You may have remembered how it felt growing up in your household as a child. If you came from a supportive, loving environment and never had any problems with your parents and other relatives, then you are most likely doing a great job raising your children. However, if you came from a household completely the opposite of what was just described, and then there is always that chance that you may recreate the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences from your parents.
So what are some things that you, as a parent, could be doing right now that may be causing your children to think about running away from home? Well, if you have a good memory of your own experiences or those of your friends, have studied some of the issues that children are dealing with nowadays, and talked with young people in your own family, then you should have a good idea what challenges may be creating an anger, sadness, and a heartfelt desire for some to want to get as far away from their parents as they can (including your own.) However, if you don’t have a clue what you could be doing now that may negatively impacting your child enough to want to get away from you, then you will want to read the following signs.
My parents are too strict!
Do you run a tight ship? The kind of household where your child is simply not allowed to participate in any social events, extracurricular activities, fundraisers, dances, shopping with friends, etc. No exceptions. When they come to you with a request, you immediately tell them, “No.” You don’t bother to offer to drive them anywhere, pick them up, their friends aren’t allowed to come to your house when you are home, and you aren’t interested in meeting their friends’ parents, and then expect your child to rebel. At some point in their lives, they will make up for lost time and the things that you fear the most will show up in full force. It is better that they learn responsibility while they are young then when they are older when mistakes have more damaging effects.
A few things parents can do is teach them responsibility by allowing them to do some things on their own, such as going to the store, riding a bus, making phone calls, and dropping them off and picking them up at a store or friend’s house.
My parents don’t care what I do!
When your child comes to you with some things he or she wants you to participate in and you always manage to get out of helping, showing up, or doing anything that may slightly inconvenience you, most likely there is a resentment building that you don’t know about. How many times do you think your child is going to accept your excuses of “I’m busy…I can’t…I rather…I don’t like?” Find the time and money and show that you are actually interested in the things that bring them joy.
My parents are disrespectful of me!
Do you find yourself responding to your child in ways that you know that if your child would talk to you in the same tone, you would be offended? Being a parent, doesn’t excuse the fact that one should be answering their child with curse words, yelling, or other ways that belittle them. Usually some parents behave this way, because they may have asked their child repeatedly to do something and it still hasn’t got done. Could it be that the child has no respect for your wishes, because you have no respect for his or hers? If a child always acts like this and hasn’t just started, then there may be some underlying issues that you will need to figure out, but if he or she use to be cooperative and now isn’t, could it be that they are getting weary of your approach? He or she may be waiting for the time when they are older and bigger than you to pay you back for the disrespectful behaviors, while others simply would move as far away as they can, hoping to see you once in awhile if not at all.
In order to gain the respect of one’s child, the parent will have to change his or her tone when asking the child to do a task. For some parents, this is hard advice to swallow since they may come from a background where children were seen but not heard. However, if you want your child to learn to respect others you will have to show them what respect looks like and it doesn’t come from a one way street. One thing you can do is at least act happy to see your child before making a request, rather than look as if he or she is an unexpected burden to your life.
Our family never goes anywhere!
Does your child ever see you sitting down with the family having a meal, going places as a group, traveling somewhere together, if not, why? Children become adults who reflect back on the past and use that past to shape their future with their own children. Wouldn’t you like to give your child great memories that can be treasured for a lifetime? Try surprising him or her with a movie outing, a mall trip, a treat to McDonalds or a ride for ice cream. Plan a bigger trip by disciplining yourself to put $10-$15 aside as often as you can until you can afford to take them elsewhere. Research the Internet for family entertainment in your local area and plan to attend a fun event.
My mom (and dad) is so embarrassing!
Drinking, drugs, smoking, having sex in front of children, dressing provocatively are just a few bad examples of parents who have gone wild! Children pay attention to what you do more so than what you say. If they see you doing everything you tell them not to do, more than likely they will want to do it. If any of your habits are negative, they may be severely affected by them and want you to get some help, if you don’t, then why be surprised when they decide to pack an overnight bag and never come back? If you must do things that you wouldn’t want your neighbors to know about, then at least make a rule, “Not in front of the children.”
My parents treat my brothers and sisters better than me!
Parents need to be mindful of which child they may be treating as the black sheep of the family. Name calling, being overly critical, telling them that they remind them of their father (mother), and saying things that make them feel unloved, will make any child run away or run into the arms of someone who can hurt them. Simply being careful of what you say about them, their father (mother), or someone else they care about, will help them feel safe and know that they are loved.
My parents hurt one another and us!
No one likes to be around people who yell, cuss, scream, name call, and do things that children have no business witnessing. Even children know the difference between love and hate and happiness and sadness. If you are acting in ways that make them feel uncomfortable, then of course, they will want to leave you. Find out what it is that you are doing that is doing more harm than good. When you see that your children are failing in school, constantly in trouble, and doing other things that are making the hair on your neck raise up, it’s time to evaluate your own behavior, what you are saying and not saying to your children, promises you may have broken, whether you took the time to hear how they feel about a recent tragedy, and other things that may have disrupted them emotionally and physically. Most of all be willing to change for the sake of your children. Too often hard-headed parents make hard-headed children because they don’t want to accept the fact that their way isn’t working.
Children don’t just suddenly plan to run away; thoughts usually have been building up for some time. They are angry for past events, feel misplaced due to a relocation, upset because parents don’t act like they care, resentful because their maybe some favoritism going on in the household, and frustrated because no one will listen. These are just a few reasons why children get the bright idea to either run away now or in the future. Keep your eyes open to how long they spend on the Internet, texting or talking on their cell phone, the new or older friends they recently acquired who live independently or have their own car or truck, the friend’s house they are always “hanging out” over, dark poetry, music, and artwork, their friend’s parents who they may brag about, liquor, cigarettes, or drugs they may start using and other similar behaviors they use as their ways of escape from you.
By Nicholl McGuire, Find more parenting tips on YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/nmenterprise7