Kicking a kid out of a car and making them walk home ?

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Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,725
Location: United States

01 Dec 2013, 11:46 am

My parents once tried that on me too. I was 9 at the time. It was in an older suburb, the kind where streets are laid out in a grid, rather than winding cul-de-sacs, but it's still clearly a suburb. My reaction to being told to get out of the car was sneakier and more clever than the OP's kid's. I knew the streets were too narrow and the blocks were too long to make a U-turn quickly; they were rectangles with a ratio of 3:1, and we were driving on the long side. So I crossed the street, and started running against the direction of traffic, which made it hard for for my parents to catch me and tell me to get back in the car. I got to the next major street, and walked along it for about a mile. Then I cut across the city park, and walked 4 blocks through a residential area, until I reached home. When I got there, my parents were already inside. They told me to go to my room, but didn't give me any further punishment, not even a talking-to. I was even allowed to watch a cartoon on VHS (video tape). But to be safe, I ate dinner alone in my room that night.

What helped me is the great sense of direction I had since early childhood. Even in preschool, which was within walking distance from my home, I already had the entire local neighborhood memorized. Not just the home-to-preschool route, but also nearby stores, city parks, landmarks, etc. And by age 4, when I learned to read, also street names. (I didn't make sense of the address numbering system until I was much older; before then, I just memorized streets mechanically.) In the hypothetical case where my parents actually forgot to pick me up from preschool, I would have been able to walk home by myself. Not that I'd be ever allowed to, but still. So it's no wonder that years later, at age 9, I found my way home so easily and efficiently.

They never tried the "get out of the car and walk home" punishment ever again. Interestingly, as my 8th grade graduation present, my parents gave me permission to travel around the city by myself, on foot and public transportation. By then, I could navigate the city blindfolded. I was very thankful for it. Car rides with my parents were an uncomfortable experience in 99% of all cases, not to mention the begging and pleading it took to get my parents to take me to a zoo, a museum, or other places I liked.