Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Teenage Runaways -- Someone Safe To Talk To

I'm sure I am going to take heat for this one but I really don't care.

Kids run away. Every day. Most of the families I have talked to over the years had kids that were missing because they ran away. Kids have problems. Sometimes HUGE ones. Sometimes little ones. What may seem insignificant or minor to us as adults may be seen by a teenager as life ending or insurmountable. Their parents "don't understand". And honestly? we often don't. Not from a 15 year old perspective. As hard as we try, we don't really remember all of the disaster that we and/or other teenagers felt when we were teenagers.

Please make sure that your teenagers have someone safe to talk to. Someone that you trust and that they trust. Someone that you both agree is someone they can go to no matter what. As much as we want to always be that person in their life, we won't always be.

There will always be something that you can't tell your mom or dad. Think about it. You had them too. You probably still do. Things you still feel like you can't tell anyone. Your kids, they feel that way more often than we would like them to. So that person that you and your kid both trust? Your child needs to know that there is a "safe" adult in their life. And you need to be OK with the fact that they will tell them things that they don't want you to know about. Not now. And maybe not ever. And you need to be OK with that. It is REALLY hard but it is essential.

I firmly and undeniably believe that Erin did NOT run away. I've know that with my heart since day 1. But I used to wish that that was the reason she was gone. It seemed so much better than the alternative. At least if she had run away this whole thing would have been her decision. That she could pick up the phone and call and say "come get me." or "I'm OK." I'd give anything for that phone call even today. I'd love to be proven wrong. But most missing kids are runaways. The statistics are undeniable. Please don't let one of them be yours.

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