It is becoming agreed that children are growing up faster nowadays. 10-12 year-olds have been the new "teens" for some time, and we are increasingly hearing of younger kids in trouble for one thing or another.
His parents really ought to call the police before approaching this dangerous armed felon.
For example, the three primary schoolboys excluded from school over an alleged sex attack, who are too young to be prosecuted and it appears with whom the state has absolutely no ability to deal.*
I remember reading in one of Britain's stirling news outlets about a woman brutally stabbed 20-30 times by a six-year-old whom she was babysitting.
Stories like these are now regular. Some police chiefs think it's all because parents don't smack their kids enough. Others think it's because parents smack them too much, or too hard. If you read Frank Chalk - or his book - you will know that smacking is the least of our problems and that in fact it is now illegal to say "no" loud enough to leave a mark.
Personally, I don't think smacking has a lot to do with it. I think the word "no" does. I recently attended a domestic where a 14-year-old boy had thrown his mother on the floor, called her a "filthy slut" and kicked her. She was in despair, not wanting to get her own son arrested, but terrified of the knife-wielding, drug-using reprobate living in her house. Eventually we did arrest him, and she gave a statement saying she didn't want him prosecuted as long as he never came home. We didn't prosecute him, and Social Services told his mother she had no choice but to have him back.
This woman didn't need her son prosecuted. What she needed was to go back fifteen years to when she thought it would be fun to have three kids by different fathers who live in different towns all over the UK, never enforce any child support from said fathers and live off her taxpaying, un-baby-producing neighbours. The police could then install a knife-wielding, drug-using reprobate in her house for three weeks, and write the word "NO" in big letters on a piece of paper and give it to her.
If someone could bring out a law to do that, that would be great.
Meanwhile, computer games are telling ten-year-olds they are fat, and the Daily Telegraph is polling its online readers: Should sex education be compulsory for four-year-olds?
Are children growing up faster on their own, or are we making them?
* Apologies for this sentence. It's something to do with a night shift.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.