Reader's view: Teen sailor's parents shirked legal responsibility
With due respect to writer of the "Local View" on June 16, "Teen sailor embodies courage while critics enable mediocrity," I must disagree. First, I disagree with the decision of Abby Sunderland's parents to allow her to take on her solo world sa...
With due respect to writer of the "Local View" on June 16, "Teen sailor embodies courage while critics enable mediocrity," I must disagree.
First, I disagree with the decision of Abby Sunderland's parents to allow her to take on her solo world sail at the age of 16. Yes, she is quite mature and, yes, she is an advanced sailor. But her parents are, nevertheless, legally responsible for this minor. They seem to have used her sailing feat for their own advantage with a TV contract as the incentive.
The letter writer proclaimed how important it is for parents to say "no" to their kids and not to spoil them so kids can grow to be responsible and independent adults. Sunderland's parents did not know how to say "no" to her when she was legally not in a place of responsibility. When Sunderland reaches legal adult age, she may then decide to undertake such a feat. In the meantime, she needs to have been told "no" by a responsible adult.
The letter writer was right that, as parents, we don't want to coddle our kids to the point that they have a puffed-up version of life. The writer referred to giving undeserved "trophies" to kids who do not deserve them. Most child-development experts tell us that kids learn confidence through proving things on their own and with adult encouragement. It also means they need the opportunity to prove skills while learning along the way. Adults are responsible for guiding our youth, not coddling them needlessly -- but also not placing them in undue danger.
Sunderland survived by luck. Had she died, her parents might have been subject to child abuse. Yes, she is a model for showing guts and skill, as the letter writer stated; but most teens have guts, and skills can only improve with age and maturity.