Thirteen-year-olds don’t climb Mt. Everest or enter national motorcycle races. Sixteen-year-olds don’t decide to circumnavigate the globe.

The fact that people of those ages have recently been in the news for doing those very things doesn’t make those statements untrue: In all three cases, it was parents who made it happen.

And in the case of 13-year-old Peter Lenz, the youngest person ever to die at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you would have to ask yourself why.

Younger and younger people are popping up doing feats that were once the province of adult adventurers. Some argue that these children have a passion that can’t be contained, but it took more than passive help from adults in their lives to get them to the point where they could go where children don’t belong.

Since buying sailboats or racing motorcycles is so far out of reach for most family’s pocketbooks, we probably should not be overly concerned that this trend will catch on. But it does say something disturbing about a lack of understanding of childhood in our society that could be widespread.

Kids are not just little adults. They lack the equipment to control impulses, manage stress or think abstractly. They rely on the adults in their lives to do that for them.

And just because they want to do something doesn’t mean that they should, even if they really, really want to do it.

It’s good for them to dream about open ocean sailing or mountain climbing before they actually go out and do it. There’s nothing wrong for a 13-year-old to pretend he’s in a big race when he pedals a bike around the neighborhood. Adult life and its consequences come along soon enough.