What Not To Do: Throw Your Kid Overboard

Earlier, I’ve written about the now famous Hot Sauce Mom and her unusual disciplinary measures. Apparently that wasn’t enough for the universe. Now we have an even worse example of questionable parenting to contend with. Now we have “Boat Guy.”

Per authorities on Monday, Sloane Briles threw his son off the side of a sightseeing cruise boat. The 35 year-old California man was having an argument with the boy, and was apparently trying to stop him from crying. Needless to say, the other passengers on the boat were extremely upset at the man for this surprising act. It should be added that the boy is not a good swimmer. Boat staff members reported that Briles told the boy he needed to “toughen him up” before he threw him over the side of the vessel.

Charlie Maas, the man who oversees the tour company, stated about the incident:

“Right in the middle of a sunny weekend afternoon in August there is a lot of boat traffic out there, that could have been fatally dangerous.”

I’ve heard of tough love before, but this is ridiculous. Honestly people, the world is already a cold and dark place. I understand the need to prepare your children for the outside world, but believe me … either your child will acquire the mettle they need or they won’t. And the world will have no problem sorting that at for you. As a parent, it is one’s responsibility to unconditionally provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment for their child. Knowing that this safe place is there for them, and having that feeling in the back of their mind will help your child greatly as they grow older in this unforgiving world.

Besides, this whole toughening up attitude is redundant. As already stated, the world itself is tough to begin with. It’s like saying, “I know I will be hungry later, so I’d better starve myself all day to get ready for it.” That simply doesn’t make sense.

We all know life is hard enough out there. It’s difficult for one to find love and help in this world. Don’t withhold affection in an effort to “toughen” anybody up, let alone your own child. If you do this, you’re just making things worse. Knowing that there is always someone that has their back unconditionally will be of greater use to your kids in the long run. Don’t be afraid that your kid won’t be “tough enough,” whatever that means. Kids are much stronger than you think. And kids need to know they have at least one place they can go to feel safe and taken care of in this world no matter what. Not having that makes a huge difference. Believe me, the alternative is far worse. And if you’re not careful, your kids may turn out like me.

To paraphrase Charlie Brooker, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I did.”

Source: New York Times


11 thoughts on “What Not To Do: Throw Your Kid Overboard

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  1. Wow, Jeff, you are certainly finding some disturbing ones, aren’t you? I hope this dude gets convicted, as well. What can I say? Horrifying!


  2. I read about this story and I had to read it twice to believe it. I don’t know what was on his mind–throw his son overboard? Crazy!

    There is no need to teach children to toughen up by these harsh practices, they will learn through experience when to don on the thick skin (as well as the hard head). In the meantime, they need a safe haven. We are supposed to be that haven.

    All I can do is shake my head at this story, obviously the guy didn’t think it through before he did it.


  3. I’m reading a book on the mentally ill in the U.S. at the moment. What you’ve described here seems perfectly in accord with the work style of an Iowan psychiatrist who ought never have been allowed near human beings. It’s nigh impossible to imagine treating any human being this way, but for pete’s sake–one’s own child?

    I love your response to this. Totally agreed.


  4. Thankfully, I don’t see too many “bad parents,” though the same treatment towards people with disabilities is something I see more and am very sensitive too, given my line of work. Some people…


  5. This story. Wow. Your perspective is great.

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with my daughter last night. I was doing her bedtime routine, and she wanted 5 songs. (She wants 5 of everything right now.) In order to reign in bedtime in a timely fashion, I told her, “No, we will sing one more song.” She threw a fit and wanted 5. I told her 1 or none. She picked none. When I got up to go, super-tantrum-time ensued, and I realized I needed to either follow through or… do something else. She was yelling, “I want to try again!” (She’s been yelling this after every time she misbehaves.) I told her, “Do you know that when you grow up and you’re out in the world, you can’t just try again every time you make a mistake? I need to teach you that… You can’t always try again. But, Mommy’s different. I will let you try again. Let me sing you a song.” My heart softened, I sang her the Barney song and told her goodnight. She said, “You love me anyway.” “Yes, honey, I love you all the time.”

    Tough love is pretty cross-cultural, I think. I wish there was a way we could prepare our kids well for the tough, nasty world that they will enter without having to withdraw love. Maybe, we can. I try. The boat guy is a ridiculous extreme, bordering on pathological…. But, I think as parents we encounter this all the time. Like when our toddler wants us to hold them every second–we must teach them that she is no longer an extension of Mommy, and she must learn to be okay with walking around on her own, entertaining herself, etc. As parents, we must prayerfully consider every instance that we decide to use tough love. Our children learn so much about the world in that very moment. And, we MUST teach them that WE can be trusted. If nothing else, Mommy and Daddy can be trusted.


    1. Nice thoughts. Thanks for this.
      My main concern about tough love is the parents who use it as an excuse. Lazy people can use it so they don’t have to try hard. Like parents who don’t want to “spoil” their child, so they simply just don’t do anything or buy anything for them. The spoiling is just a selfish excuse to get out of doing anything. I fear some people use tough love in the same way.


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