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Old 09-05-2010, 22:51   #91
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We have been living aboard since June 2008 and cruising the Baja and Mainland MX with our two kids: son now 14 and daughter now 10. We love it! We just upgraded to a slightly larger vessel and I have noticed an immediate difference between my two children and how they get along with each other... now that they have their own separate "rooms". They actually just have upper and lower bunks in the forward cabin, but the bickering has dissipated. No... I didn't say stopped altogether, but they are so much more pleasant to be around at the same time.

Our kids attended private and public schools and were also home schooled prior to cruising. There are negatives and positives with all scenarios. If I had one wish in the whole wide world that was an "education" wish for my kids it would be that they spoke more than one language. My husband and I are working on it ourselves and hoping to endear our children to the quest, but they are not as excited about it as we. I suspect it will come down to getting a pretty senorita to give Spanish lessons to my son and a chatty chica playmate for my daughter to get them motivated. Whatever it takes!!!

I am thrilled I get to see my kids grow and spend so much time with them. I am amazed at what my son is capable of doing (ie: he cleaned and rebuilt portions of the outboard engines so that they would run better... and faster, I'm sure) and my daughter is constantly finding new interests (including nursing and adopting out stray kittens that were dumped nearby... and yes, we ended up with the last one). They don't need me like I thought they did... they don't always need me to tell them what they can do... they can show me what they can do! And yes, I still worry when they go kayaking, hiking or spearfishing... I'm a mom!

Do I worry that they will be awkward or have problems fitting in if they decide to rejoin the non-cruiser population? No... they will adapt. They will be fine. They will figure it out. Of that, I am absolutely sure!

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Old 10-05-2010, 15:48   #92
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hotspur, have you tried something like Rosetta Stone? They're not cheap, but if you can agree on one together it's makes the cost a little less scary - pick a language and the whole family can learn from 1 purchase. Especially if it's something you'll be able to use wherever you're going next, might help to keep everybody interested.

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Old 10-05-2010, 16:52   #93
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Having grown up overseas and watched numerous expats learn the language or not learn it, there is one very clear lesson - Kids will speak the language of whoever they are around. If that is you and you dont speak Spanish then they arent going to learn it, at least not very well. If they have a peer group that speaks Spanish they will amaze you with how fast they will learn - Rosetta Stone or no Rosetta Stone. (not that it isnt a good thing, but by itself it wont teach you fluency)

also, though children can learn languages without even thinking about it, that changes around puberty. Once kids turn 12 or 13 it starts getting hard to learn languages - you can still do it with lots and lots of practice but you can no longer do it as you learned your native language. This is something most Americans simply dont understand because our school system doesnt start teaching languages until middle school - exactly the point at which it gets hard to do.

By the way, is there anything more deadly than learning a language you arent going to use?
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Old 11-05-2010, 05:32   #94
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They are now teaching Spanish in elementary - at least in Texas in some school districts. Same for Florida. I guess I would not see the point of learning it in Montana... so it may be state driven.

Mainsheet Technical Editor, C400
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Old 12-05-2010, 20:41   #95
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Besides all the above posts about better adjusted and more responsible kids - and a better education in the primary years. There is another major factor that should encourage you to take your kids off on an extended cruise - - governmental removal of parental authority over their children. In a certain very large country bureaucrats and other busy-bodies can initiate proceeding to remove your children from your control if these bureaucrats and busy-bodies think you are not raising your children - in their opinion - according to the local "social norms." Presently it has intensified from a nuisance to a real menace to your desire to raise "proper" children. Taking them "out of the country" is about the only way to re-assert your parental rights and duties.
- - If you are wealthy then you can put the children in special private schools were they are somewhat more protected from outside interference. But even that avenue is being eroded away. I was lucky enough to be able to put my child in the wealthy private school system but for most people the only viable solution is to "get out" and going cruising with them is currently the best method of restoring and maintaining a true "family."
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Old 10-07-2010, 19:10   #96
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Breaking the Program

Hello everyone, this is my first post as a soon to be cruiser and this topic is one of the main reasons we have decided to live aboard. Not only are our children bombarded by the media and peer pressure, they are at the same time compelled to spend even more time in isolation prefering to text or facebook rather than actually interact with each other. Our children range from 8yrs old to 16 and we just had our last garage sale to get rid of all the things we have come to realize we dont need. I have been even more encouraged by the posts and the good results of a family pulling together. We miss spending time with our kids and being forced to work so hard to provide them with what really is an emtpy life. We are excited to be joining such a vast comunity of others who choose this life. When someone asks us how will our kids live without their school or internet or constant availability of cell phones I will simply reply.... "they will LIVE, really and truly live"
I thank all of you for your positive and encouraging input!!

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Old 16-07-2010, 06:02   #97
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Everyone's got informed opinions when it comes to parenting.

Someone mentioned boarding school.... One of my opinions is that private boarding school is no substitute for parenting. If you've already decided you can't cope with the job or your kid is out of control, then it might be an acceptable (or needed) way to abdicate, but it wouldn't be ideal in any case. They can learn to be independent in other ways. (JMHO)

Kids are adaptable and if they are treated with respect and clear behavior expectations are set by parents who are generally good role models, they will usually turn out OK.

My kids are now 18 and 20, and both appear to be turning out great (not out of the woods yet). My 18-y-o recently sent me a link to a story about the "barefoot bandit" with the comments: "guess you did a good job raising me" and "maybe his parents should have set some limits". Coming from a kid who fought those limits all the way, it lets me know he now relates to the values systems that went with them. BTW this kid is not stifled by any means -- he's very capable and ready to take on anything, including risks, but he's aware of limits and consequences of mistakes.

BTW just to put some sailing content into this post -- I do think the government should prosecute Abbey Sunderland's parents for endangering the welfare of their minor child by sending her out into the Southern Ocean -- especially in winter. Teens want to do all kinds of things, but that doesn't mean it should be encouraged or allowed, nor funded by parents who seek fame and fortune. (Just search YouTube for the word "fail" and you'll see many examples of stupid stunts gone wrong.)
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Old 28-07-2010, 10:07   #98
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Hi all, this is exactly one of the reasons we selling everything and " run away" from all the non sense. What I see, and it's normal, is that the kids will follow what the parents tech them. Kids need direction and without that they are in a limbo, just trying to find what feels right and cool to them. I see to many parents too worried about making a ton of money to support the lifestyle they want. They don't spend enough time with the kids, people tell me " They have different priorities" and that makes me mad. Why would you bring a child in to this world if you are not going to raise him/her? Nanny, baby sitters, camps, sports, activities, these people are trying to unload the kids so they can take care of their own " activities".
I see that everywhere, everywhere I turn there is the couple with a couple of kids living above their means, trying to be what they are not. Loaded with debt just so they can show off they prized possessions. I am not saying that everybody is like that but man there are a lot of them out there, and for us " normal and simple" parents is more and more difficult to try to live the simple way, the " old way".
And if the kid doesn't have the latest electronic " thing" he is not a cool kid anymore. It's not the kids that are the problem, it's the parents.
Well, we are selling everything and sail away in the winter 2010 spring 2011. There is a much better and happiest life out there
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Old 28-07-2010, 17:09   #99
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Originally Posted by cla6665 View Post
I see that everywhere, everywhere I turn there is the couple with a couple of kids living above their means, trying to be what they are not. Loaded with debt just so they can show off they prized possessions. I am not saying that everybody is like that but man there are a lot of them out there, and for us " normal and simple" parents is more and more difficult to try to live the simple way, the " old way".
I have to agree. The feelings might have also been reinforced after I took onboard a materialistic narcissistic “mate” and his more sociable female friend on a recent passage. Whereas she feel in love with the boat he basically kicked my dog and could not get off his latest mobile phone till thankfully the reception had fallen out. Then at the heads the lady became violently seasick I discovered that although he was an ex-navy officer he had not even bothered asking her if she suffered from motion sickness as I had requested.

I just can’t understand how some people can be so self-centred. Other than blaming our capitalist society in general the other thing I feel is a big factor is reality TV programs that are based on voting everyone off the island or out of the house. It is like a Chinese fellow once said to me about his cut-throat culture, “instead of a thousand classmates you have a thousand competitors".

On a brighter side, back near home I met a fellow who had taken his family cruising for years and that had the time of their lives. When I was moored under the falls at Refuge Bay I also had a fellow and his grandchildren moored next to me. The boy had taken to rowing the dingy and went round in circles for an hour or more. I had to remark that it was a great introduction to seamanship in an era when most other boaters are only too happy to rely on outboards. Just being on the estuary and lake reminded me of the holidays I had spent with my grandparents in a modified boatshed learning to fish, row and sail a dingy. It is just such a pity that so many kids don’t get to see these “old ways”.
Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. - Voltaire
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Old 29-07-2010, 04:08   #100
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Originally Posted by schoonerdog View Post
why limit yourself to the bed? We say, beds are for sleeping. The rest of the boat/ house/ world is for the adult time
bow-chicy-bow-wow...can you tell my wife that!! LOL
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:18   #101
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this is why were making the move

To read the first post was bliss . I have been questioning are western world for a while and after having a little girl 2 years old now i just dont want here to grow up with the bombardment of marketing ,sexualisation etc . I have allwaise wanted to live on a boat and doing allot of soul searching the only way i can insulate my daughter is cruising on ayacht or buying acerage in the country. I have a few friends that are teachers and my brother is a teacher as well and they all seem to say the same thing, each year the kids are just getting worse and my brother sais he is shore that through media/marketing , political correctness there is some sort of social engineering purposely being implemented. He allso sais over 15 years of being a teacher he has seen study plans being dumbed down or a reduction of cretical thinking skills . They are or shocked what there wettnessing. In my own view here in Australia i have felt that on top of everthing famerlies are being undermind and community is non existant , accept for the yachting community of coarse, Arr sail the seas explore are wonderfull world and be real thats what i say . Aaron
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:38   #102
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I still believe that cruising or travelling with kids is a great way to orient children to their parents, develop bonds that benefit children that allow children to remain children in a healthy way. There are ways to to actively create the child-parent bonds that are being eroded in society. I recommend a book: "how to hold on to your children"

For our family I think the best time to go cruising is when the children are in the 7-12 yo range as that is when the bonds seem to accelerate breaking down with peer orientation. But in the mean time (before leaving) we are doing other terrestrial things that achieve similar goals.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:46   #103
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Hotspur, you asked "Do I worry that they will be awkward or have problems fitting in if they decide to rejoin the non-cruiser population?"

Our kids found that when they returned to school (for short visits) they could not talk about their adventures - the other kids could not relate, & therefore considered them snobs or something. Yes, you're right, they adapted, but I thought it was a shame.

I'm also glad to hear that you got them each their own space. Privacy is precious on a small boat, & kids need privacy, especially as they get older. We've seen cruising families swallow the hook because their kids didn't have enough privacy & weren't happy. When the kids are happy, the whole boat's happy.

I have no help on learning languages. We tried to teach both of ours French & Spanish, but our son latched onto French & our daughter preferred Spanish & neither got very conversational. It probably helped that my wife is fluent in both.

You're also right that cruising with kids is an absolute joy. As a techno-geek, I would rarely see my teens in a working life. Cruising, I got to see them turning into real people, making their own decisions & taking on their own lives. Truly a blessing.

We left before we were financially ready to cast off civilization, but the kids were growing up, & we wanted to do this before they left the house. As it was, we got 3 years with our son & 6 with our daughter before they each left to go to university.

My wife published an article on Cruising With Teens but I suspect I'm preaching to the converted here.

All the best -- Jon Hacking s/v Ocelot
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:17   #104
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Kids afloat

We went ashore when our daughter turned 13 at her insistence, a decade later she wants to know why we didn't make her stay aboard. Go figure. The only down side we have found was cruising made her a little too self-confident. . .
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:46   #105
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I have been trying to get my family to "buy in" to going cruising for five years now. My kids are 12 and 14. Daughter just started High School son 7th Grade. We keep them busy with sports 4H and other activities but they still get too much media. I took them to Mexico last year and while they liked it they didn't want to stay. Last summer my nephew, who lives in SPain, came to stay with us for two weeks. Then my daughter went to Spain for two weeks. There was a great connection between the cousins who had not seen each other in seven years. My daughter has the luck of the Irish, as she was there when Spain won the World Cup. Well she wants to go back. My wife wants to go back (she lived in Spain for a few years). My son wants to visit his cousin and also go to France and Italy and Brazil -- great soccer nations. And I well I would like to sell it all and sail down the West Coast thru the Panama Canal and on to the Med. Well in thinking it over I have come to the conclusion that I better strike while the iron is hot. They want to go to Europe I want to go sailing. I can't take the time to sail from San Diego thru the Canal and up the East Coast so I am thinking of trucking the boat to North Carolina or Texas splashing the boat and starting our trip from there. I will find a crew to do an Atlantic Crossing. Meet the family in Spain or Portugal and we will cruise Europe for a month. From there we will set the boat on the hard and come back to the States and return to Spain the next summer. If I can find a way for my son and daughter to take a semester off of school then that will work even better. I could spend a longtime cruising the Med. Maybe they will want to see some other places as well like -- the South Pacific? Now I need to figure out whether I can make this work both with logistics and with $$$$. Wish me luck.

Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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