Realizing that she was gone, I sped to my car throwing the keys into the ignition and raced down the street at full speed.
Dressed in black, my car lights were still able to track her down. Slamming the brakes once she was in sight, I threw the car into PARK and swung open the door.
I nearly fell onto the ground as I tried to run after her. Picking up speed I grabbed her arm and pull her towards me. Trying to fight me off, I held more tightly until I was in a deep bear hug.
“I love you! Please, this isn’t the answer. I’m not letting go because you are that important to us. Let’s get through this together.” I said. She broke down crying as I lifted her up and carried her back to the car.
It was going to be another sleepless night as I hid the keys to the house doors. Again I was praying that this would come to an end.
That was almost 3 years ago. Her reasons for running were complex but in the end she came to an understanding. We never wavered in our love for her. A constant reminder to her each day of how much she was loved and needed, helped break the chain that kept trying to pull her away from us.
Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away in a year which was reported by the NRS (National Runaway Safeline). 47% of those ran because of conflict with a parent and 50% of those runaways stated that their parent either told them to leave or didn’t care if they left. Some run because of abusive situations and others because of other issues that are affecting them deeply.
How sad that we live in a generation that has lost their compassion for teenagers. Our youth don’t feel loved by their parents. I have come to learn through my own trials that those parents can often be just as broken as their teens. And when you have a broken family, it is too difficult to help heal the teen when the parent themselves are hurting and in need of healing. That is something I have had to share with some teens that were planning on leaving home because they felt worthless to their parents. They didn’t understand that parents are hurting too. All they could see was their own hurt and pain which we should never ignore.
Just by sharing that information alone gave them enough perspective to see that just because you are a grown up doesn’t mean you are perfect or without troubles. Having spoken to teens in these types of situations, all they ever really wanted was their parent’s attention, support, respect and more than anything else in the world, their LOVE. And if they didn’t find it at home, they would go out into the world and find it somewhere else or through someone else no matter the cost.
So if you are a parent with a teen in crisis today, hug them tighter and tell them how much you love them. Let them know that when the hard days come, your love for them will be unconditional and unwavering. My biggest advice – Find support and help, pray and NEVER GIVE UP!
Because in the end, the next time they run, it will be towards you.