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When your teenager runs away

When your teenager runs away

Getting rid of your parents’ house as a teenager is a matter of legend. Think about this. Almost every movie, book and TV show for teenagers has an epic scene in which children run away from home.

Many parents even have their (often pleasant) teenage memories of standing on the doorstep or slipping on the trellis long after the weather. But while slipping can be a very powerful American meme, that doesn’t mean you want your child to do it.

Why teenagers sneak in

At one time or another, most teenagers are tempted to sneak in with their friends. Whether they intend to get together for harmless fun (such as simply enjoying the thrill of spending time when they should be at home) or engaging in more dangerous activities (such as drugs, alcohol , sex Yes lead ), sneaking around is not safe, a violation of parental trust and, in general, a recipe for trouble.

Most of the time, when children run away, there will be no terrible consequences, but sometimes they will.

What the father of a teenager It is your job to protect your child from dangerous things, unhealthy temptations and risky decisions. You can’t always prevent this from happening, but you can preventively discuss this behavior with your child, explain why they shouldn’t do it, and explain the consequences otherwise.

If you find that your teen is running away (or re-entering), apply consequences that will prevent you from doing so again. Instead of getting upset (too much), focus on helping them learn from their mistake, talk about why they did it, and take steps to prevent it from happening again.

Prevent the teenager from running away

There are several things you can do to reduce the chances of your child going out the window or front door in the middle of the night. Make it clear to your child that sneaking is not just a harmless prank, but can cause serious problems. Explain the consequences that will apply if your teen runs away.

In any case, recognize temptation . Say something like, “Your friends can invite you to meet in the middle of the night and they know it sounds fun. But it is a bad choice. » Here are some ways to reduce the likelihood of your teen running away: .

  • Determine the attraction to escape . Have a sincere and authentic conversation with your teen about the reason for the escape. It’s important to really listen without interruption and listen to your side of things. If you can listen to them, you may be able to help them meet their needs in a healthier and more efficient way.
  • Connect in a meaningful way . Many teens who engage in negative behaviors, such as sneaking in, do so because being with their friends is more interesting than being at home. They do not experience meaningful connections with their own family and look for experiences elsewhere. Instead, have fun with your teen and connect in the way that interests you the most. .
  • Discuss the risks involved in running away . Teenagers tend to think they are invincible. Highlight specific security issues in your neighborhood. Share crime statistics and talk about bad things that could happen in the middle of the night or at any time of the day. For example, motor vehicle deaths and other accidents are the leading cause of death among adolescents.
  • Do not let the teenager sleep with electronic gadgets . At bedtime, the place smartphone , laptop and other electronic devices of It is Teenager in a safe place outside the room. If your teen can’t receive a message from friends in the middle of the night, they will be much less likely to be tempted to sneak in.
  • Emphasize that your role is to keep your child safe . Executive functioning in the human brain, which regulates our ability to make good decisions, did not fully develop until the mid-1920s. Make it clear to your child that your rules are meant to help him make good decisions in the meantime. (If you’re skeptical, you might read the 2015 bestseller «Teen Brain»).
  • Talk about peer pressure . Whether your friends want you to go to a party or just insist on going to a «party» at dawn, give your teen the tools he or she needs to cope. peer pressure . However, don’t blame your friends – a midnight meeting could also be your child’s idea.

One of the simplest but most effective ways to prevent your child from running away is to talk to them in advance about the dangers.

The consequences of escape

If you catch your teen slipping once, continue with consequences that will help him think twice before sneaking in again. Possible negative consequences may include:

  • Additional responsibilities, such as additional tasks to your teen’s to-do list.
  • Pushing the teenager of social activities in a certain period of time.
  • Restricting the teen’s privileges, such as removing electronic devices or accessing the family car.

Make sure the timing of the consequences is clear. For example, remove privileges for 2 weeks or until your teen fulfills additional responsibilities. Avoid vague end dates, such as «until I can trust you again.»

Indicate clearly that to lie And sneaking breaks your trust And, as a result, you will be less likely to give them permission to do activities in the future if you can’t trust them to tell the truth and be where they say they are.

Create a contract

A clear behavioral contract can reduce your child’s temptation to run away. Involve your teenager in setting the terms of the contract. Include the following information:

  • Mobile phone expectations : For example, you could ask your child to always answer your calls and messages. Establish consequences (such as loss of telephone privileges) for not answering. Or you can allow your child to share your location electronically with you so you can always keep track of where they are.
  • Leadership privileges – If your child drives (or travels with friends who drive), use the car according to the rules of the contract.
  • Do what emphasis on safety – Make sure your child knows that your goal is to keep him safe, not to eliminate the fun or time spent with friends. Give them many ways to socialize with proper supervision. Emphasize that if they show responsibility, they can gain more independence and privacy. Reinforce the message that good behavior will be rewarded .
  • The hours you expect your teen to be home : set a touch from remain for school and non-school days. Also, include rules to keep you informed of where they are and who they are not at home with.
  • Negative consequences of breach of contract If the teenager lacks control, runs away in the middle of the night, or breaks another part of the contract, describe the consequences you can expect.
  • The positive consequences of complying with the contract – If you caught your teenager sneaking in once, it makes sense to create a tight one earlier for a while. If your teen can fulfill the contract for a certain period of time, maybe a month, agree to go down for 30 minutes later.

Invite your child to receive feedback on the contractual rules. Be willing to listen to your teenager’s opinions. Talk about their concerns and give them the opportunity to ask questions and come up with ideas that everyone can agree on. Insist on participating Respectfully . Get your teen’s signature on the contract to make sure they understand the parameters.

Locks, barriers and alarms

If your teen runs away from home after a contract has been established, it is may be necessary more serious steps to keep you safe, possibly including the following:

  • Get an alarm for your teen’s room . You can buy an alarm that will sound when your teen leaves the room at night.
  • Bells are ringing at the door . If you are a light bedroom, an alternative to the alarm is to hang a bell on the door, which cannot be easily removed. You can also keep the bedroom door open so that you are more likely to hear it if you get up at night.
  • Secure the windows . If your teen comes out of the window, set a window alarm. Although it can be tempting to close the window closed, it does not. This could prevent the teen from escaping in the event of a fire.

A word from Verywell

The thrill of sneaking has an easy-to-understand appeal for teenagers, so they need your help to resist. Research tells us that the adolescent’s brain (and its immature frontal cortex) is especially prone to impulsive and reckless decisions. Honor this truth by providing the support and guidance your child needs to stay safe.