A Montana mother was charged with child endangerment for dropping her three children at the mall with two friends. The two 12-year-old girls, both experienced babysitters, were supposed to supervise their siblings, who were eight, seven and three. But the girls left the younger kids to try on clothes in the dressing room. Store employees, thinking the kids were much younger, called a security guard, who called the police. After spending thousands of dollars in legal fees, Bridget Kevane accepted a deferred prosecution deal that included parenting classes.
Kevane grew up in Puerto Rico as one of eight children, she writes in Brain Child:
As kids, we were frequently left to our own devices, with the older children often left in charge of the younger ones. In many ways, I raised my youngest sister, walking her around the neighborhood, taking her to the local neighborhood store, and more. My mother was certainly around quite a bit, but many times she was not able to attend to all eight of us, each about a year apart, each with our own separate needs and demands on her time. She, like many mothers, believed in the power of allowing her children to gain independence by depending on themselves.
In the baby boom era, when I grew up, it was normal for young children to play together outside without any supervision. We had no malls, but we’d walk to the park or explore the ravines when we were six, seven or eight years old. Our family had four kids, including a surprise baby born when we were 14, 13 and 10. Believe me: We older sibs took care of him.
Via Free Range Kids.