Originally Posted by TarHeelJ
Have a child and then get back to us.
So I guess you at least have one, preferably two (every child is different) kids that have reached the age of 12-13? If not you're talking out of your ass as much as you claim the rest of us are. How do you even know that those who don't agree with you don't have children (assume much?) or didn't have to care for a younger sibling or just children (for all you know it could be my profession). Anyway, there are a lot of people who don't agree with you, I know my mom wouldn't and last time I checked she did in fact have children.
Like vid, at 6 I went to school and the store (buying candy) by myself. At 13 I went to clubs and bars and drank and partied! (probably not that easy anymore nowadays in the Netherlands either cause they check ID's now and you have to be 16). You wanting to keep your kids in the house untill 13 is just a recipe for disaster in my opinion (stressed), you're free to raise your kids as you see fit of course but I can't imagen how kids wouldn't rebel against that in some form or other. Get back to us when they reach that age please.
Maybe a lot has to do with environment and culture, I see kids 6 years and younger playing on the streets all the time. There's nothing wrong with that especially if they're in a group of friends or with a slightly older sibling. You have to give kids freedom and the oppurtunity to assert themselves. If as a society you instill fear in them and everyone keeps their kids inside, it becomes a self fullfilling prophecy. A lot of things about American society and suburban living are starting to make sense.
I remember walking the gritty streets of (pre 92 Olympic) Barcelona at age 10 or so. Heroine siringes, heavy traffic, we knew to stay away from it because our parents raised us that way and didn't keep us sheltered, locked up in the house. What are you going to do when the day comes your teenager runs away from home and encounters all those things and different kinds of people (tolerance is another issue here) and all that?
I was basically raised with 100% freedom, the rules my mom (parents divorced) did have I largely ignored (poor her). She put up with it because my brother and I were good kids who did well in school, never did drugs, didn't get girls pregnant and were never arrested. Sure it made for many sleepless nights for my mom, but then again she still worries about stupid shit when it comes to us, it's part of having kids I guess, but you have to let that go.
Anyway, underaged drinking only became a problem here when rules got stricter. It's just so damn obvious that generally things work like that. This country doesn't have the ridiculously low rates of teen drug use, teen pregnancy and crime rates because we keep our kids sheltered.