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Children who are let out to play unsupervised grow up to be healthier - Page 4

post #61 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole lisa View Post
And I've never seen anything like this. We live just in front of a big housing project so when we're at the sprinkler park in the project I'm often the only parent as the other parents are all within ear shot of the kids. You know what I see? Kids ranging from toddler to teen all hanging out and playing together and helping each other when one needs. I am always so impressed and in awe of just how different the reality is when I compare it to stories I hear. Growing up it was the same way for me in my community.
Until DS started school, we belonged to a homeschooling group where there were children of all ages who were all parented similarly - with parents who treated them respectfully and trusted their children to work things out for themselves (or speak up for help from a parent if they needed it). It has always amazed me the way that they treat each other with respect and look out for each other. To this day, when we get together on occasion, DS falls right back into that dynamic. It's wonderful to see the older children look out for the younger ones, all of them work as a team toward a common goal, their resourcefulness in accomplishing something, etc.

It's completely different with his school and neighborhood friends, many of whom have been raised in an environment where the parents are very interventionist. He really stands out in his consideration for other people because he's surrounded by kids who would sooner run over a toddler on the playground than help him/her climb up the steps. They're also much more likely to come to an adult for help figuring something out. DS tends to fall into that pattern quickly, too, asking me to intervene when I know he's capable of doing something for himself. It's interesting to see that transition.
post #62 of 114
This is an interesting topic.

I was allowed to roam my neighborhood from an early age but there weren't very many kids my own age on my street so it was pretty boring. (Also a very safe neighborhood...safe and boring!)

Playdates back in the 80's were usually largely unsupervised, and it allowed for fun and creativity, I suppose, but also to bullying that flew under the radar, and kids discussing sex in graphic terms (based on what they had heard from older kids, etc.) while the adults were clueless. I could write a list a mile long of things that happened or were discussed while the adults were elsewhere, that would have horrified a conscientious parent. I don't feel these experiences helped me become more independent - they confused the heck out of me, b/c I didn't have an adult to interpret them for me. Having adults be out of earshot also means that if one kid is mean to another kid, it requires either self-policing (does not happen often with kids!!) or someone tattling.

Where we live, in a gated complex, many of the kids who live here kind of roam in gangs. They are OBNOXIOUS. And very, very mean to each other. I would NEVER let dd play with these kids, when she gets older. It certainly does resemble Lord of the Flies. I'm sure from a distance it looks like they are playing harmoniously - there are rarely physical fights - but they tease and ostracize each other cruelly (I hear them right out my window), are always playing games that exclude one or the other, they talk about things that are shocking for 7-10 year olds...

Of course, not all groups of kids playing outside are like this, but I REALLY wouldn't want dd's socialization to be in this context. Neither do I want to be a total helicopter mom. So, I don't know what will happen as she gets older.

In my IL's neighborhood in Greece, where we spend a few weeks every summer, there is a group of kids that seems very sweet who literally roam 24/7. They ride bikes on a busy road by the beach, they go to the store, they go to each others' houses, they do whatever. They range in age from 5 to 11 or so. On the one hand, it's nice to see that they feel so free. But I honestly don't think that riding bikes around at 3 AM is necessary to a good, free childhood. And, they are often loud and obnoxious. Not mean to each other like the kids here in CA, but not aware of how they are disturbing others. And no one calls them on it. They are raising each other, apparently.

I am more of a "Hold On To Your Kids" mama. I think kids need adults nearby pretty much at all times, not to CONTROL them, but to help raise them, to notice what is going on with them, to gently steer them in another direction when they are "stuck" either with peer interaction or some other issue. That doesn't mean I think parents need to be always breathing down the neck of older dc. But with groups of childhood peers, especially, I think that adult supervision is really important (in the true sense of that word's etymology - vision = looking, super = over - NOT meddling, but keeping a watchful eye).
post #63 of 114
I read the article and all the comments there and here after it. I think taking a long-range view that the rise of the automobile has to be taken into account. My greatest fear in letting my kids (age 6.5 and 4) walk down the street to play at a neighbor's (this is theoretical — they wouldn't want to go w/o me, very attached) is not that they would be snatched up by a pedophile or kidnapper, but that a UPS truck or other speeding vehicle would run them down. Our neighborhood is an older one from the 60s/70s and only has one entrance and 3 streets so safe in that sense, but the roads are very hilly and curvy and there are no sidewalks.

I am 43 and my mom was an older mom, too (now 82). I did have a lot of freedom as a child, but if I think about how my mom grew up — there just weren't a whole lot of cars then. They did have a few, but my mom and her brother rode a pony to the one room schoolhouse as did most of the other children! They just didn't have to watch out for crazy FedEx drivers. They grew up on a farm and did a lot of work on the farm and had a lot of freedom necessarily. I know as parents we all look back to our own childhoods when making decisions about how to parent our own kids. I'm sure my mom and dad (same age) remembered their childhoods and the amount of freedom they had and gave me a degree of freedom based on their own childhood experiences. In turn their parents would have not had to deal with cars at all in their childhoods.

I think I am more cautious with my kids about cars, etc. than my parents were with me. Back then I rode my bike to our neighborhood school and I don't think bike helmets had even been invented yet. We certainly didn't have them. It's a law in our town now that anyone under the age of 16 (I think) must wear a helmet. I think that's fine. As a child I had a neighbor who was killed after an argument with her mom when she took off across town on her bike (w/ no helmet) she was struck by a car trying to cross a 4 lane busy road and died of head injuries I believe.

Times change, y'know? I think that while the article makes some good points some of it does kinda smack of nostalgia. We don't live in a world where we ride ponies to school or not necessarily where it's safe to traverse our own neighborhoods (depending on the neighborhood of course).

A commenter on the Times UK site mentioned the rise in porn availability via the internet and other media outlets and the "sexual revolution" and theorized a corresponding rise in potential sexual predators. I don't know if they really corelate or not. I haven't looked for stats on that, but I do agree that that is certainly another way that times have changed.

I am happy that my dd1 goes to school where they have an hour to an hour and a half outside everyday in undirected activities. They can go a little ways into the woods surrounding the playground and build forts. They have elaborate games involving quartz from the gravel parking lot that they use as currency. They're safe from traffic. They're not completely unsupervised, nor would I want them to be at school, but they're not directed.

My particular kids are not extroverts, but they are super attached to dh and me and are super cautious and they would not feel comfortable going out of our yard alone. Sometimes they're not comfortable going in our yard alone although I would certainly let them. I do let them play by themselves all the time. I think I would explode if I had to direct their play. We have playdates with friends and all the kids go down to the basement playroom to play while the moms have tea in the kitchen or in nice weather the kids go outside. I do think kids working out issues by themselves is important and w/o their parent to turn to is important, but I think it's okay to have another parent there to turn to. That's a valuable skill to learn as well.

If my kids were the kinds of kids to feel comfortable apart from me I would happily let them explore the woods on their own. There aren't any critters (besides people) in our neck of the woods that would 'cause much injury (no rattlesnakes or mountain lions or grizzly bears), but I'm not going to force them to go play by themselves outside if they don't want to.
post #64 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole lisa View Post
And I've never seen anything like this. We live just in front of a big housing project so when we're at the sprinkler park in the project I'm often the only parent as the other parents are all within ear shot of the kids. You know what I see? Kids ranging from toddler to teen all hanging out and playing together and helping each other when one needs. I am always so impressed and in awe of just how different the reality is when I compare it to stories I hear. Growing up it was the same way for me in my community.

I think kids will look to an adult if one's around but if one's not then they're incredibly resourceful. For me it's about DS learning how to get himself out of comparatively safe tricky situations so he has the confidence and skills if as he gets older he finds himself in a less safe tricky situation. DS has a lot of alone time outside - sometimes truly alone or sometimes in big crowds. When we first started giving him more freedom it was amazing how his confidence soared.
Yeah, if those were the sortsof intereactions I'd witnessed I'd feel the same way.

And within certain groups, (like my friend's extended family) I've seen the same thing. And we're all extremely comfortable letting the kids play together with very little supervision.

Unfortunately, what I've seen play out over and over again at the playground or in other groups, is that the way the kids "work it out" involves the bigger kid(s) overpowering the smaller one(s). I'm *really* uncomfortable with that dynamic--as are my kids. So, there I am, hovering. And mediating situations so that everyone feels good about the solutions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
So how would Ffx Co. define "unsupervised?" If a parent stays on the lower level of the house and periodically checks on her 6 or 7yo through the window -- is that unsupervised?
Here's the wording (and they're clear that it is a *guideline*--for whatever that's worth):
Quote:
7 years and under:
Should not be left alone for any period of time. This may include leaving children unattended in cars, playgrounds, and backyards. The determining consideration would be the dangers in the environment and the ability of the caretaker to intervene.
So, I'm guessing that it's sort of a "retro-active" thing, where if the kid gets hurt or whatever, there's a guideline in place to hold an adult accountable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
All it does it keep the kids sitting inside in front of the TV more. And I'm not talking about MDC moms keeping their kids in front of the TV, but we all know that most kids in this world watch a TON of TV, and I bet that's true of Ffx. County too.
Nah, their nannies have them at their enrichment classes and programs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
What I'm wondering is -- has there really been an increase in crimes committed against children, or is there just greater awareness of things like molestation?

I've been greatly reassured to learn that most kidnappings are committed by the child's other parent, and most abuse is perpetrated by trusted family members and not by random strangers.


So to me, the "stranger-danger" stuff was what seemed scary. It's been helpful to realize that what dh and I really need to do is just keep following our instincts regarding who we trust and who we don't.

I really feel okay about following my (and my children's) instincts regarding how much freedom from supervision is safe and appropriate ... I just wish there wasn't this risk that someone who disagreed could actually make legal trouble for us.
Yeah, I think the increased "word of mouth" society within which we live has played a huge part in it--more *hearing* about it and more awareness. Probably no more actually happening.

"Stranger Danger" is such a crock, really.

And I totally agree with the last part. I'm fine with people following their kids' leads on this issue, you know.

It's just when you ARE seeing kids who *obviously* need/want an adult to help them, and the adult refuses on the grounds that kids need to learn to "work it out for themselves"--well that's too close to all the other ways I see "independence" foisted on kids who are aren't ready. So articles like this one worry me a bit b/c it seems like another way to reinforce that prevelant attitude. Anyway, that's where I'm coming from, I guess.
post #65 of 114
I thought of another point I wanted to make.

In Greece, where kids seem to have MUCH more freedom than I as a parent would be comfortable with, the cultural context is a bit different. It is assumed that *all* adults are watching out for kids to some degree, not just the kids' parents.

I do NOT have the trust in my neighbors here in CA that would be required for such an assumption. (I don't have that trust in Greece, either, actually.)

It reminds me of another cultural difference between Greece and the U.S. In Greece, every single playground I've taken dd to (including private ones that you pay to get into) has lots of broken, dangerous equipment. To someone coming from the U.S., where playgrounds are generally pretty well-maintained and safe, it's shocking. I'm talking about jagged plastic edges broken off on toddler play structures. Play structures missing whole parts so they are obviously not safe to use. Swings missing parts, extremely rusty play equipment, etc. etc. etc.

And yet kids do not seem to get hurt. They notice where things are broken and avoid those parts. They figure out how to play in and among the broken toys and structures.

So, the kids in Greece probably *are* learning something my kid is not learning in the U.S. - how to have a sharp eye, look out for danger, be ingenious in how to use things. BUT - does that mean I should look for broken playgrounds for her to play in??

To me, no. Just b/c kids are getting something out of being unsupervised, or playing with broken equipment, does not mean I am going to be OK with that for my dd. She is learning other lessons from safe playgrounds and constant adult supervision - that she can trust her environment, that mom can help her if she needs it.

Our kids are learning no matter what environment we put them in; I think it's a fallacy that we are stunting them if we don't let them "roam free".

I wonder if I'll change my mind when my dd is older, though. It's possible.
post #66 of 114
IMO, children do not thrive when parents manage them. Children need time that is not dominated by parental presence. Kids play differently when adults are not listening. It's exciting to ride your bike aroound town with friends.

My kids ride their bikes around town, and even in my liberal area, people have said to me, "I see your kids riding their bikes everywhere!" in this shocked way. This past fall, I called and asked a friend to tell my 13 yr old child it was time he headed home from her place (she knew he had walked there), which is an easy, pleasant, safe habor -bound mile, with lots of other joggers and runners and skaters. Next thing I know she is pulling into my driveway in her SUV. I met them on the porch and asked nicely why she drove him home "I felt so bad he had to walk all this way". I laughed and said "You jog this way every day-- and back. He's a kid, he can walk. It's a gorgeous afternoon". She was still "I felt so bad for him". I mean, are you kidding me? Later I asked him if he asked for a ride and he said no, and he didn't mind the walk, but she was insistent.

A mile walk when I was a kid growing up was nothing. We did it all the time, and none of us were fat and none of us grew up damaged. (At least not because we walked and played outside without parents).
post #67 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
Yeah, if those were the sortsof intereactions I'd witnessed I'd feel the same way.

And within certain groups, (like my friend's extended family) I've seen the same thing. And we're all extremely comfortable letting the kids play together with very little supervision.

Unfortunately, what I've seen play out over and over again at the playground or in other groups, is that the way the kids "work it out" involves the bigger kid(s) overpowering the smaller one(s). I'm *really* uncomfortable with that dynamic--as are my kids. So, there I am, hovering. And mediating situations so that everyone feels good about the solutions.

[snip]
It's just when you ARE seeing kids who *obviously* need/want an adult to help them, and the adult refuses on the grounds that kids need to learn to "work it out for themselves"--well that's too close to all the other ways I see "independence" foisted on kids who are aren't ready. So articles like this one worry me a bit b/c it seems like another way to reinforce that prevelant attitude. Anyway, that's where I'm coming from, I guess.
ITA with this, monkey's mom!
post #68 of 114
Ugh!
post #69 of 114
Nora's Mom posted while I was struggling with my dad's laptop.

And I just have to say, I fully agree!

And it's interesting to hear how the kids respond to our involvement--"You guys are the *cool* parents--you're always playing with us!" or asking for our help or involvement even when their parents ARE right there later. It just starts to get to the point where I'm like, "Dear lord, where are YOUR parents?" And the parents are talking about how important it is for the kids to be independent and how great they work it out for themselves--but I'm just not seeing that.
post #70 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
Next thing I know she is pulling into my driveway in her SUV. I met them on the porch and asked nicely why she drove him home "I felt so bad he had to walk all this way". I laughed and said "You jog this way every day-- and back. He's a kid, he can walk. It's a gorgeous afternoon". She was still "I felt so bad for him". I mean, are you kidding me? Later I asked him if he asked for a ride and he said no, and he didn't mind the walk, but she was insistent.
How rude and insulting -- and intrusive -- to both you and your son!
post #71 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
How rude and insulting -- and intrusive -- to both you and your son!
She was trying to be nice. We didn't take it personally. She's basically a good egg.
post #72 of 114
I agree as well with the cultural context stuff. What I see tho is s kind of two way street -- if we want a community, playground, street where everyone watches out for kids we have to be ok with being that person, yk? One of the things that makes me feel uncomfortable parenting my DC the way I know she needs is that some parents seem to resent me standing back - as with HelloKitty and Monkey's Mom. I know you're talking about extreme examples but there are many, many (I feel) parents who are giving the stink eye over my 7 year old doing something without having me 2 feet away.

I almost feel that in our culture, more often the first reaction over helping a child is the "where is this kid's mother". Sometimes you see people not even helping or extending a careing watchful eye -- just the stink eye. I'm not really taling to mamas here because I have a feeling that you just have had really sucky eperiences that would have pissed me off too. But there are people who get bent over really little things.

That, and I do think on some freaky level kids live up to our expectations -- even those of strangers.

The post I got most from because it's the value I really see in this idea is the post from Siobang about skill building. For my own DC I worry that she actually needs some of these experiences to prepare her for what she'll face down the road in life.

DC wants to ride her bike around the block but because of our neighborhood my biggest fear is that some mother who disagrees with it is going to stop her and call the cops. That is, by far, the most likely problem she'll face and it would FREAK her out -- far more than all the other likely scenarios.

I don't know what the law is in my town, but seriously, if I can't let DC play in our privacy fenced back yard -- OMG!!!!!

Sometimes I feel that if our communities are as bad as some people seem to thing, WHY aren't we taking to the streets?

Sorry for rant, havn't had a full cup of coffee. ; - )
post #73 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
The post I got most from because it's the value I really see in this idea is the post from Siobang about skill building. For my own DC I worry that she actually needs some of these experiences to prepare her for what she'll face down the road in life.
Thanks.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my own childhood and figuring out what I want to do similarly and differently for my kids. I do think I benefited from a fair amount of benign neglect, in that I learned pretty early on how to care for myself.

There were things I wish they had been more attentive to, especially setting up a home environment that didn't rely on adults (we lived in a pretty secluded area with no sidewalks and no kids around - I felt very isolated when my mom was not available to drive me around).

On the other hand, my parents were NOT this way with my brother. They were very overprotective of him - he couldn't do anything on his own because he was too "sensitive" or "just a little boy". Not entirely sure why they thought this - he is a very smart and capable guy.

The result is that they crippled him emotionally - being told and having adults demonstrate by their actions that you cannot handle the world is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It took him years to actually learn the basic self-care skills he never was allowed to learn as a kid - and he learned a lot of them as a teenager/college student, when the stakes are a hell of a lot higher. It isn't a surprise he made a lot of really stupid decisions once he got away from my parents, involving alcohol, drugs, and the law. And even then, my parents swooped in to rescue him.

Interestingly, my parents got the maddest when they found out that he had been arrested a year before, and he hadn't told them - instead, he just took care of it himself - paid the fines, attended the court dates, etc. My mother was furious that he hadn't told her, but when I pointed out that in fact she should be proud that he hadn't needed her to rescue him, she actually got angry at ME for encouraging him.

Now my family drama aside, I think it really helps us to question - how much we are doing to keep our kids safe, and how much we are doing to keep our kids dependent on us. I do believe that we don't want to force independence on our kids, but the opposite can also be very very damaging.

Letting them take risks is scary as all hell. But not letting them take any risks is really scarier - because some day they will be outside of our supervision. And they need to be prepared for that day.

My 2 cents.
post #74 of 114
We live on a farm so DS gets to go out all the time. I feel it is good for him w/ he goes out w/ DH b/c he isn't watched and protected as much as when he's w/ mommy KWIM? He has more freedom. My LO's will have plenty of fresh air and chances to use their imaginations. DH and I grew up on farms and I think I was allowed out in the woods alone w/ my cousins at the age of 7 or something.

Of course we also don't have fences up in our house to keep DS's contained in one room. I watch them *gasp* and get off my butt to get them out of the fridge if DS1 gets the latch undone. So many moms I know have their children in pens...
post #75 of 114
Quote:
DC wants to ride her bike around the block but because of our neighborhood my biggest fear is that some mother who disagrees with it is going to stop her and call the cops. That is, by far, the most likely problem she'll face and it would FREAK her out -- far more than all the other likely scenarios.
Where we live now that's what I fear most with my kids.

I've been on both sides of things. I've been watching my kids from a few feet away while they explored something and had some meddlesome person assume they're alone and start scolding them. I've also had to parent someone else's child because his/her parents COULD NOT be found by anyone.

I'm not sure which scnario is worse, now that I think of it. Both things end up with upset children and irritated adults.
post #76 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
One of the things that makes me feel uncomfortable parenting my DC the way I know she needs is that some parents seem to resent me standing back - as with HelloKitty and Monkey's Mom.
Whoah, whoah, whoah! I have NO problem with adults who are standing back and whose kids are having a grand ol' time or are even asking for my help here and there. Truly.

What I have a problem with is adults who are standing back and teaching their kids to "work it out" at the expense of others (namely my kids ).

I *really* have a problem with those parents (my SIL acting like I'm insane when I'm following my kid around--when it's largely to protect him from their children.

And I don't so much resent the parents whose kids end up coming to me for a drink of water and help getting up a ladder and tying thier shoe, but I do start to wonder what's going on in the parent/child relationship when a kid who doesn't know me at all (or very well), will come to me vs. go to his/her parent. I think it's off.


Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
For my own DC I worry that she actually needs some of these experiences to prepare her for what she'll face down the road in life.
See, and that's where I'm coming from, too. I want my kids to know how to deal with other kids and resolve conflicts and negotiate situations. And they're really getting good at it. But they're still building confidence, and many times the other kids they're dealing with are NOT used to resolving things that way. So they need a little help and often it's the "OMG, the ADULT said it, so I better listen," thing--which makes me sad, but it seems fairly common. So I just try to balance, balance, balance the stepping in, letting them handle it until they run into a problem, and meeting their needs. B/c, shoot, I would LOVE to hang out somewhere reading a gossip magazine while they trot off and did their own thing. *sigh* But it's just not where we are now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
Now my family drama aside, I think it really helps us to question - how much we are doing to keep our kids safe, and how much we are doing to keep our kids dependent on us. I do believe that we don't want to force independence on our kids, but the opposite can also be very very damaging.

Letting them take risks is scary as all hell. But not letting them take any risks is really scarier - because some day they will be outside of our supervision. And they need to be prepared for that day.

My 2 cents.
Absolutely. I am NOT hoping for an outcome of dependence. Far from it. It's just like I said above, *we* are not there yet. And I do worry that so many parents are afraid of any dependence that they cling to articles like this and force their kids into independence before the kids are ready (just the same as sleep, weaning, etc., you know?).

And, sheesh, risk? No kidding! My kid started racing dirt bikes at age four! My two year old does flying leaps off the back of the couch! My poor old heart! But, for us, these are things that, even though, *I'm* uncomfortable with, *they* are not--so that's where I follow.
post #77 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post

And I don't so much resent the parents whose kids end up coming to me for a drink of water and help getting up a ladder and tying thier shoe, but I do start to wonder what's going on in the parent/child relationship when a kid who doesn't know me at all (or very well), will come to me vs. go to his/her parent. I think it's off.
It's truly not "off" it's sometimes just personality/temperament. My 7 and 6 year olds come get me, my almost 4 year old just loves to seek out other nice mamas to comment on his cuteness. He loves talking to strangers (often to my dismay), and would totally prefer help off of the ladder from a random mama than from me.
post #78 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn View Post
I'm a firm believer in benign neglect, so this makes sense to me.
Ah me too, ever since I read an article about it in Mothering many years ago.
When we are in the UK we set our kids free, they wander off to friends houses and go on the train everywhere (from about age 10) I also let them outside at home from about 2yo to play outside in the yard unsupervised. Digging up weeds, and sometimes flowers catching bugs and having fun.
I think kids are entertained way too much by parents nowdays.
My friends and I delt with a flasher when I was about 9. We all bust out laughing, and he got emarassed and ran off. No harm done and non of us needed therapy, all married and have kids now.
post #79 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
It's truly not "off" it's sometimes just personality/temperament. My 7 and 6 year olds come get me, my almost 4 year old just loves to seek out other nice mamas to comment on his cuteness. He loves talking to strangers (often to my dismay), and would totally prefer help off of the ladder from a random mama than from me.
Yes, that makes sense.

And I'm really not talking about one (or even several) random requests--lord knows my extrovert will talk to anyone!

But when kids I've never met at a party (aside from being "that mom" in the playroom a few minutes earlier ) later walk by their parents (who are free, just chatting) and come ask me for help multiple times (while I'm clearly engaged with my own kids), and I'm saying, "Uh, can you ask your mom to help you with that?" I think that's odd. Most of the time, too, the kid's like, "No, forget it."

So that's where I think, "Well, yeah, the kid *has* learned to 'work it out on his/her own'....but it might not be the best thing." And I *do* think that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish than parents who are willing to respond to their kids or paying enough attention to realize that their kids are hitting up every other adult in the room for help cutting their dinner (or at the playground to get up the ladder), you know?
post #80 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeasleyMum View Post
...so she walked back to the apartment... over a mile, at night, in the cold. Goodness knows how she even knew the route-- she was only 5.
That must have been absolutely terrifying for your sister and for your family. I have to say, though, that it also underlines how much we underestimate our children and their capabilities, imo.
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