-- Changes in behaviors and patterns mean something is wrong: teens who suddenly stop eating or begin to overeat, sleep all day or never sleep, spend all their time with their friends or never want to leave the room. Sudden mood swings mean teens are unsettled and restless. They're not coping well with stress.
-- Rebellious behavior is often the start of trouble. Dropping grades, truancy, breaking rules at home, picking fights with the family are all symptoms that your child is having problems.
-- Disclosure of intentions to run away. Some teens will hint that they want to run away and some will outright threaten their family with running. Sometimes a family will hear rumors through friends, school, or other parents that their child is thinking of leaving home.
-- Accumulation of money and possessions. To survive, runaways need money and resources. Some runaways prepare for their run by slowly withdrawing cash from their savings accounts. Keeping a bag or backpack of clothes in the closet might mean they are waiting to make a quick escape.
It's important to confront your suspicions right way. Clearly and calmly let your teen know you are concerned and afraid he or she might run away from home. Encourage teens to talk with you or someone else about what is troubling them and be supportive of finding positive ways to deal with their stress.
Call the Baxter Youth Shelter at 828-4383 or toll free at 1-888-828-4383 for more information on the Lakes Area Runaway Program.
Information provide by the Baxter Youth Shelter and the National Runaway Switchboard.
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