Have parents gone absolutely mad?

In the paper this morning, on the front page, was the big news about finally finding Abby Sunderland, the 16 year old girl that was allowed to attempt to set a new world record for being the youngest person (ever) to go around the world on a 40-foot sailboat (ALONE!)–in what proved to be treacherous (extremely life-threatening) conditions (duh). Her brother had done it at 17–and you know what sibling rivalry does… 16 became the number that would beat her brother–What if instead of finally being located–if she had gotten irrevocably swallowed up by one of those 50 foot waves? Is that what it would take for her parents to be charged with child endangerment? I doubt it. Who’s idea was this anyway?? Oh, that’s right–it was Abby’s passion for sailing (and for beating her brother’s record)–I guess that makes it all OK.

Two pages later, there was an article about a 2-year old baby boy that was taught (by his father!) to chain-smoke cigarettes and, in this article, the father was boasting about how he had gotten the boy to “cut back” from two-packs to just a mere 10 cigarettes per day! If I hadn’t seen a video of this baby smoking like an out-of-control fiend (on a TV news show), I wouldn’t have believed that this was possible!  (Did I mention that this baby is also clinically obese?)

On the next page was an article about a 12 year old girl who was left home alone for a week because her mother decided to get married and go on a honeymoon (sans her child)! At least this woman was locked up and is being held on $100,000 bail.

Has this world gone crazy? Has the word “parent” totally lost it’s meaning? Listen, I’ve raised three kids–and several dogs–and, just this morning on my walk with Mango, while she was on a leash, we met another dog who was also on a leash. The dogs were pulling, twirling, sniffing, snorting–pleading to be set free to play–Did I and the owner of the other dog look at each other with empathy and compassion for how our dogs felt? –Of course. Did we ever doubt that there was anything but the purest of intentions to their desires? No. Did we also know that if we let them off leash, that they could run into the street and get injured by a moving vehicle? Yes.

So what happens? Do we, as dog owners, decide to throw caution to the wind, remove their leashes and just hope for the best?

Do we, as parents, allow our children’s desires to outweigh our first job–which is to protect them? I think not.  I hate to use a dog example, but I think there are a lot of parents (and pet owners) out there that need to wake up! Abby S. is a very lucky young lady, despite her parent’s lack of back-bone. There should be laws that protect children from an ineffective parent–She should have never been legally allowed to take this trip alone. (And these parents have an 11 and 12-year old at home and they’re already “accepting” that these kids might make this same attempt… Help!)

And, all I can say about the big, fat smoking baby is that his parents should be arrested and locked up (for a long time) for child abuse.

All three of these stories are examples of how people are actually able to live with themselves after blatently disregarding the most consequential job given to humanity: Parenting. It’s just horrifying.

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