Teen Runaway: What Parents Need to Know
I remember those dreadful years raising a defiant teen - and the threat of running away. When they finally do it, it can be a parent's nightmare.
If you are currently dealing with a runaway, act immediately. Do not waste any time in utilizing every resource you can to find your child.
The list below details a plan of action and tips for finding help.
Tips For Finding a Runaway
- Keep an updated phone list with the home and cell numbers of your teen’s friends. Using the phone list, call every one of your teen’s friends. Talk immediately with their parents, not their friends, as teenagers will often stick together and lie for each other. The parent will tell you anything they know, including the last time contact was made between their child and yours. They will also know to keep closer tabs on their own child.
- Keep an updated photo of your child on hands at all times. With this photo, create one-page flyers including all information about your teen and where they were last seen. Post these flyers everywhere your teen hangs out, as well as anywhere else teenagers in general hang out. Post anywhere they will allow you to.
- Immediately contact your local police. It is advised that you actually visit the office with a copy of the flyer as well as a good number of color photos of your teen. Speak clearly and act rationally, but make sure that they understand how serious the situation is.
- Contact the local paper in order to run a missing ad. Also, contact any other printed media available in your area; many will be very willing to help.
- Contact your local television stations, as well as those in nearby counties. Most stations will be more than happy to run an alert either in the newscast or through the scrolling alert at the bottom of the screen.
- Contact Runaway Hotline: 1-800-RUNAWAY 1-800-786-2929
Having a teen runaway is very frightening and it can bring you to your “Wits End”. Remain positive and be creative: try to understand why your teen is acting this way, what they are running from and where they might be running. These are times when parents need to seek help for themselves. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to others. We are all about parents helping parents. Visit www.helpyourteens.com.