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Runaways - Hints and tips about runaway children

Submitted by Richard

Little runaways, who tend to be newly independent infant and primary school-children, usually head for the fields behind the house or to a friend's house, and they generally make it home by suppertime or bedtime. In fact, you may miss what is a dramatic occasion for them, and think they're just visiting one of their friends.

An older runaway presents a more serious problem. You, the parents, may have little or no warning, especially if communication has become difficult during the turbulent teenage years. Watch for signs of discontent: loss of interest in schoolwork, withdrawal, depression and unexplained bursts of anger. And pay special attention to your teenager when there is a major change in the family: death, remarriage, impending divorce, discovery of sexual abuse or a move to another town. Runaways are often accompanied by a friend who has no serious intention of staying away but has gone along for the thrills.

How well do you know your teenager? Do you know her closest friend(s)? Are her friends welcome in the house? Do you spend time with your child, talking to her about issues that affect her- boyfriends, premarital sex, drugs, school? If you feel that there may be a problem communicating with your child, look for help before a crisis arises. Talk to someone you can trust (a family friend, counsellor, doctor or vicar, perhaps).

Nowadays, there are real dangers for children who run away. Report a missing child to the police as soon as you can, providing them with photographs and a description of what she is likely to be wearing. Ring her friends; ask them to tell her to call home if they know where she is.

A number of nationwide organisations maintain hot lines offering help; through them parents and children can exchange messages and arrange transport home. Among them are Childline and The Children's Society.

This tip has 6 comments shown below

I dont know what to do.
Comments by: RachelAnn from Naples, FL May 10, 2011
I want to run away back to my hometown. I moved in with my mom about a year ago when my dad became verbally and mentally abusive after his girlfriend left him. The courts said there was nothing illegal about what he was doing, so he is still seen as a fit father. I thought everything would be nicer at my moms, but I havent made any friends and my mom won't listen to my problems. I had to attempt suicide to get her attention. I'm on antidperessants now, but she thinks that was all I needed and she could go back to ignoring me now. I considered moving back in with my dad, but I went there for spring break (i didnt run away, my mom sent me for vacation) and it was the same as before with him. Getting to see al my old friends only made the want to stay with them worse. What should I do? I cant take living with either of my parents and they both say I cant live with any other relatives. Help me, please.

Comments by: Gabby from Wappingers Fall, NY USA Feb 17, 2011
I want to run. The thought pops up over and over.
My mother has mentally destroyed me, telling me to my face that she wished my cousin was her daughter instead of me and my alcoholic father left for a woman who encourages him to drink and she drinks along with him. What I find scary though, is when the thought of running comes in my mind, my heart starts racing, as if its telling me to run away, to just leave and forget everything and to start over somewhere far away.

Comments by: Marisol from USA Jul 07, 2010
I feel so alone, no body in my family understands me. When i try to talk to them it always ends in fights(not physical) especially my mother she even grounds me when i try to make her understand me. I sometimes think she has problems to.

If feel the same
Comments by: Rachel from Indanapolis Jun 24, 2009
i want to commit succide sometimes because of my mom and not
really my dad. i feel like i cant do anything right i mean whatever i do is wrong. i always get yelled at by my mom and she is always cussing at me it stinks. i dont know how to g et away i need tips please tell me i need to runaway i really do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TipKing says: Rachel you need to speak to someone face to face and tell them how you are feeling a teacher or doctor

Comments by: Jasmine from Maryland Mar 23, 2009
I wanna runaway. Me and my mom dont get along and lately I just havent felt happy. I get good grades but I have no interest in school. Im afraid to kill myself because I think it would hurt. no one has noticed how I feel because im always cracking jokes and smiling but I really feel hollow and lonely. I need help. I think if I runaway, I could probably try and get a parttime job(im really smart) and enroll in a highschool or if need be wait til im older and get a GED. any advice??

TipKing says: Jasmine you really need to talk to someone face to face and tell them how you are feeling. How about a teacher or a friend of the family.

What else to look for
Comments by: MW May 02, 2008
Those are good things to look for. But another things to look for is when a teen is saying they want to runaway they can seriously mean it. if they stop talking to people, listening to music about depression, or they are constantly showing signs of feeling broken. Or if they had a big fight with you, but take a really close look at your kids, when they are feeling this way they're sending signals to say 'i need out' or 'this has got to change' or 'im torn' just about anything but before they actually take action they can be makeing signs or screaming out to you, just listen.

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