Monday, August 30, 2010

What Do You Think About This?

This is a sensitive subject and I feel badly for the parents of this child.

Motorcycle Rider, 13, Dies After Indianapolis Crash

I don't want to question or condemn the parents of this child, they are living a Hell I hope to never live. Further I ask anyone commenting to be respectful of this.

The question I wonder though is, what is too young for a child to participate in a dangerous activity?

Most of us grew up in a different time and we did things as a kid I would not let my children do now. I remember running one of my dad's snowmobiles at 85 mph on a country road up north, the same snowmobile and same road my dad later crashed nearly killing him. I can remember being in the middle of a wide and deep river in the winter and having the ice crack. I was on the same river in the summer crossing a train bridge above a dam when a train started coming.

We all did stupid stuff but it seems we know so much more about safety and trauma now.

So this is the question: where is the line between over-protecting our kids and using the knowledge we have now wisely and working to keep our kids safe?

Kids always played football but through advances in training kids are bigger and hit harder now, is this more dangerous?

Girls have always been cheerleaders but it is now a sport and they are pushing the limits to do more and more dangerous things, cheerleading is now the most dangerous high school sport.

Kids are doing sports we didn't even have, rock climbing, extreme bicycling, extreme skateboarding, jet skis, snowboarding, etc.

Is there a line and if there is, where is it?


Sam Huntington said...

This is a sad story from many different levels, but it is typical of our society that we cannot force ourselves to tell our children, age 13 … No you cannot drive a motorcycle, let alone race one. A recent fox news poll reported 56% of people responding didn’t think there is anything wrong with putting a 13-year old on a racing motorcycle. If this is true, why don’t we give 13-year olds driver’s licenses? Why don’t we draft them into the military?

People do not seem to be aware that the human brain is still developing into the early 20’s. It is why people in the early 20’s make horrible decisions. What do we expect from someone who is just 13 years old? Sensitivity or not, we all see parents who push their kids into dangerous sports and then sue the school district when their teenager suffers a broken neck. I am no judge here … it doesn’t matter what I think. Natalie Holloway would still be alive if her mother had told her, “No you are not going to Aruba.”

Mustang said...

I think there is a line, Chuck. I think the line becomes evident by the application of common sense. What are the possible consequences of allowing my 13-year old child ride a powerful machine in a race? In a perfect world, mistakes still happen. If he falls of the bike, if he loses control, if another bike forces him into a wall ... every possible combination of "what if" will produce an undesireable result.

So then, what should the parents say to the boy's request for a motorcycle? The answer seems very obvious to me.

cube said...

I feel bad for this poor child and his family, but what were the thinking? He had a bad accident last year where he broke multiple bones! That should have ended it right there.

Common sense dictates that parents need to say no when their kids dream up idiotic schemes such as racing motorcycles.

cube said...

Sam Huntington: Or going to Aruba where the drinking age is ridiculously low.

Z said...

I think NO is a word a lot of parents have forgotten to use with their kids. There's usually no down side.
How I pity those parents.

Z said...

I wanted to add that your post reminded me of all the football players who've been dying of sun stroke, etc. Has this always happened and we didn't hear about it? What's happening?
And will they some day ban football forever as they try to stop ANYTHING bad from happening, before they learn that that's part of life?

Hayden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Leslie said...

The whole point of parenting is that the adults help the children make positive, constructive, and mature decisions. A 13 year old will see a motorcycle and think it is cool to ride and do tricks on etc. The parents are then responsible to be the critical thinkers and assess the dangers and the inappropriateness of a 13 year old riding a motorcycle.

Parents need to be parents and stop trying to be friends with their kids and stop trying to live vicariously through their children.

I understand wanting to let kids experience things and try new things but some things need to be waited for, some experiences are not for 13 year olds.

I don't believe in overprotecting, but some things are plain evident on the basis of inappropriateness. Developmentally, a person's risk factor in the brain is not fully developed until age 24 (as mentioned in previous comments here, children are not able to assess risk as adults are) further children have a sense of immortality due to the lack of full development of this section in their brains.

It is an awful thing to happen and I am sure these parents fully regret letting their 13 year old participate in this activity --but I can't help wondering, how many stories like this exist and why parents don't understand that this kind of thing can happen to them and their children as well.

So it does irritate me quite a bit --as you can see by the lengthy comment-- the waste of a young life for mere moments of "coolness" and an adreneline rush...

MK said...

Terrible state of affairs, my condolences to the family.

I think this sort of thing should be left to the parents, it's their responsibility to decide what is safe and what isn't.

Ultimately though, it's more there-by-the-grace-of-God go most of us.

Chuck said...

I think the comments are kind of falling where I am at. It is our jobs as parents to protect our kids and sometimes this means saying no. I have had to tell my kids no to some things and I simply tell them that my job is not to make them happy but to look after them. They don't like it but I think they respect it.

BTW the stuff that I did as a kid, my parents did not consent to. I was a little monster ;)

Sam, agreed. Children do not have the ability to decide something like this for themselves

Mustang, my wife and I have talked about how you don't get to take some things back. For instance we used to live in the city and the neighbor parents let their kids run wild. We did not. We watched over them, they were still fairly young as were the other kids. We decided that if one of the other children had been kidnapped, raped, etc. the parents could never take that back. We didn't want to be put in this position, we erred on the side of protecting our kids. I think we were viewed by the neighbors as being prudish but I didn't care.

Cube, agreed on both points. I don't see letting a kid go to a foreign country like Aruba. I would even do all I could to talk my son out of it when he is in college

Z, a lot of parents cannot say no. As far as the football players, I think it is a little of both. The media seems to focus on it more but I also think high school sports has become too important to a lot of coaches. I think they are pushing the limits

Lelsie, good point. It is a shame that a life was wasted for essentially nothing.

MK, while I do believe he should not have been doing this, I tend to agree that it is a choice parents have to make - whether I agree with them or not. Also, your point of "there-by-the-grace-of-God go most of us" is well put. We can disagree, disapprove, etc but we have all done things that we should not have and it is not up to us to judge.

Always On Watch said...

My husband began riding a Honda 50 dirt bike around the age of 9. His father allowed him to ride in dirt-bike races when Mr. AOW was 16. And my father-in-law rode in the races, too.

I understand that the boy who got killed at Indianapolis was well trained to race.

My parents wouldn't allow me to ride any kind of motorcycle, either as passenger or operator. Ever. Why? Because one of my older cousin's got killed on a motorcyle when he was 16; he hit another car, then got run over by several other cars. There wasn't much of a body to bury -- the accident was that bad.

So, I'm of two minds about this recent tragedy. Truly, there is not a single no-risk sport out there. Hell, one of my friends lost some fingers when she was skating at the local ice rink.

Always On Watch said...

A personal story....As a child, I had a trapeze set in the back yard. Dangerous? Yes. Did I get hurt? No.

It is a wonder I didn't land on my head and crush my skull.

Just Sue said...

You certainly DO thing Right!

Thank you

Chuck said...

AOW, I agree it's not clear cut. I was driving a snowmobile when I was 9. Would I let my 10 year old daughter take off on her own with one? No. I think part of it is better knowledge now and I admit part of it is that I am a trauma nurse.

Sue, thank you and welcome

cube said...

I was riding a tractor, then a mini-motorcyle, and two dune buggies when I was a kid. Yes, I used the motorcycle in the street. No, I didn't wear a helmet. I'm glad I didn't die, but I was careful and never raced.

My father's cousin who had polio, but who was a grown man at the time, wanted to drive the dune buggy one night and ended up running the thing down the street. My mom had to chase him down and turn the darned thing off because he didn't know how. In the process, he tore down an ornamental column at our house.

Chuck said...

Cube, don't even get me started on helmets