RUNAWAY TEENS—ARE THEY RUNNING AWAY FROM SOMETHING OR TO SOMETHING?
When dealing with the teen who is running away, have you ever wondered what they are running from, or to what they are running? Do we take the time to ask them why they run? Are they rebelling at the structure provided at home, or are they seeking freedom and feel that it can only come from outside the home? Today’s parents are struggling to raise their child in a society that promotes an attitude of “independence” at a young age. Many parents will allow their fifteen-year -old son or daughter to make some serious mistakes in their life simply because they feel that they should be able to make choices for themselves, learn from their mistakes, and deal with the consequences. Consequently, many teens find themselves in much despair because of being given too much liberty at an age that finds them unprepared. However, it may sound glamorous to those teens whose parents are still feeling responsible to give guidance, boundaries, and accountability and require their teen to abide by the family rules. Thus, the battle between parents and teens having conflicting ideas about age-appropriate privileges allowed in the home. This is when many teens will look for an escape and form a plan to run away……from things in the home that they do not like, rules, accountability, etc., and to a fantasy world where they feel they can be independent or, at least, able to do some of the things that not allowed by their own parents.
Educating your child about why you have boundaries and clearly defining the expectations can be very helpful in minimizing your child’s runaway adventures. Understanding what your child is running to can be very beneficial in solving the conflicts that may precipitate a flight from the home.
Wolf Creek Academy does address many behavioral issues with our teens, including running away, and has been very successful in helping those teens to become reengaged with their families. They will soon return home with a new hope to be part of the family that they love and will have a new respect for the family values.
Dr. Patricia Jones, PhD
Wolf Creek Academy