In our modern culture running away from home is somewhat romanticized by the media, especially movies, and some books. Unfortunately, the reality might not be as exciting and romantic. A great percent of cases with kids who run away from home end up with a tragedy. But despite the age and social status, most cases of leaving home are signs of screaming for help. What should you do to prevent your child from running away and how to behave when it happens in your family? Here are several tips for parents.
What does statistic say?
The numbers show that about 1.5 million kids run away from home every year. Most of the time these are teenagers, but often kids. They begin with threatening their parents and even try running from home as early as reaching their school age. And it is essential for parents to learn how to deal with such situations, even if there are no signs of such a problem in their family.
Discuss the issue with your kid
After you hear any threat from your child concerning leaving home allocate more time to sit and talk. Facing conflicts with their parents’ kids always look for any solutions that would help them get the most of the situation. When children tell parents they could run away they often try to attract their attention. So, the foremost step is to discuss what feelings or troubles are prompting the threat.
Let your child know you love him or her no matter all the quarrels you might have. Explain why you don’t want a child to run away and endanger oneself. In case your kid has any troubles talking to you, suggest speaking to someone else to find out what worries your kid. Take a professional help of a family psychiatrist to manage the issue.
Check whether a threat is real
Sometimes children would threaten parents to run away to make things go their way. It is often the case with teenagers, and a good check will help you to figure out what actually happens.
Patiently and firmly explain to your kid that he belongs to his parents’ home until he is an adult, and the outside world is as dangerous for a young child as it is exciting and colorful. Explain why he needs the care and support of his family, and be sure to let him know you are doing the best for him, even if he or she doesn’t accept it.
What to do when a kid runs from home?
In case your child has run away you should overcome the initial panic and call the police to file a missing person’s report. After that contact your kid’s friends and their families for any clues about where your kid could go. In more than 50% of cases with children running from home at least one of his friends would know where a child went. In fact, most of the time runaways would go to their friends to stay at their house.
What to do when he is back home?
When you finally know where your kid is and you bring him home, it is important to talk about his behavior and ensure he would not run away again. When feeling like you want to punish and to give him a hug opt for the latter. Give him some time to settle in and get medical attention if it is needed. Call people you contacted while searching to let them know your kid is back home, and make sure you call the police for the same reason.
Running away from home is the sign your kid is troubled by something. Punishing him in any way might seem like a fair thing to do, but it will not do any good for your parent-child relationships. A frank talk about the problem and getting to an agreement would be a safer way to overcome childhood crisis and prevent potential troubles in future.
Be open but firm and at all times make sure you are there for your kid. He or she would appreciate it years later.