Signs My Teen Might Be Thinking About Running Away From Home
You’ll be sorry when I run away!
What parent hasn’t heard those words or even said them when they were a teenager? While no one can say for certain which teens will run and which teens won’t, here are some signals for you to look for:
Changes in behaviors or patterns mean something is wrong.
Teens who suddenly stop eating or begin to overeat, sleep all day or never sleep, spend all their time with friends or never want to leave their room. Sudden mood swings mean teens are unsettled and restless. They’re not coping well with stress.
Rebellious behavior is often the start of trouble.
Dropping grades, truancy, breaking rules at home, picking fights with the family are all symptoms that your child is having problems.
Disclosure of intentions to run away.
Some teens will hint that they want to run away and some will outright threaten their family with running. Sometimes their family will hear rumors through friends, school, or other parents that their child is thinking of leaving home.
Accumulation of money and possessions.
To survive, runaways need money and resources. Some runaways prepare for their run by slowly withdrawing cash from their savings accounts. Keeping a bag or backpack of clothes in the closet might mean they are waiting to make a quick escape.
It is important to confront your suspicions right away.
Clearly and calmly let your teen know you are concerned about them and their behavior makes you afraid they might run away from home. Invite them to talk with you or someone else about what is troubling them and be supportive of finding positive ways of dealing with their stress. Let them know you don’t want them to run away and you’re committed to helping the family work things out. If your teen is intent on running away, give them the phone number of the National Runaway Switchboard so that they can find safe options while out on their own. Tell them they can also use the NRS to stay in touch with you even if they choose not to stay at home.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Runaway Switchboard.
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