Every now and then we hear shocking and alarming news regarding teenage runaway. During the growing age, your teen gets involved with drugs, smoking, crimes, premarital sex and they think of running away. There are lots of reasons for which your teen feels disturbed and enter into the state of a mental asylum.
Did you notice any alarming signs in your teen that indicated that he might run away? Are you worried about your teen’s behavior? Is your teen acting irritable, arrogant and fussy? If you nodded yes, you need to go through the following post. In the article, we talk about few of such reasons that impose a mental burden on your teens, and they runaway from homes!
Why Do Teens Runaway?
Most of the teen’s runaway because of drug and alcohol abuse. During the growing age, they often get involved in substance abuse and try to hide the issues from the parents. They feel that running away is the only solution not to face the embarrassment. In addition to that, fear, failure or anger is another reason that makes teens running away from home. Some children find it difficult to adjust to their family members or critical home situation and thing to escape out. (1)
Episodic vs. Chronic Teenage Runaway:
- Episodic Running Away- When your child runs away for short episodes and returns after the small time interval the situation is referred as episodic running away. Your teen is not using his problem-solving strategy and faces difficulty in dealing with tough life events. Your teen tries to avoid some consequence, humiliation or embarrassment and is afraid of parents’ disapproval. In such circumstances, the only solution he can find is to flee way
- Chronic Running Away- Teens who consistently fled away from the home wants to gain superiority or attention of the family members. It is a chronic problem that makes him perform such action. These teens also threaten their family members by saying, “If you make me do that, I’ll run away.”
[ Read: Why Teens Drop Out School? ]
Signs To Indicate Your Teen Might Runaway:
Runaway teens belong to all backgrounds including urban and rural settings. It is important for the parents to recognize the warning signs that indicate about your teen might run away. If the warning signs get recognized in mean time, you may able to prevent your teen from fleeing away.
Here are some of the behavioral changes that you should keep a note of:
- You notice an abrupt change in your teen’s mood or behavior. He may look depressed, act irritable, anxious and isolates him from his close family members and friends.
- Your teen turns rebellious or reckless in his behavior and tries to break the house rules. Some of the rules he eventually starts to break are lying, stealing, drinking, smoking, fighting, using abusive words and coming home late more often.
- Your teen threatens you more often to fulfill his demands or else he would run away.
- Your teen spends an excess of his time in isolation and avoids all the basic responsibilities of life.
- Your teen receives expensive gifts or money from outsiders, and you do not have the clue about those things. It may occur when he gets involved in drug racket or illegal smuggling business.
- Your teen gets into a new relationship with an outsider and behaves a bit different. Some of the noticeable changes in his behavior include increased rebelliousness, argumentative, and dismissive.
- Your teenager girl becomes sexually active and is at risk of becoming pregnant. During such phase, she tries to ignore you and spend her time with her male friends. If she conceives during the period, she often thinks of running away.
- Your teen faces problems in school like lack of concentration, skipping classes and remaining inattentive.
- You may notice few academic drawbacks in your teen’s performance like a sudden drop in grades, lack of interest in schoolwork or being suspended or facing an expulsion.
- You notice some of the alarming signs of self-harming behavior such as using sharp objects or keeping a knife in his pocket.
- Your teen begins to save his money and keeps his belongings in a bag or backpack. (2)
[ Read: How To Help Troubled Teens ]
Reasons For Teens To Runaway:
Problem with family:
- Most of the teens run away when they go through problems with their families.
- Due to some terrible argument, they start disliking their family members and think to flee away.
- Some even decide to leave the house without fighting with the parents. They do not have the courage to face the elders or admit their fault in front of them.
Abuse (violence in the family):
- Child abuse is one of the growing problems in modern generation family.
- Due to terrible fight or violence within the family, the teen feels irritated and disturbed with the whole situation.
- The peaceful environment of the family gets lost and every time the situation seems worse. In such scenario, the mentally-disturbed teen decides to run away and live in a peaceful environment.
Death in the family:
- When you teen remain close to any of his family members like mother, father or grandparent, a sudden demise appears like a nightmare.
- The teen feels hard to accept the bitter truth and cannot handle the grief.
- The loss of the close family member makes his feel alone in the world, and he decides to run away from his home.
Family financial worries:
- There are certain times when the family goes through financial distress. It can happen due to numerous reasons including sudden unemployment, huge loss in business, family member suffering from chronic illness or many such things.
- The financial instability reflects on the lifestyle of your teen, as he cannot afford all the luxuries or buy expensive things. During such time, your teen feels extremely depressed, panic-stricken and feels to run away.
Problems at school:
- The normal day to day problems to occur in schools are remaining inattentive in class, quarreling with other friends, bad performance in exams and lots of other things.
- Unresolved harassment or bullying at school makes him enter into a state of mental depression, and he feels to escape out from the complete situation.
- Excessive pressure to do well at school academically from parent side makes a teen panic-stricken, and he feels the need to escape.
- Such school problems make your teen feel stressed out and to run away from such hectic lifestyle.
[ Read: Ways To Prevent Teen Drug Abuse ]
Difficulties in Adolescence:
- Teens go through a difficult time when they cannot express their emotions or sentiments to others, even the parents.
- It makes them feel useless, and they start thinking that their life is shit.
- Adolescents who run away from home usually feel to escape out from a troublesome situation that they cannot face. Such events can include parental separation, sexual orientation, financial crisis, bullying in school and other traumatic events.
- They want to escape out from the difficult circumstances and find new happiness.
Drinking alcohol or taking drugs:
- Drug addiction is one of the major causes to hamper the mental state of your growing kid.
- Higher addiction to drugs leads to impulsivity and poor judgment skills in your teens.
- As he becomes greatly addicted to harmful drugs like cocaine, heroin or brown sugar, he thinks of escaping away and lives in isolation.
- Feelings of shame or guilt due to drug addiction or smoking make them feel depressed, and they have no other choice than to run away.
Parents separating or divorcing:
- Separation of parents throws a negative impression on your teen’s mind. He feels left out of the family circle and loses bonding with his dear parents.
- The arrival of the stepparent makes the teen feel mentally depressed and alone. He realizes that his mother or father are not caring or loving towards him anymore. All such negative emotions make him run away from his family and home.
- Peer pressure can also play a part in your teen’s running away. When your teen commits mistakes or fearful things, his instinct forces or encourages him to flee away from the near and dear ones.
- As you teen lacks in effective problem-solving skills, the only perfect solution that comes to his mind at the difficult time is running away. Instead of dealing with the situations courageously, running away appears a lot easier to your kid.
- Some of the runaway teenagers fear to face their personal issues like pregnancy, pursue life as a bisexual, gay or lesbian.
- Most of the transgender teens have issues with their sexual orientation, and they hesitate to communicate with their family members. These conditions leave them with only one option that is running away.
- Approximately 75 percent of the runaway population is teenage girls, who become pregnant at a young age.
- Teenagers suffering from mental illnesses like severe depression or anxiety issues have poor decision-making ability. They become unable to handle difficult life situations and easily give up.
- Since the depressed teen cannot understand his emotions or thoughts running trough him, he decides to run away. A false realization comes to his mind that running away is the only solution to get rid of all family or social issues.
- Another mental disorder that some of the teens come across is an oppositional defiant disorder. They face a difficult time obeying authority and reacts aggressively to his elders or teachers.
- Their actions appear harsh and impulsive, and they don’t want to follow anyone’s rules besides their own. (3) These are some of the reasons why teenagers run away from home.
Tips For Parents To Deal With A Runaway Situation:
If you suspect that your teen has fled away, follow the effective tips:
- Visit all the local places and hangout points to check if he is there or not.
- Call all his closest friends and ask about the last time they met him.
- Check his rooms and belongings carefully to find some clues, like hotel booking bills or railway or air tickets.
- Call the police station to reporting a missing diary.
- Acquire caller ID in case your teenager calls you can detect his location easily. (4)
[ Read: Teenage Depression ]
Things To Remember, When Your Teen Comes Home:
Here are the effective measures that you need to take when your runaway teenager returns to home:
- Take a break from each other- Do not start communication with each other directly, but take a small break. Your emotions are too high at the particular moment, and you can outburst in front of your child. It is better to allow your teen settle down and have a peaceful conversation in a day or two.
- Ask and listen- Ask your teen calmly about the reasons for which he fled away from home. Never try to act rude or scold him unnecessarily, as it impacts negatively on your teen’s mind. It is better to handle the complete situation in a calm and positive manner.
- Talk- Effective communication is the only step that helps to establish a stronger bonding between the tee and his parents. Let him know how worried you were, as he left the home and fled away. Make your teen realize that he is important to you, and you cannot think of your life without your adorable teen. Ask him to discuss the issues openly, so that both the parents can help him deal with the stressful situation.
- Get some help- If your teen feels uncomfortable to communicate with you or your partner, it is better to involve a third person in communication. The third person could be his favorite persons like grandparent, uncle or aunt. Your teen easily discloses his personal issues with the close family member, who can advise him to take a better decision.
Preventing Teens From Running Away:
Here are few tips that help you to deal with your troubled teenagers and prevent them from running away:
Handle the situations in a calm manner:
- Always approach the whole situation in a calm and composed manner and try to understand your teen’s viewpoint.
- Always speak right things and think before uttering your words.
- Your communication skill helps to understand your teen’s mental status and take requisite measures to make him think positive about life.
Do not scream unnecessarily:
- Do not scream or yell unnecessary, as it can make the situation worse and your teen can even think of committing suicide.
- Threatening your adolescent can in no way help in controlling the complete situation.
- It is better to stay calm and make your kid understand your feelings and emotions.
Give A Warning Sign:
- After having the complete conversation, give a warning to your teen by saying, “If you run away I can do nothing, but it will hamper your entire future life. If anything happens, I will not be able to protect you or solve your problems. So, it’s better you not run away and put your life at risk.”
Have Regular Conversation:
- Always have a regular day to day chats with your teenager, to judge his behavior and check if he feels disturbed or not.
- If you notice that your teen behaves a bit different than the normal day, try to have a detailed conversation in a day or two.
- Listen to his complete problem and try to offer a helpful solution. In such way, you are constantly giving him interest and affection.
Take A Break:
- If your viewpoint does not match with your teenager’s thinking, never end up with an argument.
- Try to listen to his viewpoint, because there are times when he might talk justifying things.
- If you observe that the things are getting out of control, take a break and then have the conversation after a few hours.
Take your teen to an experienced counselor:
- If your teen feels to run away more often, take him to a professional counselor. The counseling sessions help to soothe his mindset and make him positive about life.
Speak about your past life:
- If your teen faces serious problems in his life like drug addiction or financial issues, try to have a conversation and speak about your young age.
- Explain your kid that you have faced a similar crisis in your past life and you have dealt with those situations.
- Listening to your past story your kid gets motivated and tries to cope up with the difficult times courageously.
Teach problem-solving skill:
- Teach you teens about “problem solving” skills and ask them to imply them into their real life.
- They need to find different ways to handle different situations in their life. But they should never give up their hope and start thinking negative things. Instead, they should remain active to deal with every difficult phase of their life.
[ Read: Problem Solving Skills For Teens ]
Never interrupt their conversation:
- Never interrupt your teen when he comes to have an open conversation or friendly talk with you. Sometimes it is more effective just to listen to them.
- Pay some respect to your teen’s viewpoint also and keep the communication open by listening to what he has to say.
- Express your love and affection towards your growing teen, as it helps to strengthen the family bonding.
- Explain how much you love him and that you cannot spend the life without him.
Never start conversation with negative comments:
- Always have a positive talk with your teens. Never start you communication with a negative sentence like, “Why are you so upset?” or “Why do you roam here and there every day?”
- Instead try to remain polite and ask simple questions like, “How was your day” or “Hey, what’s going on?”
Explain situations calmly:
- Whenever your teens threaten you about running away, respond to him by saying, “Running away is not a solution to your problem.”
- Encourage him to solve her problems courageously and if required you are always there to offer mental support.
- Do not enter into the state of mental depression or panic mode that your teen will run away and never come back to you and your family.
- Most of the runaway teens return to their home very soon. They miss the homely environment, loving parents, friends and family members.
- All the factors influence the teen’s mindset to return to home as soon as possible. More than two-thirds of homeless teens resolve their family differences and go home.
Take hold of family disputes:
- More important of all, if the teen gets upset due to family issues like parents getting divorce, arrival of step parent or fight of a parent, try to take hold of the situations.
- Family problems impose negative influence on your teen’s mind and make him run away.
Boost your teen’s morale:
- The most important thing you can teach your teen is the problem-solving skills. Talk about different difficult situations and ask them, “How will you handle the problem?” or “What strategies will you adopt to come out of the situation?”
- Encourage your kid to approach every problematic situation in a positive manner and reward your teen if he successfully handles it.
- Boost your teen’s confidence level by saying “I am proud of you.”You teen feels appreciated and humble with your positive gestures and feels confident.
Create an Atmosphere of Acceptance:
- Your homely environment must have the essence of acceptance and forgiveness. You cannot remain excess rude or arrogant to your growing teen.
- When you’re teen commits some mistakes or performs badly in his exams, try to encourage and accept his performance. If you scold him or make him feel guilty, he may often think of running away.
- It is important for the parents to create a homely and loving atmosphere in their house, rather than compelling their kids for their tasks or educational performance.
Use Persuasive Language:
- It is always preferable to use persuasive language when facing your teen. The talking approach helps to persuade your depressed child and makes him feel positive.
By following the above precautionary measures, you can safeguard your teen from running away and make him feel confident about life. There are many circumstances when your teen may feel worried and threaten, but motivate him to accept the bitter truth and not t commit the same mistake in future life. Proper guidance and regular appreciation make your teen feel positive.
Did your teen ever run away from home? How did you handle the difficult situation? Share your complete story about your teen’s runaway with other parents here!
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