I am writing a story where a young child grows up through a series of stressful situations that will happen to him. I am having difficulty pinpointing the age when the book starts, for those who have kids or know them well, any advice would be greatly appreciated! I want to find the age where they are young enough to still remember their parents and old lifestyle if they are stolen from their home, and also young enough to be a product of their current environment forever (emotionally scarred after this), yet old enough that they can problem solve and understand a little of what's going on and try little tactics to get themselves free. Originally I wanted them to be seven, but I don't think that's old enough to be able to make an actual plan to escape (it's a small plan, like realizing that time is moving faster than he thinks because he finds out it's been 3 weeks but it feels like only days, and he realizes that maybe there's something in the foods that's making him unconscious. That's all, and he starts to at least think about ways to escape, hasn't executed anything though) Now I am thinking maybe 10 would be appropriate, but I want them to be as young as possible. What is the age that your child, or children you knew well began to problem solve and form opinions of their own (ie. this is not right, I hate this man, I want to get out)- not the very, very young child mentality where they need to be protected completely. What age do you think would be best for this? Or is there even such an age to do this, does it need to go into preteens?