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Teen runaways are on the increase. Many teens think that the grass is greener on the other side.
They are confused and following a crowd of peers making poor choices. Teens want to escape the rules of their household and we as parents become their number one enemy. They feel that they are fearless and can prove they can survive without their parents and our rules. Rules are put in place for a reason; we love our children and want them to grow up with dignity and respect. Their flight plan, in some ways, is a cry for attention. Many times runaways are back home shortly; however, there are other situations that can be more serious. This is not to say that any child who runs away is not serious, but when this becomes a habit and is their way of rebelling, a parent needs to intervene.
So many times we hear how their friend’s parents allow a much later curfew or are more lenient and you are the worst parents in the world. This is very common and the parent feels helpless, hopeless, and alone. It is all part of the manipulation that teens put us through. With their unappreciative thoughts of us, they will turn to this destructive behavior which, at times, results in them leaving the home.
Some teens go to a friend or relative’s house whom they believe they can trust to tell fabricated stories about their home life. This is very common; a parent has to suffer the pain and humiliation that it causes compounded with the need to get their child the help that they need. If you fear your child is at risk of running, the lines of communication have to be open. We understand that this can be difficult; however, if possible, the situation needs to be approached in a positive manner. Teen help starts with communication.
If you feel this issue has escalated to where you cannot control them, it may be time for residential placement and possibly having your child escorted. Please know that the escorts (transports) are all licensed and very well trained in removing children from their home into safe programs. These escorts are also trained counselors that will talk to your child all the way and your child will end his/her trip not only with a new friend, but also a better understanding of why their parents had to resort to this measure.
Helpful Hint: if your child has run away and you are using all of your local resources, offer a cash reward to their friends privately (promising their anonymity, of course), and hopefully someone will know your child’s whereabouts.
Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your wits end. Try to remain positive and hopeful and do all you can to help understand why your child is acting out this way. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents.
There is also the National Runaway Safeline for youth, teens and parents for more information on runaways.
P.U.R.E.™ invites you to fill out a free consultation form for more information on finding the appropriate help for your teen.