HELP FOR PARENTS WITH STRONG-WILLED, OUT-OF-CONTROL CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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Son Won't Come Home On Weekends

Dear Mark,

Can you please help me manage this situation? My son is 15 and will not come home at the weekends. I said to him that the rule is to be home at weekends by 11.30 and he is not to stay out, unless I am happy who he is staying with and have spoken to the parents. The consequence of this is no pocket money at all. It doesn’t seem to matter to him… he is probably stealing money or stuff anyway. He is using hash and has got very abusive in the home. Now I get a text from him saying he is staying in a friend’s house that I don’t know and will not give me the number. He will not come back now until Sunday. I don’t know what else to do. The money doesn’t seem to matter.

He is in trouble with the police, has changed his friends to hash friends, is aggressive and has thrashed the house. My mother is sick down the country and will not come down with me to visit her which means I can’t leave the city to visit.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

P.

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“Situational Runaways” are the largest group of runaways, comprised of young people who leave home for a day or two after a disagreement with parents – or for the weekend. Although they may be seen in runaway shelters or spend a brief time on the street, they usually return home within a few days. A small percentage may repeat this behavior and remain away for longer periods. If so, they become a part of the chronic runaway group. The suburban kid who runs to a friend's house the first time may turn into a chronic runaway who eventually finds his way to the heart of the nearby city, where other rootless kids hang out.

As much as you would like to build a wall around them, it is their choice whether or not to walk out the door. The phrase I use, "There are no bars on these windows, and the doors only lock people out." This is harsh, and I know it, but it also very much the truth. As a parent I can be a safety net, a tool box, and an emotional punching bag, but I refuse to be a chain.

Unfortunately we can’t completely prevent teens from running away, but here are a few suggestions that may help:

• Call the police. You don't have to wait 24 hours to report a missing minor. Be aware that because this is considered a common domestic issue, finding runaways is not always a priority for the police department unless your child is under 13 or there is reason to believe that he or she is in immediate danger. You'll need to do most of the footwork yourself. However, the police will keep watch and return your child to you if he or she is found. It's also important to file a report in case you are unable to find your child or a situation arises where help is needed.

• Call your child's friends. Your teen may still be in contact with them. It's especially important to remain calm when you speak to them. Otherwise, they may not be willing to help. Speak to the parents, as well. They may be able to give you other phone numbers to call. Ask them to contact you if they hear anything.

• Don’t scream and yell, or threaten your teen, this will only make them want to leave more.

• Go through your child's bedroom. Look through notebooks and drawers. Your child may have left a note behind. There may also be addresses and phone numbers. Visit the addresses and call the phone numbers if you haven't already.

• Remain calm. This is probably the most difficult thing to do when your teen runs away, but it's important. Keeping your emotions in check will make it easier to stay efficient and organized. You'll also need help from other people and they'll be more willing and open if you remain calm.

• Try not to interrupt your teenager when they do come to you to talk, sometimes it helps the most to just listen. If you don’t agree with your child at least listen to their side, then calmly give your side, if things start to get out of control, take a break.

• Try showing your teen respect and keep communication open, listening to what they have to say.

If you really want to put a lid on this situation, click on the link below!

Mark Hutten, M.A.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

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