car, so it beats me why teenagers can get their license at 16? First learn to drink, then to drive.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. LindaLou

    The problem with these "youngest to ever...." records is that the participant must be younger and younger every time. There is a limit to how young a person can be and sail around the world alone. Next year, a fifteen year old will try it, and before you know it, it will be gradeschoolers. The parents will say "But she LOVES sailing and is a GREAT sailor!" Yeah, right. But don't you LOVE your kid and want them to live to be a GREAT adult? It's a parent's job to get the kid to adulthood and not enable ridiculously risky behavior. Shame on the parents.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Anne

    Beyond her safety in handling her boat and facing the elements, I would be worried half to death about this girl encountering unsavory *people* on this trip. We've all heard the stories of civilian sailors who've encountered pirates, kidnappers, etc. on the open seas these days. No way would I let my 16 year old daughter face all of that alone. No. way.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Buddy Gilmour

    Aside from the natural hazards, what about pirates? Many more experienced sailors have disappeared without a trace. Anyone with even a modicum of common sense understands that these parents showed very poor judgment in letting their 16-year-old undertake such a perilous voyage. In my opinion they are unfit.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. nate

    if she was killed or kidnapped by pirates would it still be a good idea? would the parents be at fault there? sixteen year old white girls are worth quite a bit of money to the right sleezebag.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. schlvr

    The world can use more Abbys and progressive parents like hers. With her parents' support, Abby is able to grow and mature in ways that many so-called adults today haven't been able to achieve. She shows more maturity and poise than many 30+ year-olds.

    The equipment failure she experienced did not have anything to do with her age. It would probably have happened to any experienced sailor faced with the same conditions.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Grand Canyon

    Bravo to those who have written to support Abby. Shame on those who want her taken away from her parents. Stacey's blog is spot on. The human spirit needs challanges. It hopes for successes. There are risks and so there will be some casualties. Oh, hell, in the long run we're all dead anyway.

    Perhaps Abby should have been simply a young woman pursuing a dream, instead of trying to be the youngest woman to do so, as that put her in the middle of the Indian Ocean at a less than ideal time.

    On the other hand, she knows a lot more about sailing and the sea than the rest of us combined, and she had an expert and loving ground crew. And her goal was to be the youngest, and she understood and made every effort to compensate for the risks that entailed. So, good for her. Fine job, girl. She has my admiration.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. MS

    I think her parents should be held liable. It sounds like a great adventure, however, the cost of the rescue has not been made public. It's great to have kids strive to accomplish things but this was fool hardy.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Mr. A

    Shame on all of you judgmental people saying the parents and Abby are wrong for doing this. Just because you wouldn't / couldn't do it does not mean it's not right for someone else.

    And shame on CNN for even pandering to these troglodytes.

    Abby now has a unique and incredible story to tell, which will give her pride and success in her life. How dare you desire to take that away from her to assuage your petty fears.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. doc

    Does this girl not have to go to school?

    June 11, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. mtnguy

    Child Services is brought in when a teenager is left in the house alone? Are you kidding me?. Child services is brought in if you leave a 5 year old alone in the house, if it's a teenager, no one will care; they can make their own decisions.

    I don't understand all these vehement responses from over-protective parents. Millions of teenagers are trusted with the family car every day. Some of them die, sure, but no one holds the parents responsible in that situation. Child services are never called in to take their teenagers away if they get in a car crash.

    I think the parents are doing a good thing in this situation by supporting their child's dream. She's an experienced sailor, and has proven she can handle herself in tough situations. If she understands the dangers, at that point the decision is between her and her parents.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Bonnie Smithson

    I can't believe at 16 that this girl needed a circumnavigation in order to stretch her sailing skills. Later in life, after working a job for 30 years or so, I could believe an authentic drive to get away from it all. But this strikes me as a girl who is desperately trying to win someone's love and approval. There are lots of loopy parents these days who ask the kids what they want instead of providing what they need. I consider this a form of child abuse.

    June 11, 2010 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Paul

    This adventure had no societal value. To allow a 16 year old to decide to risk her life for such a thing is obscene. If she had risked her life entering a burning building to save a child I could see it as a worthwhile effort but allowing her to engage in such a stunt reflects very poorly on the judgment of her parents. This child's seamanship may be excellent but this was a stunt that risked her life for no other reason than to provide her with an adventure and give her 15 minutes of fame. Unfortunately there's not much fame or adventure in helping others.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Elmo

    No one risked their lives in the rescue. An Air-bus did a fly-over and a fishing boat is changing its course. Were I a member of either crew, I'd be delighted to help out.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. dlnqnt

    THANK YOU MIKE!!!!!!

    These people who think the government should be making all of our decisions and raising our children are NUTS. I've seen many 16 and 17 year olds that I would put up, decision making wise, against 25 – 30 year old any day. All of you that think this was wrong, just wait until your kids have to face something serious and can't handle it due to lack of life preparation by their parents. So, which parents are really endangering their kids, the ones who prepare them well or the ones who think Children's Services can do it better?

    June 11, 2010 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. John

    Have you checked out this kid's website? The money grab aspect of this story is not being told. She has sponsors out the wazoo because her rich parents didn't get that way or buy her a boat by being spendthrifts.

    And while I'll concede the satisfaction of the accomplishment as being part of her motivation, the celebrity and financial upsides appear to be as big a motivator IMO.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Charles

    I am sick do death of listening to these "call the CPS and throw the parents in jail" people who would choose to keep their own children locked up in a closet until the magic age of 18 when they morph into genius adolescents. We are one of the few countries who propagate fear into our children when we should be encouraging them to thrive. We listen to too many news shows who report nearly exclusively ALL BAD NEWS and nothing good, so no wonder we propagate fear. Kids and parents are afraid of everything. Our country was founded on adventurers, not scaredy-cats. True, taking on a life/death circumnavigation of the earth event is a lot more dangerous than setting up a lemonaide stand, but the rewards are so much greater.

    OK, for those of you who would blame the parents, think of this: If she had successfully made the trip, she and her parents would have been heroes, there would have been a celebration, some news articles about it for a week, and that would be the end of the story. Ten years from now no one would remember her. We remember her now only because, like people who slow for a fatal traffic accidents, we love to dwell on fear and negative things. Some CPS-loving radical will try to pass a law making adventures for anyone under 18 a crime. Do me a favor...go back to your cage!

    June 11, 2010 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. LIV2JAM

    THIS YOUNG LADY IS MORE CAPABLE THAN MANY, IF NOT ALL, OF YOU NAY-SAYERS. I PERSONALLY WOULD NEVER ALLOW MY OWN CHILDREN TO TAKE THIS RISK. BUT, THAT'S MY DECISION TO MAKE. NOT YOURS, NOT CPS. GET OFF YOUR SOAP BOXES AND LET PEOPLE LIVE. THIS IS A REMARKABLE TEENAGER AND HER PARENTS WERE AWARE OF THAT FACT. KEEP YOUR NOSES WHERE THEY BELONG...UP YOUR OWN REAR END.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. turd furguson

    her parents are not unfit...at least she is not a drug addicted stripper.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. AlleyBarberz

    Her spirit, her determination, and I render preparation are admirable. They say we live only once, and that obstacles don't just confound those less than say 18, or 25. However, my only qualms, despite not yet being a parent myself, are the chance at running into the "wrong predators". Piracy is fairly rampant, in some waters, not to mention other miscellaneous not-well-intentional elements, and it would be doubly dangerous if a one girl of age 16, any woman for that matter, or even most guyz for that matter running into the wrong people. Other than that. Kudoz.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Stacey Reiman

    Hello One dad, thanks for reading the post, but I think you missed the point. Young men DO in fact go to war. Young women are biologically ready to be mothers in their teens.

    I would be very unlikely to want my daughter or son to sail solo around the world at ANY age, but treating teens like they are immature babies just encourages them to be just that. I just used Abby's case as an example to highlight a tangential cultural problem I see that is pervasive in our country.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Neko Shousui

    "Kids" as young as 15 were in the found to have fought in the Civil War. Even now, In the United States 17-year-olds (making them only one year older than the girl) may join the armed forces, but may not be stationed outside the continental US or deployed in combat situations. To me it depends on the mental maturity of the person.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Muhammad

    Mike who made comment June 11th, 2010 @ 16:05 ET has said it best. Anyone who thinks CPS should be called in on this is off their rocker, fell out of the tree etc... This girl is well loved and in good hands... for those that feel otherwise,I suppose that a parent that allowed their 16 year old to go camping or drive a car.. heck even play football should be put into internment camp until hell freezes over!

    June 11, 2010 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. gen

    Dear God what are you people saying? She can be as experienced and as smart as she wants, no one can control what can happened to them. I would never let my kids do anything crazy like this and I don't care if they will be missing this kinda of life experience. I love them too damn much and I want them to live a long healthy life. I have a duty as a parent to fulfill

    June 11, 2010 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Fraser

    You guys should read the book "The Dove" by Robin Lee Graham. Its a true story about when he went around the world alone on his own sailboat at age 17. Took him 5 years to complete the voyage. Left as a boy, came back as a man...It answers lots of your questions......

    June 11, 2010 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. DeeVee

    Kudos to her for having the presence of mind to survive one of life's curveballs! Ten-thousand years ago she would have probably been doing the same thing, except with less support and technology. Her parents probably know who she is better than she does because they care, pay attention, and help her make these choices. And, they most definitely know her whereabouts. For all you parents that are complaining about her parents being unfit – do YOU know where and what your teenager is doing at this exact moment? Probably not, because my parents didn't!

    June 11, 2010 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. runner23

    We assume risks to an extent everyday. We put our children at risk participating in little league sports as an example but when problems arise, the solution is generally not an A330 and racing ship in rough seas to conduct a search and rescue.

    Yes, it does take a great deal of fortitude, courage, and sheer guts to take on a round the world solo voyage in a 40ft boat at any age.

    No matter the safeguards in position to increase the level of success,
    I personally would not have put a sixteen year old at this level of risk taking to set a record.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Dom

    The parents are glory hounds. Children do not need 7 months of solitude. There is no purpose.

    June 11, 2010 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. neverquit

    These parents may as well be Richard and Mayumi Heene. The poor girls' distress call was the only way she could finally cry out to the world for help. Tossing a 16 year old out to wild seas for months all alone to fulfill a family's insatiable need for recoup their son's lost world is child abuse plain and simple. One would think that this brief moment of "reality" when the girl was believed lost might stir the parents into reconsidering their faulty judgment, but alas, they'll breathe a sigh of relief then no doubt go right back to selfishly pushing their poor children to take meaningless great risks to their lives.

    June 11, 2010 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Joel Dockery

    You people and your "one size fits all" mentality. This is the attitude that leads people to believe that everyone should go to college, get a boring job in an office and never really risk anything.
    I never felt happy until I started doing things that involved risk–such as parenthood. To deprive my children of the joy of risk and reward would truly be child abuse.

    June 11, 2010 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Charlie

    She's 16!! So what? I guess we have to cuddle everybody until they are 27. Driving a car is dangerous too..... yet we let'em do that. I say if the parents feel she's able enough to do it... they WHY would a GOVERNMENT tell YOU what you can and can't do??? Anybody? (cost related to rescue will be up to the parents to pay)

    Can you hear parents of the mid 1400's, "Now Christopher...no sailing in water over your head without your arm floaties..."

    June 11, 2010 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
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