That is the question that we were trying to answer yesterday at dinner time. I sent Connor to get Jake at the neighbor's house where I thought he was. Connor didn't find him. We sent him to another house and still no Jake. Kayli tried and discovered that he had been seen "selling crystals door to door" with a couple of neighbor girls. Finally, I get in the truck and drive around the two blocks closest to us -- no Jake. By now I am getting slightly panicked. I went and talked to the same neighbor Kayli must have talked to and she said they were going up the street -- not down. So, I headed up. I could see that he was not on the road that we consider busy at the top of the street and so I headed across and -- once I turned the corner to head up I could see Jake (who was at least helpfully wearing a red shirt). He was with the two neighbor girls and a very large container of "crystals" which I didn't get a look at. I told the girls to go home (their sister had been looking for them) and I told Jake to get in. I asked if he thought I was happy with him. "No," he says. I felt like I was remarkably calm. I explained my distress.
Now -- what to do to try to prevent a repeat? We took away his bike priveleges for the next day (today). He said "okay". Later, I realized that he probably wasn't worried about it because he has a scooter. We then took away his scooter priveleges also (though his infraction took place on foot). He said "okay". Either he feels the punishment is justified and is meekly taking it -- or he (and I think this is more likely) -- is just resigned to the weird whims of his parents and will calmly take whatever punishment we come up with the next time too. How do you prevent kids from wandering without your knowledge? None of mine have been inclined to do this before so I'm a bit stumped.