Originally Posted by zoosermom
I agree. I have a 13 year old and I find it very hard to believe most of them are mature enough to handle something like that.
Depends on the individual 13 year old and/or the environment he/she happens to be raised in.
My father had to learn to cope being completely on his own as a refugee without family after both parents died years before and he had to flee the Chinese Communists at 12 in the late '40's. This included figuring out how to handle Communist troops when they captured his group twice, avoiding the battlefields/being summarily drafted as soldiers, and coping with heavily armed deserters/bandits....one of whom shot a Nationalist army officer trying to reach his unit right in front of him. He managed to cope and survive....along with thousands of others of his generation.
Several years earlier, an older uncle around the same age was part of a small group of youths who'd risk their lives going behind Imperial Japanese lines to perform sabotage and post anti-Japanese slogans knowing full well that they'd faced brutal torture and certain death if caught.
My mother's older siblings around the same era had to learn how to be alert and extremely quiet at younger ages to avoid alerting Japanese patrols when fleeing from their hometown in the late '30s or cope with having to go into air raid shelters in Chungking when Japanese bombers happened to be overhead.
By the time I was thirteen, I already had experienced/witnessed several muggings...including a few at gunpoint, drugged out crack/cocaine/heroin addicts in the neighborhood parks littered with needles/drug paraphernalia, the loss of an elementary school friend due to being caught in a crossfire between two rival drug gangs, and countless brutal fistfights/beatings at the hands of junior high bullies.....most of whom eventually ended up on Rikers for various violent felonies.
Granted, all of this is nothing compared to what relatives in my parents' generation experienced during the Second Sino-Japanese War/WWII and the Chinese Civil War at 13 or younger.
Moreover, when I started high school at 13 at my NYC public magnet, I've met plenty of 13 year olds...and younger whose maturity, street smarts, and presence of mind was such they'd put many older adults to shame. In college....knew several classmates who were as young as 14 who were so mature and wise to the ways of the world you wouldn't have known their ages unless they told you & showed their IDs.
One who has been living on his own as an undergrad student since well before 13 is now a young tenure-track professor.