Spoiled Children of Divorce


13-Year Old Child of D Wants to Sail Solo Around the World, Social Workers Say No
August 26, 2009, 12:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Dutch Social Workers are trying to keep a 13 year old girl from trying to be the youngest person to sail around the World.

That’s odd enough in itself but they are using arguments against the girl’s trip based on the fact that she’s from a divorced family. Laura lives with her Father in the Netherlands.  Her Mother lives in Germany.

Bits from the above linked article:

But the Dutch Council for Child Protection is so concerned about the dangers of the marathon voyage it has asked a court to grant it temporary custody of Laura so it can do what her parents refuse to: Halt the trip.

Judges at Utrecht District Court were to announce Friday whether they will scupper Laura’s record-breaking plans. In the meantime, the legal battle has ignited a wide-ranging debate even in this traditionally seafaring nation about the role that parents should play in their children’s risky adventures.

The rat race to become a so-called “super child” — the youngest to accomplish some grueling feat — can be fueled by ambitious parents, laser-focused children with talent, or youngsters with a deep need to please or be praised, psychologists say.

Dutch social workers fear that could be an issue in Laura’s case, for she lives with her Dutch father who is divorced from her German mother.

“Laura has divorced parents and it is very normal for a child of this age to be very loyal to the parent (he or she) is living with,” Child Protection spokesman Richard Bakker told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “How much does she identify herself with her father, who is a good sailor?”

Laura and her father appeared at a court hearing Monday to discuss the council’s request, but the mother did not show up, Bakker said.

“She simply does not have the experience to anticipate the problems and possible crises that await her,” the paper wrote.

Besides the physical hazards, experts also warn that being alone for so long at such a young age could hinder the child’s emotional development.

A 13-year-old girl is in the middle of her development and you don’t do that alone — you need peers and adults,” said Micha de Winter, a professor of child psychology at Utrecht University.

Adults can make choose to be alone, he added, “but for children it is not good.”

“Particularly the absence of parents at such a crucial time of the child’s development … the risks are serious,” he told AP.

Ah, hahahahahhaa!  Well, for one, I had no clue that Social Workers knew about the loyalty gig between Children of D and their Resident Parent.  Bravo, Netherlanders.  But, really now, haven’t these Social Workers grown up in a Divorced family?  Sitting around listening to your parents’ endless personal problems is healthy?   Bouncing back and forth between parents is healthy?  Disruption to friendships because two sets of parents need extra attention is healthy?

I’m not interested in record breaking super kids myself, this trip sounds unbelievably foolish, but to use these arguments in Laura’s case is ridiculous.

Come on, guys.  Kids used to be on their own at age 13-14 anyway.  They grew up to become Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin.  Dream makers.

According to the article linked, Laura Dekker was born into an oddball lifestyle.  She wasn’t born in a little brick house with tulip pots in Deutschland.  She was born in New Zealand while her parents were sailing around the World and spent the first 4 years of her life on the ocean in a boat.  She has been sailing solo since she was 6 years old.  If she were to take off by herself in this venture she estimates the trip would last about 2 years.

Her situation does sort of sound psycho-babbly because it looks like Laura might be wanting to repeat the best part of her childhood when her family was together and happy and free.  Maybe that’s not good.  But, if she’s held back from pursuing such a strong dream her spirit will be squelched anyway.  Can’t they make a compromise?


1 Comment so far
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It is an interesting approach in the name of protecting a child. It’s a difficult situation and they are clearly grasping at straws. Coming from this angle is silly.

But I do agree with you that she may be trying to recapture the best years of her memory. Good insight!

Comment by Carolyn




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