Dealing with Teen Runaways

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

Teenage is the age in which youngsters have to encounter numerous problems, both with themselves and with life. Difficult situations at home or school could bring about the idea of running away to escape.

Why teens run away?

There are numerous reasons leading teens to a runaway.

From teens themselves

−Excessive interests (cyber love, video games, drugs)
−A will to disobey
−Parent’s detention at home
−Boyfriend’s flee away plan

From family and residential area

−Parents’ conflicts or divorce
−Lack of compassion between family members
Family abuse
−Financial difficulty
−Bad neighborhood

Signs that teens may run away

−Unusual changes in mood
−Have notable changes in appearance (weight loss or poor personal hygiene)
−Lack of self-esteem
−Fall into depressive or isolated modes
−Keep anti-human interactions
−Have sudden bad results in school performance or often play truant
−Have suicidal thoughts
−Tell lies and steal things
−Use drug or alcohol
−Store dangerous weapons

How to prevent teen runaways?

Work on the parental relationship. Do not let this relationship turn negative or too tense. If there are arguments, try to console them after they are over. Make your child believe that no matter what, you still love them unconditionally.

If they come to you sharing their problems, be their good listener. Listen to their thoughts, feelings, and emotion, plus, show your empathy.

Be your teen’s friend. Ask them about their day, discuss intimate issues or share secrets with them. By this, you can know if there is anything wrong happening to your teen and identify the risk to eliminate it beforehand.

Be your teen’s guiding star. Teach them life skills (problem-solving or responsibility skills). The most important thing is that they should face the problem; an escape can not solve anything.

Do not take away their freedom. Give your teen room to breathe. They also need to have their own space and right to discover the world. Micromanagement puts a big strain and pressure on your child.

Never dare your child to make a runaway. At this age, any negative triggers or words can lead to complicated situations.

How to react after a runaway?

In spite of your effort, your teen may end up with a runaway. However, a runaway is nothing when your child has finally come back. Now, it’s your respond that matters.

Do not scold or hit them. This action will hurt not only their physical but their mental or emotional wellness.

Let them know that you have been really worried about them.

Encourage them to talk about what’s happened and why they decided to run away. It’s important to work on the reason behind for future reference. Try to be patient, use a calm tone of voice with persuasive and mature language.

Do go ask too much about the runaway if they refuse to share. In this case, a person whom you and your teen both trust and respect may help.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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