How to prevent children from fleeing from home?

At the very beginning, we draw attention to the fact that there is a big difference between the thoughts about running away from home and putting it to work.

In adolescence, a new developmental period for a young man is characterized by a number of changes in the perception of one’s own body, mental functioning, the way of thinking, and the dominant choice of the model from the environment.

This implies a change in the focus of interest that is slowly focused on society, friends of teenagers.
Parents are the first to notice that their child is changing and it is a real challenge for many to set themselves up in a slightly different way in this new development phase.
It is precisely during this period, susceptible to both sides, that a home run can occur.

The main reason why adolescents decide on this step are family problems. Considering the changes that are happening naturally in them, an idealized picture of the escape and life appears in completely different circumstances. It is romanticized, and there is a thought in it: “No one will say to me what I should do!” This is not surprising, since young people of that age are fascinated by the idea of ​​independence, independence and power.
We will emphasize that within the family there are always ways to get to this teenager’s need.
Children who are thinking about getting away from home often do not know how to solve their problems, and there are no adults in that situation to help them, so their decision to leave home seems to be one of the only options.

What are the main reasons for running away from home?

– abuse (domestic violence),
– toxic divorce or separation of parents or the arrival of a new one
partner in the family,
– loss of a family member,
– the birth of a new family member,
– financial problems,
– abuse of alcohol and psychoactive substances,
– problems and pressures in school.

What’s important to know?

Running from home has different meanings for every adolescent. There is an option to try to avoid an embarrassment, criticism, or fear to openly tell parents what happened. Then we are talking about episodic running away from home.
When a child escapes from home after something happens, runaway is not used as a means of establishing power. She will try to avoid trying to say she is caught in rewriting or is, for example, a minor teenager in the problem because she can not tell her parents that she is pregnant.
On the other hand, we have a chronically running from home, which, unlike the above, aims to establish power by teenagers.
Threats to escape from home with parents arouse the greatest fears that this will really happen. Guided by this fear, parents are inclined to give in and allow some of their concessions to their children with whom they otherwise do not agree.
Often it is heard in such situations: “If I have to do it, I will run away from home!”
In this case, the children who threaten constant escape do not solve one problem. They flee because it’s the only way they can get in trouble. In this way, they completely avoid taking responsibility.

The point is that these children lack skills to solve the problem. Considering that the problem can come from several sides and that we do not need to use extremes to reach a solution.

How to prevent a run from home?

1. Support your child in thinking about a minimum of three options to approach a particular problem. Let him write them only on paper, and if he finds it difficult to list them himself, help him.

2. Talk to your child about his emotions. Let them know them individually, talk about them, learn that it is good to show them by using words.

3. Adolescents should find their own way of self-empowerment.

4. Every family should strive to create an atmosphere in which mutual acceptance and unconditional love prevail. You can not tell the child that you will love him more if he has all the petitions, or less if he does not meet your expectations.

Tips on how to set up when the quarrel escalates and the child escapes from home.

– To begin with, tell him to calm down, let him sit a little. Do not send him to your room, but let it calm down in the living room: “Let’s have a little time out, I’ll be back in five minutes.”
– When you return, it is more useful to ask: “What’s happening to you?”, “How do you feel?” Most children want to argue when they mention their emotions or negate them on the other hand – parents just shut it down. So instead of the sentence: “What made you so upset that?” Ask: “What’s happening? What happened to you that led you to think you were leaving?
– Be convincing in your story. The perfect question that you can ask is: “What is so bad that you can not handle it?” When you answer them, tell them: “You used to deal with these things before. It’s normal for your children’s age. Okay, you screwed up the thing, it’s not the end of the world. Look at the problem in the eye and continue with one more experience. ”

A special topic is how to get parents to the child who escaped and returned home. What should encourage parents and young people reading this text is to become aware that a home run solution is in developing skills to solve problems and identify triggers that lead to risky decisions.
Young people have to learn to deal with their own responsibilities now and here.

Author: Kristina Brajtigam
defectologist and psychotherapist
Beogradski centar za savetovanje i podršku “Psihocentar Ključ”