Ask any parent and they will tell you that raising kids is not an easy task. Raising children is both challenging and rewarding. There can be a lot of good days, and a lot of bad days as well. Arguably one of the worst kinds of days would be when a child decides to run away from home.
No parent ever wants to discover that their child ran away from home because they were unhappy. Unfortunately for parents, almost all teens consider running away at some point. This statistic does mean that if a child runs away, they aren’t a bad kid, they just made a bad decision. Luckily, not every teen goes through with the act.
Why Teens Run Away
Teens can runaway for all sorts of reasons including:
- They got involved with drugs.
- They made a bad choice and are afraid of the consequences.
- They started hanging out with a bad crowd.
- They want to gain some control over their life.
Often times when teens consider running away, they glamorize it. They view the act as a way to solve all of their problems and make their life better than what it would be if they stayed at home. They rarely ever consider the consequences of the act, and so are often in for a rude awakening.
What to do if a Minor Runs Away
When a parent discovers that a child has run away, they need to stay as calm as possible. It can be hard to do, but this will help the parent moving forward. Despite the prevalent rumor that a person needs to wait at least 24 hours before reporting that a child is missing, a parent is supposed to call right away.
The rule about waiting for a set amount of time is mostly for capable adults. When it comes to teens, and dependent adults, police urge parents and guardians to contact them right away. When a parent talks to a police officer, they should take down their name and badge number. Check back often for any updates.
After doing that, a parent should contact anyone and everyone they, or their child, know who might have information on the teen’s whereabouts. A parent should keep their cellphone on them at all times in case their child calls.
Lastly, search the teen’s room for clues and check their cellphone bill to see who they’ve been calling recently. Try contacting those people for information. Also look into location tracking on the teen’s phone.
Once They’ve Come Home
When a child disappears on a parent, it can be a very stressful and terrifying time. Naturally, when they get back emotions will be at an all-time high. Parents will feel a bizarre mix of relief and frustration. In this situation, the last thing a parent wants to do is yell at their child.
It is recommended that the situation not be addressed until both parties have had time to calm down from the incident. Once everyone has calmed down, then a parent can ask why their child ran away, then they have to sit and listen to their child. Don’t interrupt him or her. A parent should let their child say what they need to say.
Once the child has said their peace, the parent can tell their side of the story. They should let their child know how they felt when they realized the child left. Remind the child that they are loved, and that they can always talk to their parents.
If the running away, or even communicating, becomes a regular problem, then ask for help. The help can come from another adult that the child respects, or from a professional.
Call the Police Right Away
The last thing a parent ever wants to experience is their child running away from home. It can be truly terrifying to not know where a child is. Pretty much everyone can understand that.
This is why law enforcement agencies jump into action when they learn that a child has run away from home. They know that every second counts, and so they encourage anyone who thinks their child has run away should contact them right away. They never consider it a waste of resources to look for a missing child.