Why run away?

Running away is not synonymous with fun.  It always sends a message and, if the problems that led to running away are not resolved, it could be repeated.  Therefore, it is necessary to get beyond the anxiety that you are feeling and attempt to understand the meaning of your child’s act.

The message sent by running away is different depending on whether it was spontaneous or planned.  The spontaneous act occurs after an accident, a failure or an intense emotional experience.  For the young person, running away may appear to be the only possible solution given the situation or as a way out in order to avoid facing a difficult situation.

A planned run away occurs when a young person seeks a life style that they think will lead to self-reliance and self-exploration.  Thus this act can represent a way of responding to unmet needs, like independence, liberty and experimentation.  It could as well be a way to express revolt or opposition to adult authority, a cry for help or a means of coping with a situation which, for them, seems impossible to resolve.