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Dear Dish-It: Should I Run Away?

Dear Dish-It,


Should I run away? My life is so far like hell! I lost my mum, and my dad's always drunk. My lil bro and sis are currently living with their friends (most the time). And I'm not sleeping in the same house as my dad. So I go out at night, and sometimes the police ask me why, and I just say I'm heading home. What should I do? Should I run away and then come back, to show I'm really upset or???


u don't know this guy


Dear UDKTG,


I don't know you, but it sounds like you've got some really heavy things on your mind and I'm concerned for you. No kid should have to deal with such grownup problems - it doesn't seem fair. But let me be the first to tell you: running away is not the answer. Whether you're physically running away from your home or parents or you're mentally running away from issues you need to deal with or stuff you need to get done, the problem will never get solved. Problems only get solved when you face them head-on. So I am 100% confident that the answer to your question is: NO, YOU SHOULDN'T. Here's some more info about running away (and why you shouldn't do it), as well as some possible sources of help you could turn to about your b>problems with your dad.


Runaway Statistics

Running away is a serious problem. According to the National Runaway Switchboard, an organization that takes calls and helps kids who have run away or are thinking of running away, one in seven kids between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away at some point. And there are 1 million to 3 million runaway and homeless kids living on the streets in the United States.


Most kids run away due to problems with their families. Other reasons kids run away include:

  • abuse (violence in the family)
  • parents separating or divorcing or the arrival of a new stepparent
  • death in the family
  • birth of a new baby in the family
  • family financial worries
  • kids or parents drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • problems at school
  • peer pressure
  • failing or dropping out of school

These are problems faced by lots of kids and teens - and there are ways to deal with all of these problems besides running away. Kids who think about running away might not know how to solve tough problems or don't have adults to help them. Sometimes a really big problem can make it seem like running away is the only choice. Unfortunately, the problems kids hope to escape by running away are replaced by other - sometimes even bigger - problems of life on the streets.


The Reality of Running Away

When you think about running away, you probably imagine that there will be no more rules, no parent to tell you what to do, no more fights. Sounds great and exciting, right? In reality, running away is anything but fun. Kids and teens who run away face new problems like not having any money, food to eat, a safe place to sleep, or anyone to look out for them.


People with no home and no money become desperate, doing anything just to meet their basic needs. Because of this, they often find themselves in risky situations that would be frightening, even for adults. Runaway kids get involved in dangerous situations and crime much more often than kids who live at home.


Runaway Prevention

Let's face it - stress is a part of life, even for kids - but being able to deal with problems with confidence, hope, and practical solutions makes kids less likely to run away. To build your problem-solving skills, try to:

  • Know your emotions: Try to understand what you are feeling inside and use words to describe it.
  • Express your emotions: Don't be afraid to tell those close to you how you're feeling and why. Use words, not actions. This is especially true for anger. Anger is one of the hardest emotions to manage because it's so strong - but everyone needs to learn how to express angry feelings without violence.
  • Know how to calm yourself down after you're upset: Maybe you need to run around outside, listen to music, draw, or write poetry. Do whatever safe things you need to do to feel better.
  • When you have a problem, try to come up with a list of solutions: Get someone else to help you if you can't think of at least three things to do. For each possible solution, ask yourself "If I do this, what would happen next?"
  • Get some help from trusted adults - someone like a parent, close relative, teacher, or neighbor: Know who you can count on to support and help you.

What To Do

It may feel like there's no way to fix the problems that are making you think about running away. If you can, tell your mom or dad how you feel. They need to know that you're upset or that you're afraid they don't love you or want you around. It may be possible to work together as a family to change things for the better. Sometimes talking with a counselor as a family can help.


If the problem is as serious as abuse and a parent is involved, then talk to a teacher or counselor at school, a good friend's parent, a close relative, or another trusted adult. Let that person help you find somewhere safe to stay. It might be hard to share this secret because you may feel ashamed or afraid of getting someone in trouble, but remember that abuse is never your fault.


Another option is to call the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000 (in the United States). It's open 24 hours a day and the call is free. The switchboard operators get thousands of calls each year, many from kids who have run away or know someone who has.


More Great Dish-It Advice:


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Dear Dish-It In The Forums

rainbowpoptart
Yes, purely for the fact that you should not "hate" your sister (or anyone, for that matter).  I'm guessing by "get in trouble for her", you mean she does something wrong and the blame is all put on you? Yeah, little siblings tend to do that a lot. My brother did for the longest time, until my parents found out how much a liar he is. She, hopefully, will grow out of this eventually. Either that, or your parent[s]/guardian[s] will eventually see through her. You lose your friends to her? By this do you mean your friends want to hang out with her and they want you to tag along and you don't? Or do you mean your friends chose your sister over you? If it's the latter, then perhaps you shouldn't have ever referred to those people as friends. You'll find friends who'll prefer you over your sister, I'm sure of it. The only thing I can tell you to do is try to get along with your sister. Every group of siblings has their cats and dogs moment in life, but they grow out of it (most of the time; there are, of course, circumstances where it doesn't work out that way). Please be grateful for your sister, even if you two fight a lot. You never know how much you need something until it's gone.
reply about 14 hours
liddielover
i hate my little sister because i get introuble for her and lose my friends to her.is that wrong?
reply about 15 hours
skylar245
skylar245 posted in Friends:
"rainbowpoptart" wrote: "skylar245" wrote: Teacher said to wait for the Bus Driver and the counselor, she just talks to me and doesn't tell The Princible Then maybe try telling the principal yourself, and you should also report that the driver, teacher, and counselor haven't done anything to help you. If that fails, tell another trusted adult, like your mother. I'm sure someone you're close to would do their best to get justice. This is a major problem and it's a shame no one's done anything to help. ​No one listens to me anyway but my friends
reply 2 days
rainbowpoptart
rainbowpoptart posted in Friends:
"skylar245" wrote:Teacher said to wait for the Bus Driver and the counselor, she just talks to me and doesn't tell The Princible Then maybe try telling the principal yourself, and you should also report that the driver, teacher, and counselor haven't done anything to help you. If that fails, tell another trusted adult, like your mother. I'm sure someone you're close to would do their best to get justice. This is a major problem and it's a shame no one's done anything to help.
reply 2 days
skylar245
skylar245 posted in Friends:
"rainbowpoptart" wrote: "skylar245" wrote: My bus driver does NOTHING about it EVEN IF HE SEE'S IT! he only wrote the two girls up but not the girl that hit me Then report them to a teacher or the school counselor. Behaviour like that is not acceptable in the slightest. ​Teacher said to wait for the Bus Driver and the counselor, she just talks to me and doesn't tell The Princible
reply 2 days