There are a number of teens that are in desperate need of help; teens who are alone and don’t have anyone to turn to; teens who may not admit that they need help; teens that are runaways. An estimated 2.8 million runaway teens live on the streets of our country, many of them living hard lives full of violence, drugs, alcohol, and prostitution. Authorities estimate that 1 out of every 7 children will run away from home before they are 18. These are some pretty sad statistics, and they suggest that something needs to be done to help both troubled teens and their parents deal with the issues they face.
Reasons Teen Run Away
Many kids that run away do so because they lack a positive support system at home. Parents may be neglectful or preoccupied with work, relationships, or their own lives. Other kids run away because the rules are too strict at home. They may want their freedom and don’t feel they can get anywhere by staying at home with the rules, so they run away. Other teens run away to escape something bad that is happening in the home. It might be physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or fighting between parents, or an alcoholic parent that the child tries to run away from.
Still other kids run away from home because they are afraid of what their parents will do when they find out what the child has been up to. Teen pregnancy, failing grades, and substance abuse may be reasons for teens to run away. Teens that are addicted to drugs may leave home in search of more drugs and the freedom to do the drugs when and where they want.
Problems Runaways Face
Once a child leaves home, they become very vulnerable. Prostitution is a huge problem among homeless teens, often at the hands of predators. Hunger is a problem, as well as lack of shelter. These kids will usually turn to stealing things just to live. Drug abuse is also a common problem among runaway kids. Drugs are readily available on the streets, and many runaways are faced with the opportunity to do drugs, even if they have never used drugs before.
Many parents whose teen ran away from home were shocked to find their child gone. Looking back, there are often warning signs, and more parents should be aware of these. A poor relationship between parents and the teen is the first warning. Teens may also become withdrawn, out of control, extremely emotional, and they may be involved with drugs and alcohol, or with a bad group of friends.
Parents who are concerned that their child might run away should get help as soon as possible. Seeing a counselor is a good place to start. Get help fixing your relationship with your child, to keep them from feeling desperate, or acting in a desperate way.