I have noticed that many runaways have justified their reason for running away because Mom or Dad "Beat Them"! I wonder and ponder how many of these adolescents truly are abused or are running from responsibilities?
If you where to come across a runaway what would you think?
This is a totally case by case thing. Personally I would try not to judge a runaway at first sight because we all know that teens and adults alike do some unpredictable, crazy things.
But even if a kid says they are abused at home and you suspect he is lying, would you ship that child home without checking his home environment first?
Yes, kids are aware that the system is in their favor if they claim abuse. However, saying all runaways are just rebellious glosses over the reality of child abuse.
What a strong point that you make however you said something that has always alarmed me,"when a child claims abuse it goes in their favor"; I wonder do children use this favor as a tool of power and control?
Sadly some do. I know of several cases where children have claimed to be abused as a way of getting back at parents, teachers or other adults. Including a local school that was closed down even though all the allegations proved untrue.
Some children are very manipulative and figure out early on how to use the system to their advantage.
Having said that all cases of supsected abuse must be followed up.
teens who run away to be with their boyfriends or girlfriends may or may not be running away to escape abuse - maybe they just want independence.
but if i see a teen, which is a CHILD, on the street, maybe hustling or homeless, i assume they are there because they are escaping an abusive situation. no one lives like that to be rebellious.
I work in a residential treatment center for teen girls and I've seen a lot of runaways come through. More often than not, they are coming from abusive family situations, most of them were sexually abused at a young age. Most runaway's leave home because the idea of living on the streets holds more appeal than living at home.
That doesn't mean that every kid on the street is an abuse victim. There are some who leave because they've gotten in trouble for something and don't want to face the consequences.
Others run because their parents are just crazy. One thing that scares me is that several of the girls I work with just take after their parents. The parents are the ones in need of treatment, the kids are just teenagers acting like teens do. The parents are messed up from a variety of issues that they never bother to resolve.
I think runaways are not listened to as much as we think. Though in some cases runaways are abused verbally or physically, I feel the emotional toll of the abuse is the worst. Some adults out there want their child to be a "little adult" and take on responsibilities that they are not equipped to handle. Some adults are not equipped to handle the adult responsibilities either so therefore who suffers in the long run? The child. We have to remember that the child did not ask to be here and we were once children ourselves. We all need to have that ear to bend every once in awhile. Give the child a chance, right or wrong, to speak what is on their mind and help them from that point to deal.
I to was a runaway. I suffered from mental, physcial and incest abuses. I felt safer in the street with strangers than in my own home. I think the abuse is what makes the child rebellious. I am a newbie that's why the late reply, but I found your subject matter very interesting. Thanks for the good read.
I used to work at a volunteer organization that helped runaway teens. The answer is: scary and sad and implausible as it may sound, they really ARE being abused, either physically or sexually.
The life of a teen runaway is not the sort of thing one does on a whim. It's cold and miserable and lonely and dangerous.
mmmmmm.... This is a good question I would say it is 50/50 not all children are abused some are just plain spoiled and rotten to the core. I know people who have children that are absolute brats! I have came across runaways and once you sit down with them and really listen I have found personally that some do not want to listen and getting a J-O-B- is simply out of the question they certainly were not abused just merely lazy on the other hand there are teens who were horribly abused mentally, physically and emotionally.
When I was in high school I left home and lived in my car. I got up early went to the gym got a shower and went to class. After school I worked in a resturant as a dishwasher and they allways fed me and let me have the left over bread. I left home for many reasons but mostly my Dad. He didn't believe in sparing the rod and when I knew I was going to fight back I left for my Moms sake.
I didn't ask for anything and no one knew but my family, my girl friend and future wife had her suspicions but I evaded probing questions. After we were married I came clean and she was hurt I didn't say something because her folks liked me and would have taken me in. The stigma of a kid out of control bothered me so I kept it to myself.
Case by case is probably the right way to address it, just don't be too quick to judge. I didn't hang out on the streets but I had bought a car so I had shelter.
I have written many hubs about missing teens and finding runaways, I think sometimes things may be bad at home but sometimes they just are searching for something they don't get at home whether it be attention or just to get their own way. Sometimes it may be rebellion but there is always more to the story.
I'll have to try and find the ethnography study I did on homeless kids in my area, but all the kids I spoke with said homelessness was, for them, a lifestyle choice. It was only upon probing further that I discovered abuse was a significant reason they made that decision.
I only remember one kid who lied about abuse, or threatened to actually. A girl told me if her mom tried to stop her from going to see her boyfriend, she would call DFS on her and tell them her mom was hurting her. "She's not going to try to tell ME what to do!" Utterly devoid of any concern for her mother, for truth, or anything else but pleasing herself at any given moment. Scary.
Most of the kids I've known that ran away just didn't want to get in trouble for something they did that they realized they shouldn't have.
Then I've known a few, even one is too many, that I would happily have helped to run away. Some parents are just sick and evil.
I agree that it's completely a case-by-case basis. I know my own personal reasons, but I would never venture to speak for anyone else. I think many people who are truly abused are extremely reluctant to talk about it for fear of being stigmatized or looked down on. On the flip side, some are desperate to talk to anyone in hopes that they can find help or understanding.
Unfortunately, I have also met a couple of people who have "cried wolf" on abuse, though they are in the extreme minority of people I know. One was a kid that I babysat for a while who was very skinny and often told people her mom starved her, beat her, and locked her in her room. Later she laughed about how gullible people were to listen to her, and about how she could make her mom's life miserable on a whim because people would listen to her.
I ran away from home when I was 17 to join my boyfriend
who moved to another state. I was definitely not abused by
my parents, just a rebellious teenager who thought she knew
better. I think each individual runaway will have their own story of what they're running from. If they're being abused
let's just hope they have the smarts to get themselves some help.
Could it be that they are both abused and rebellious at the same time
one condition a direct result of the other
abuse can manifest itself in so many forms and the abused can either react or not
rebellion can be a way of displacing the abuse, not always rebellion but criminal activity, drug taking or transferring the displacements and becoming a bully.... of some sort.
Not everyone who is abused becomes an abuser
Not everyone who rebels becomes an outcast from society
It is important to remember that everyone deserves a second chance..
Simply taking the time to talk to a runaway can make all the difference.
One person showing they care and can help this individual to resume some faith in human kindness and not feel betrayed...
if you listen to a lot of youth today they attempt to speak and no one listens. Let them finish any statements they make even if they don't come as full sentences all at once.
Patience with today's youth is essential. Try it with your own children, then their friends, your own peers and colleagues. The Art of conversation has been lost and along with it essential communication skills which have prevented us from missing key symptoms of illness in our own communities....
The homeless person who drinks too much.... a runway abused teen... never listened to and given help....One day someone will help her and she may break the cycle.....
Volunteering can be a powerful resource, sharing skills with someone who does not know what you know and empowering them to help themselves....
Parents today are so busy trying to make ends meet they miss the mini me's that they have created evolving and becoming the next better generation.......
I believe abuse plays a major role in a child's dicision to leave. I ran away from home when I was only 16 to escape the abuse that had gone on since i was a baby. I do believe in discipline, but theres no room for abuse. We should listen to all children and try to find out what is really going on at home. Every case of suggested abuse should be thoroughly investigated, even if someone feels the child might be telling a lie. Even then it can be hard to prove, as abusers can be very manipulative.
Reading this I noticed that there was a theme about false accusations of abuse.
My thinking on this is are the kids informed about all aspects of what will happen because of their abuse claim?
Do they know what foster homes and group homes are like?
Maybe they genuinely do not care about the hurt it will cause the innocent parent but I have lived in group homes and foster homes and they are nothing like a real home. They try to help yes and try to provide a safe place yes, but they can only do so much and life can be a scary thing without knowing you have family there who will help and support you while you become a self supporting adult.
I have serious doubts about false accusations when the person accusing understands the consequences they will experience, the way life will change.
Last note is that living on the streets is tough! I have been homeless and slept in abandoned cars and couch surfed, had I had a good supportive family the number 18 would not have meant homelessness or being totally able to support myself in every way. Even when I was no longer homeless I can tell you I went hungry quite often and ended up underweight and with health problems. I find it hard to believe that someone would give up a good home for this just because they were not allowed to see their bf or whatever.
Agreed, though no matter how often someone hears the facts I think they can't really imagine what the consequences will really be like. Maybe they think living on the streets isn't that tough, or that they don't need emotional support from family and such...until you are actually living it, the reality probably just doesn't sink in.
Once, long ago , I was a runaway for a short period of time, untill my grandma adopted me..it was not due to rebellion, it was due to mental, physical, and sexual abuse from my birthmother (9 father passed away exactly 1 month before I was born - and she snapped ) Im now in my late 30's and suffer from severe post traumatic stress syndrome, enough where I am court ordered to take 4 to 5 2 mg Xanax per day...
I imagine some suffered though what I suffered through for many years, but childrens services and such were different in the late 70's and 80's than they are now, they have improved vastly, at least in Ohio
if a child grows up being hit and controlled and abused, the natural instinct is going to be 'fight or flight'.
some 'fight', but most will run for survival, or withdraw into their own world, another form of 'flight.'
without direction, they get in trouble.
it's very sad and tragic that it happens each and every hour in our world. they need our help, volunteering and mentoring are great ways to help.
I think it has alot to do with abuse. I know a close friend of mine who gets abused verbally, and she use to get abused physically, and sadly her mother died. So she ran away because she would rather be anywhere else than in that house. And I don't blame her. Her dad seem nice when I was over, but eventually he started acting mean towards her when I was there.
I was sexually abused by my father and it takes a big toll on you mentally. I didn't feel safe in my home so I fled in order to have control over my situation.
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