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Old 17-11-2009, 15:41   #1
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Cruising with Kids: A Cure for a Disturbing Trend

There has been a steady change in the behavior of children over the past 20 years that I personally find disturbing and has been a driver for us in making the decision to go cruising.

What has been occurring is that children are becoming increasingly peer orientated at earlier ages. What this means from a parenting perspective is that our children are tending to be looking to there peers for their cues on how to be in the world at quite young ages.

Marketers have picked up on the trend and have descended like a hungry pack of vultures. If you look at advertising that is aimed at pre-adolescents you will see a disturbing trend of sexualization, fashion obsession and even dieting!!

This trend is having horrendous effects on our youth with troubling statistics of increased rates of suicide, eating disorders and early drug and alcohol abuse.

The solution is clear as day and is simply that young children benefit from being with there parents. My belief that the greatest gift a parent can offer a child is his/her time and attention.

There have been many wonderful studies and books written about parent-child attachment that delve into the troubling trend in our society to abandon our children and the effects this abandonment is having.

A study by Patricia Adler and Peter Adler : "Peer Power: Culture and Identity," state that boys gain the positive attention and status from their peers through “Toughness , troublemaking, domination, coolness, and interpersonal bragging and sparring skills." Girls derive status from "success at grooming, clothes, and other appearance-related variables;” and further they argue that romantic success as measured through popularity and going with boys; affluence and its correlates of material possessions and leisure pursuits."

Although the antidote to the loss of parental control and increasing peer control as a result of parents being absent and disconnected from their children’s lives could be accomplished in a number of ways.

It seems to me that cruising as a family is possibly the best solution to the situation of increasing peer attachment and decreasing parental influence and attachment.

Has anyone else considered the power of cruising to create very strong family bonds and strengthen parent-child attachment?

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Old 17-11-2009, 15:55   #2
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Yes we've considered it and it's why when I got pregnant we never moved off the boat between cruising jaunt #1 and soon to be cruising jaunt #2.

You are a smart cookie. Stick to your guns. Seek out like minded parents. Follow your gut.

But I can say that cruising isn't the ONLY solution. Here are some critical things we've done while living aboard and not cruising that I think matter A LOT!!

(1) no television at home. no commercial characters. the grown ups get their "news" by *gasp* reading it. The little guy didn't start seeing movies until nearly age 4 and then it was and continues to be a family activity, carefully choosen, and not often done.

(2) attachment parenting in general -- family bed, baby wearing, nursing, respecting your child and their individuality.

(3) an outdoor oriented, creative life. My son is outside seriously ALL THE TIME. When we are in, we're working on art and music and using our hands to work together as a family making bread, preparing meals, working on the boat.

And of course LOADS of books.

You are right about the trend, but most people don't want to admit it let alone deal with it because it requires GREAT effort to parent like this. And heaven forbid we put our needs aside for the benefit of others Much easier to plug in, tune out, and complain about it all.

oh don't get me started...

(schoonerdog's wife, Cindy)

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Old 17-11-2009, 16:33   #3
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Nice to see

Wow! Parents who are big picture thinkers, that is so good to see. There are so many really disturbing trends in the western world now and it's great to see people addressing it. You are doing your kids the biggest favour possible and are to be congratulated for your efforts.
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Old 17-11-2009, 17:20   #4
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The problem grows day by day. It is good to see other parents who are taking a proactive course to prevent this problem from consuming their own kids. We have five kids that we homeschool. Homeschooling helps immensely in that they are not completely immersed into that environment.
We love to go sailing on our Ingrid - the kids just love it! We don't get to nearly as often as we would like to though.
I have to agree absolutely completely with Cindy! She is spot on. We take a very similar approach and we have been called "unorthodox" "unusual" and just plain wierd! (After all - who in their right mind would WANT to teach their own kids! ) But we don't care! The kids are growing to be very well adjusted without Ipods, cell phones glued to their ears (or thumbs), tunnel vision to the tv, etc. When people get to know us personally, we get many compliments on how well the children do and how well they carry on conversations with others! Like Cindy said, "Don't get me started!"
I only wish that we were in a position to go cruising for the next five years. But it will be five years before we could.
I was going to post a video here, but can't figure out how to. Any suggestions?

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Old 17-11-2009, 17:26   #5
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We never analyzed this potential or other benefits of raising our children aboard as we lived aboard for many years before we had children, but we did reap these benefits and all the positives of a close family as a result of raising our two children aboard and cruising with them. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 17-11-2009, 17:37   #6
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You've got a great plan and I don't disagree with you at all. But, I don't think my two teens are leading a life of debauchery because they go to public schools, have i-pods, watch tv, and lead a somewhat typical American life.

You get out what you put in. My son couldn't imagine not playing lacrosse and football. He has a great circle of friends who definitely text each other to much. My daughter lives for school, straight A's, and her performance dance team. If your active with your children, no matter where your at, they stand a much better chance the absent parent.
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Old 17-11-2009, 17:58   #7
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We unplugged our TV not long after our first kid was brought home from the hospital.....Our kids are well adjusted and engaging to be around even after being homed schooled ...which all our friends were sure we were going to socially retard them over... none have had to suffer the constant sales pitches you speak of through TV although they do get it from every other angel it hasn't had the impact on them that marketers hoped to have.

I say go for it they will be well adjusted and better for it. Social activities are overrated...there just getting a sales pitch ( peer pressure) from within that social group anyway so its not much different. Raise them the way you only get one shot at it...make it a good one.

OH...We are big on team sports..and has all the Chariot building qualities and social development needed.
"Go simple, go large!".

Relationships are everything to me...everything else in life is just a tool to enhance them.
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Old 17-11-2009, 19:38   #8
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Family bed! We tend to use the bed for (ahem) activities the kids are not invited to. Otherwise I am with you all the way.
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Old 17-11-2009, 23:09   #9
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Its great to hear ALL the perspectives and words of encouragement. And as my wife pointed out raising happy, well adjusted children is not only for cruisers and home schoolers!

I applaud all the parents who do there best to give there kids the best they can.

I guess I feel grateful for the opportunity it appears we are about to embark on as a cruising family and how it ties into our specific values and beliefs that the modern attachment theory suggests.

Yes we are a no tv and sleep with kids kind of family...but I certainly know other parents who make different choices and are doing a great job too!

I am particularly interested in parents who choose to cruise with there kids because it is something they enjoy but also something they see it as aligning with their other values about parenting- like attachment parenting and a close knit family.
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Old 18-11-2009, 07:17   #10
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LuvToSail - it's true that a cruising lifestyle naturally lends itself to this sort of parenting.

sck5 -- why limit yourself to the bed? We say, beds are for sleeping. The rest of the boat/ house/ world is for the adult time
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Old 18-11-2009, 07:40   #11
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I've not had children, not for a want of trying I might add so I can only comment on what I see regarding children from cruising families.

These are MY observations, others may think differently and I'm not interested in getting into a discussion.

Aside from them being generally better behaved and more interested in the wider picture, I've also noted that they are less self concious of 'image'. They are, in general far less prone to tantrums, even at a very young age. They are polite, because their parents are polite. They are open to difference, because their parents are also of a like mind. Their approach to problem solving is not constrained by peer values. I could go on and on but in a few words, they are just more well rounded, brighter children.

Cruising kids get my vote every time.
The message is the journey, we are sure the answer lies in the destination. But in reality, there is no station, no place to arrive at once and for all. The joy of life is the trip, and the station is a dream that constantly out distances us”. Robert Hastings, The Station
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Old 18-11-2009, 08:01   #12
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Great thread. We have 6 (ages 10 to 1). We don't homeschool, but a lot of our friends do. Our alternative was to find a school that supports our ideas of how kids should be raised. It is an almost full time job insulating kids from the corrosive influences of our society- I see the results of those influences all the time in our neighborhood, but it's nice to hear my 7 yo girl comment about some teen's inapporpriate dress.

Never bought into the "family bed"- I still can't fathom how anyone could get any sleep.

I've found sailing to be a great way for the kids to "pull together" and a good way to give them levels of responsibility that they couldn't find on land.
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Old 18-11-2009, 08:45   #13
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Kids these days!

or, The more things change, the more they stay the same.

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for
authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place
of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their
households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They
contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties
at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

-- attributed to Socrates by Plato

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Old 18-11-2009, 08:52   #14
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Originally Posted by schoonerdog View Post
Can not put it much better then that.

You will bless your children in ways beyond what you imagine by your approach!

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Old 18-11-2009, 09:03   #15
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I was ambling down volleyball beach one day (Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas) and overheard a conversation between some cruiser kids. Georgetown, by the way, is a central meeting place for cruising families. Anyway, it seems that two of the cruiser kids had some mainland kids from the States visit for a week or two. The landlubber kids apparently had been miserable because there was nothing to do that they liked, such as going to the mall or playing video games all day.

The boat kids felt sorry for them.

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