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Old 25-03-2023, 14:15   #1
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Written from a child's perspective

I read this article today and I would like to read her book. It is written from the perspective of a girl at the age of 7 was taken world cruising by her parents. Not a rosey account. I realize there are as many different experiences as there are people. And not all cruisers may be equally neglectful. But it's an interesting perspective worth understanding if only for parents to avoid a similar outcome or understand their children from their perspective on family choices. It's a tough decision to take your children cruising. Over years I've only read about how wonderful it was/is for children but those were all from the adults perspective. This is the first time I've read about a negative experience. At any rate I find this interesting.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...olen-childhood
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Old 25-03-2023, 15:52   #2
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

Gadagirl thanks for posting that article. The family dynamic sounds interesting and you have to wonder how miserable it would have been onboard with an unhappy teen.
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Old 26-03-2023, 13:52   #3
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

Thanks for your post. It seems obvious to me, as a family law lawyer, that parents that take their children long distance cruising are selfish, putting their own interests about those of the children. Children are far better off on land, perhaps exposed to sailing on an occasional casual basis, instead of against their wishes for extended periods of time. They can play soccer, hike in the woods, enjoy playing with a dog in the back yard, play with a variety of friends, go to birthday parties, go trick or treating in their neighborhood, and learn independence and personal responsibility apart from their parents.

If they later enjoy sailing, and want to do it themselves, great. If not, you just forced them to do something to please yourself, not for their best interests.

As one of the primary aims of this listserv is to promote sailing, and promote the interests of the advertisers and sponsors, you will not get much traction here. Plus, people who have already done this will never admit that it was not best for their children. People tend to rationalize their decisions, not matter what the reality of the matter.
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Old 26-03-2023, 14:15   #4
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

Ironically, I found myself wondering how much different it would have been had they stayed in England. Given a situation with so much lack of communication (ye olde stiff upper lip being encouraged so much), it's hard to guess. The story focused on the bad times, but surely the kids had a good time in the Pacific.

Agree with F&A that a miserable teenager could be awkward on the boat, but I also believe that parents owe a duty of care to provide for and educate their children, and it sounds like they both pretty much abandoned her at the end.

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Old 26-03-2023, 14:52   #5
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

Just thinking.
If the parents want to take the kids on a cruise, might their be a "good time" to do it in relation to the age of the children?
Old enough to get something of value out of the cruise, but not yet to the age where friends and social development become more important than "hanging out with mom and dad on a boat?"

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Old 26-03-2023, 16:41   #6
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

^^^^

Probably, from birth would do it, but also raises some potential problems, as well. Yet all the now adult kids of early cruising seem have to have turned out well: educated, reasonable careers, pleasant humans to be around. Some have gone on to jobs requiring university educations, but not all--however job satisfaction ranks high for them as a value.


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Old 26-03-2023, 16:46   #7
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

As a full time cruiser since 94' I've met a number of cruising kids. Without exception they have been the most industrious, mature, responsible, courteous kids I've ever met. Three of them, now in their 20's remain in close contact.
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Old 26-03-2023, 16:55   #8
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Sailor View Post
It seems obvious to me, as a family law lawyer, that parents that take their children long distance cruising are selfish, putting their own interests about those of the children. Children are far better off on land...
What Are your credentials in child psychology and what research can you point to that backs up your assertion?
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Old 26-03-2023, 16:57   #9
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

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As one of the primary aims of this listserv is to promote sailing...
CF is not a "listserv".
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Old 26-03-2023, 17:26   #10
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Sailor View Post
Thanks for your post. It seems obvious to me, as a family law lawyer, that parents that take their children long distance cruising are selfish, putting their own interests about those of the children. Children are far better off on land, perhaps exposed to sailing on an occasional casual basis, instead of against their wishes for extended periods of time. They can play soccer, hike in the woods, enjoy playing with a dog in the back yard, play with a variety of friends, go to birthday parties, go trick or treating in their neighborhood, and learn independence and personal responsibility apart from their parents.

If they later enjoy sailing, and want to do it themselves, great. If not, you just forced them to do something to please yourself, not for their best interests.

As one of the primary aims of this listserv is to promote sailing, and promote the interests of the advertisers and sponsors, you will not get much traction here. Plus, people who have already done this will never admit that it was not best for their children. People tend to rationalize their decisions, not matter what the reality of the matter.
That's a pretty one sided view of things. There is ample opportunity for kids to not have agency in normal land life. This story is far more of an indictment of the parents than cruising as a family. You can easily have land bound families that deprive their children of choice and opportunity at the whims of the parents. What if the parents want to go homestead in northern Alaska or in remote Appalachia? (They have TV shows about this.) What if your parent gets a job halfway around the world and you have to move to another country? What if you parent is in the military and you are constantly moving? Compound this with a clear disinterest in promoting their child's education and you can get a pretty similar story (aside from maybe sinking at sea).

Maybe they are wildly mis-representative, but there is a lot of evidence through youtube channels, blogs, and various sailing magazine formats that cruising with children can be done in enjoyable healthy ways, with plenty of education and socialization. This is obviously far more doable now than in the 1970's, but I think it's pretty clear from this excerpt that it has more to do with the parents than anything else. Even when they ended up in New Zealand for an extended period, the parents essentially abandoned the kids and continued to not value educating them or preparing for their future.
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Old 26-03-2023, 17:33   #11
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

"It seems obvious to me, as a family law lawyer, that parents that take their children long distance cruising are selfish, putting their own interests about those of the children. Children are far better off on land..


Wow,what an ignorant statement! I took my four kids on an adventure to S America in the ninety's. We still sit around the fire/dining table and recount how magnificent those times were.
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Old 26-03-2023, 18:52   #12
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

As others have noted, the story is an indictment of the parents, not of the cruising lifestyle. It certainly does sound like she was abandoned by her parents. I am very sorry for the womanís negative experience. But I donít believe it reflects the reality for the vast majority of cruising kids.

I had my 10th birthday during a passage half way between British Columbia and Hawaii and spent 4 months with my parents that summer, missing a month of school on either side of the summer. My parents got the lesson plans from my school and I did a few hours of school work almost everyday through that cruise. Loved it.

Starting the next year I spent 3.5 years cruising the South Pacific from British Columbia with my parents on a 31í sailboat from ages 11-14. We arranged correspondence school for my lessons - I did three grades on my own and came back to finish high school at the academic top of my school. Even though at the time (late 70s, early 80s) there were almost no cruising kids my own age - they were either babies or youths doing gap years before university - I found lots of kids on every island and community we visited that were very welcoming and enjoyed (I assume) adopting me and my parents for a few days or weeks (most island adults felt very sorry for my parents having only one child).

For a son going through puberty and an authoritarian father, the boat was really small. But other than that, it was an absolutely positive experience. I look back at that time as the making of me as an adult. Iím just sorry a cruising life didnít happen with my kids, but relieved and content now that Iím cruising myself.
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Old 26-03-2023, 19:52   #13
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

It's a common genre of books now and I can't help but think Suzzane could still have written a similar story of her life if she had never sailed. Her parents are the villains and being on a yacht just gives the story a twist that makes it more noticeable. With other books in this genre like "Angelas Ashes" selling 5 million copies and a movie being made it can be very lucrative to air your dirty laundry.
Sailor Sailor I am not sure if you are a parent, but we are always forcing our kids to try things. If we did not push them outside their comfort zone, then they will never grow as people.
The failure I think with Suzanne is that her mother or father didn't step in to keep some sort of balance. The wife and I are always balancing our parenting techniques and keeping the family dynamic happy and fulfilling.
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Old 27-03-2023, 03:27   #14
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Sailor View Post
Thanks for your post. It seems obvious to me, as a family law lawyer, that parents that take their children long distance cruising are selfish, putting their own interests about those of the children.

[...]

As one of the primary aims of this listserv is to promote sailing, and promote the interests of the advertisers and sponsors, you will not get much traction here. Plus, people who have already done this will never admit that it was not best for their children. People tend to rationalize their decisions, not matter what the reality of the matter.
Are you not confusing the application of family law (whatever that is exactly) with psychological analysis? The first would be the objective application of the law (if eg the parents kidnapped the kids, not good) while the second would concern itself with whether parental actions are in the best (psychological) interest of the kids (a complicated analysis).

Regardless of the above though, making sweeping statements such as you make ('[REDACTED]' which no doubt is true but which I read, given the context, as 'parents that do this are [REDACTED]'), puts your contribution more on the side of bigoted nonsense than on the side of professionally sound analysis.

EDIT. In fact, the specific example here I don't think has anything to do with the pros and cons of taking your kids cruising, rather about the cons of being extremely bad parents. But at least the kid got to write about it. There are many more kids who pass their youth in horrific circumstances who you will never hear about. Check out some of the run down estates around the world and observe...
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Old 27-03-2023, 03:33   #15
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Re: Written from a child's perspective

Yes, I have two sons, now 7 and 12. Both are in gifted programs in the public schools. I do not take credit for this, although my wife has done a lot. They have professional teachers trained and experienced in teaching children, with special gifted programs with an additional teacher for further development. You cannot duplicate that on a boat. My wife and I both have graduate degrees, but we are not professional educators.

Just to give you a day-in-the-life perspective to show you the difference, here are some events from the last 5 days. On Thursday, the PTA put on a second grade musical program, with group singing, jokes and nontraditional musical instruments. My son stood on a stage with a dozens of other second graders in front of several hundred parents and relatives for a performance. His best friend/”girlfriend” stood next to him in the performance and probably had some kinds of conversations before and after.

On Saturday, I drove my older son to a birthday party of his friends at an indoor trampoline/climbing wall/zip-line park. He had fun playing at this indoor facility with a dozen other classmates, away from his parents, enjoying pizza and birthday cake.

Yesterday, we went sailing, with a fast food lunch on the way to the boat, followed by a home-cooked Chinese dinner at home.

I am not sure exactly how these diverse activities affect my sons, but I am sure they are much better for developed, well-rounded children than those stuck on a small boat, educated by their parents, with all those limitations. The best you can say is, “well, my child stood on the beach at Vanatu, or went into the town at Papeete,” after spending two months stuck on a boat with only his or her parents. That is an environment lacking in the full spectrum of socialization and development. You do not know what your kids might be missing by confining them to a cruising lifestyle.

Further, I did not force my children to do anything, other than go to school each morning and go to bed at night. They exercised free will and the ability to choose.
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