Updated on October 1, 2020
Help for Parents of Runaway Teens
Teens run away for many reasons, including hiding substance abuse from their parents, feelings of failure or inadequacy and to avoid tough problems. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, more than 2.4 million kids run away from home every year.
Parents should be able to determine how often their child runs away; whether it happens once in a while or if it happens consistently. Children who run away infrequently are considered as episodic runaways, who typically take off after something bad happens in order to avoid a bad situation or consequences.
Teenagers who are labeled as chronic runaways will runaway consistently in order to gain power or to avoid an issue or problem. Chronic runaways will use the threat and actuality of running away against their parents, in hopes that they could coerce something from them.
There is no one or two actions that definitely define a runaway child, but you can look for overly secretive behavior and the hoarding of money as possible signs that something is imminent. Anything can set off your child to run away, making it incredibly tough to keep an eye on.
To help make sure that your teen won’t run away, make sure to inform them of problem-solving techniques. Convey the message that a problem is something to be solved and praise your child should they overcome an issue. Praise your child as often as you can, to reinforce positive sentiments.
Parents can also help ensure that their child doesn’t run away by creating a healthy, loving environment at home. Unconditional love should always be offered from parents to their children, standing behind them in good times and in bad times. Your teen should be free to make mistakes, as long as they own up to them and remedy the solution as it merits.
The obvious way to prevent children running away is by simply checking in with your child, to see how everything is going. By staying on top of how your child has been doing, you can effectively gauge if they are even thinking about running away.