It’s like a knife to the heart when a mother hears this from her child, even though, most children say it at some point in their life. So do you board up the doors and beg them to stay? Probably not. So what can you say or do to de-escalate the situation without making it worse?
“Well go ahead, I’ll help you pack your bags,” is probably not something you want to say either. This might make your child feel unloved, or that you don’t care, which is not your intentions.
A better response might be, “I love you and would miss you very much if you ran away.”
Parents should let them know that running away isn’t an option, and encourage them to talk about their feelings. Let them know that you care about how they feel.
A phrase I use a lot is “It’s ok to feel the way you do, but it’s not ok to act like that or say that”
For example. “It’s ok to be mad because I won’t let you stay up and play video games, but it is not ok to slam your door.” or “It’s ok to be sad because the dog ate your toy, but it is not ok to say that you’re going to hurt her.”
As a child grows and develops, they are learning how to deal with problems and express their feelings. It’s up to us to help them understand that they control what they say and do, and that they can not control what other people say and do. And that it’s ok to feel a certain a way, but it is not ok to lash out and lose control.
A good book that might be worth checking out is called The Runaway Bunny by Margarette Wise Brown is about a bunny who imagines a bunch of places that he runs away to, and the mother bunny follows him to each place. In the end, he finds himself back in his own home, where he decides he might as well stay and be her little bunny.
|Buy it here on Amazon!|
Perhaps all your child needs is a few more choices or freedoms. “It’s important to realize that parenting is a constant turnover of power, control, and competency from the parent to the child.” – The Seattle Times
When a teen threatens to run away, the reasons are probably similar to the reasons of the younger child, it’s just more frightening because they can actually develop and follow through with an escape plan.
If boundaries are the issue, consider asking yourself “Am I too controlling of my child’s where a bouts, behavior, and attire?”
If the parent and teen/child can’t sort it out, maybe bringing in a counselor that specializes in development and behavior might be a good idea.
Has your child ever threatened to run away? What did you do?