January 23, 2009

Running away from home

Many kids run away from home. Some of them use divorce as an excuse. They very is ages and financial back ground. Either way, they leave their parents at home to worry about their safe return. I had this happen to me with my oldest. He had gotten in with the wrong crowd at school and started making stupid mistakes. All of which affected the whole family (his brother and I). There is nothing like the worry of a parent. Kids don't realize what they put everyone thru because they are self absorbed. The problem with kids that go out on their own is that they feel that youthful invincibility. In other words, teenage runaways do not often realize what sort of dangers they may be susceptible to. If you are a parent who has a teen that has run away, there are some steps you can take to help bring them back and find some resolution:

1. The first thing to do is to call 911 as soon as you discover your teenager is missing. Many people believe there is a 24-48 hour waiting period before you can file a missing persons report. However, this is most definitely not the case, especially when it comes to minors.

2. When calling, be prepared to report your teens name, date of birth, height, weight, identifying features such as glasses, braces, piercings, etc., and the clothes you last saw him or her wearing.

3. If you feel your teen is about to runaway, or has recently returned from a few days away, consider suggesting counseling or a family meeting on his or her terms. Your teenager may simply need someone to listen and understand his or her thoughts and feelings.

Remember when you were a kid? I thought, not only could I conquer the world, but that my parents were stupid and didn't understand. I have always tried to keep an open relationship with my boys. I wanted them to be able to tell me anything. The trick to that is, you cant react when they do. I mean, get upset. I had a hard time with this. My son would filter what he told me so I only got a dim picture of the true situation. It wasn't until I got on his Myspace and realized what was going on. Then, I checked out his girlfriend and all of his friends. Its amazing how much I learned. The bad thing is, if they have it in their mind that they are going to do something, chances are they probably will. Your best plan of action is the way you handle it. Its funny, even when my son ran away, he still called to tell me where he was. The drugs and alcohol distorted his way of thinking but not to the extent that he didn't want to worry me. That's when I knew there was hope. Listen to your child and be aware of their actions. The teenage years are hard. The good thing is, the majority of us make it thru with only minor scar's. Don't wait to do something. If you feel your child has run away, act on it. I would rather overreact than have something happen to my child.

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