In light of the recent Abby Sunderland excursion and rescue, some of you might be asking yourselves, "what am I going to tell my teenaged daughter when she tells me she wants to sail around the world?" After all, on the one hand your heart might swell with pride that a young person would possess the confidence and bravery to consider such a mission. On the other hand, your conscience might be badgering your heart into submission, reminding you that you are responsible for this human being and sending her out to sea, by herself, is irresponsible, or as I like to say EFFING RIDICULOUS! What is a parent to do? Well, you can relax, because help has arrived. Let's not waste any time, your daughter might be hoisting her sails at this very moment!
The key here is to never directly forbid her from said excursion. You want her to change her mind about sailing around the world by herself, and you want her to think that she came to this decision on her own. In a causal way, you will need to merely "mention" all of the horrible things that could happen to a young girl alone at sea. (I deal with this method in greater detail in my book, Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation, in the chapter entitled, "How To Scare The Crap Out Of Your Child (in a positive way).")
Here is a list of helpful things you can say to your daughter who wishes to sail around the world by herself:
"You're not going near Somalia are you? There are a lot of pirates out there!"
"I'd stay the hell away from the Indian Ocean if were you, you don't want to get kidnapped by pirates!"
"Have you heard about the South China Sea? Pirate attacks increased by 40% last year. I'd steer clear of there if I were you."
(At this point you may be thinking that I am focusing too much on pirates. You are wrong. You cannot focus enough on pirates!)
"You'd better sign up for a martial arts class, just in case you need to fight off pirates."
"If you are in a sword fight with a pirate, aim for the leg not made of wood. Then once he's down, push him off the boat. "
"Do you think you can push a two-hundred pound pirate off a boat? We'd better sign you up for weight training just in case."
By the time you are finished with your subliminal campaign, your daughter will be telling you that perhaps she will wait a few years and "maybe bring a friend." She will feel empowered because she has "thought this through," and you will feel relieved knowing that she will not be kidnapped by pirates anytime soon; in other words, a win-win.
By the way, don't feel that you have to limit yourself to pirates. There are plenty of other dangers to be terrified of when traveling alone on the high seas. Sharks, boat troubles, glaciers, hallucinations brought on by solitude, the possibility of being stranded on a desert island, (which may or may not include bouts of starvation, encounters with wild animals, headhunters, and now that I'm thinking about it, pirates).