What is a runaway teen A Growing Concern

A runaway teen leaves home without asking. They stay away for one night or more. Runaway teens are from all kinds of families and places. They are not bad kids. But they may have a problem or feel stressed at home. In this article, we will discuss what is runaway teens, their motivations, and the impact of running away.

Why do teens run away?

Teens may run away for many reasons, such as:

  • They do not like the rules or expectations at home
  • Alternatively, they have trouble with their parent’s divorce, death, or remarriage
  • Moreover, they are hurt or ignored at home
  • Therefore, they feel sad, scared, or suicidal
  • Additionally, they have problems with friends or bullies at school or online
  • Similarly, they do poorly in school or drop out of school
  • Also, they use drugs, alcohol, or other things
  • For instance, they are pregnant or have a baby
  • However, they want to be free, independent, or have fun

What are the risks of running away?

Running away can be dangerous and hard for teens, such as:

  • They may have no place to live, no food to eat, no doctor to see, or no money to spend
  • As a result, they may be used, hurt, or killed by strangers or people they know
  • Furthermore, they may do illegal things or join gangs
  • Consequently, they may get in trouble with the law
  • In addition, they may lose touch with their family, friends, or helpers
  • Finally, they may feel bad about themselves or their choices

How can parents prevent teens from running away?

Parents can help stop teens from running away by:

  • Being kind and respectful to their teen
  • Talking and listening to their teen’s feelings and needs
  • Helping and supporting their teen’s problems and goals
  • Teaching their teen how to solve problems and cope with stress
  • Making fair and clear rules and limits for their teen’s behavior
  • Being flexible and willing to change some things
  • Getting professional help if needed for their teen’s mental health, substance use, or other issues

How can parents deal with a runaway teen?

If a teen runs away from home, parents should:

  • Stay calm and avoid blaming themselves or their teen
  • Call the police and report their teen missing as soon as possible
  • Give the police information such as their teen’s name, age, look, photo, phone number, social media accounts, friends’ names and addresses, etc.
  • Call their teen’s school, friends, relatives, or other people who may know where their teen is or how to help them
  • Try to contact their teen by phone, text, email, or social media and tell them they care and love them
  • Be ready to welcome their teen back home without anger or punishment
  • Work with their teen to fix the issues that made them run away
  • Get family counseling or mediation if needed to improve communication and trust

What are the services and shelters for runaway teens?

Runaway teens who need a safe place to stay can get help from services and shelters that offer:

  • A place to live, food, and clothes for a short time
  • Counseling and help for teens and their families
  • Information about other resources such as school, health care, legal aid or work
  • Help with finding a safer and better place to live if needed
  • Some examples of services and shelters for runaway teens are:
    • National Runaway Safeline: A hotline that is open 24/7. It gives private help and information to runaway teens and their families. Call 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or go to https://www.1800runaway.org/
    • National Safe Place: A group of places such as schools, libraries, fire stations, or businesses that have the Safe Place sign. Runaway teens can ask for help there. Call 1-888-290-7233 (SAFE) or go to https://www.nationalsafeplace.org/
    • Covenant House: A group that has shelters and programs for homeless and runaway youth in many cities in North America. Call 1-800-999-9999 (NINELINE) or go to https://www.covenanthouse.org/
    • Youth Services Network: A list of local groups that give services to runaway and homeless youth in different states. Go to https://www.ysn.net/

In conclusion

Runaway teens are a growing concern that affects many families and communities. Runaway teens may have various reasons for leaving home, but they face many risks and challenges on the streets. Parents can prevent and deal with runaway situations by building positive relationships with their teens and seeking help from professionals and services. Runaway teens can also find support and safety from shelters and programs that offer temporary housing, counseling, and referrals. By working together, we can help runaway teens overcome their problems and reunite with their families.

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