Monday, February 3, 2014

Running Away as a Last Resort

                When I was a little kid, I used to threaten my parents that I would run away as some sort of juvenile bargaining chip.  It was similar to the whole “I’m going to hold my breath until you let me have [blank].”  It was always an empty threat, and the one time I managed to work myself up enough to actually make it out the door, I couldn't even make it off our porch.  In the years since then, these times have become “cute” stories that my parents told their friends about, because, after the initial exasperation, it’s kind of endearing to hear what little kids try to do to get what they want.

           Looking back on this time now, I realize just how messed up it is that almost every kid, and a large majority of my friends, have “running away” stories from their childhoods.  In a way, running away has become normalized as something comical for little kids, and the seriousness of leaving home in earnest has been forgotten by most individuals and stigmatized by the general public. 

Even further, the times that we do acknowledge runaways, it’s because we’re trying to find them to return them to their homes, because we believe that is the best way to help them.  It was with this attitude that I found a wikiHow article, written or edited by many different people, on “How to Run Away From Home as a Teen”, and thought that it was just a joke, because there’s no way that a random website would be giving out advice to encourage teens to run away from home. 

                However, the very first part of the article is a disclaimer stating that wikiHow, or its various editors, are in no way recommending running away, but rather recognizing that some teens feel that their best chance in life is to leave their homes, and if they’re coming to that conclusion, they must really have something awful going on in their life at home that they’re trying to get away from. I really appreciated this article because it took a completely different perspective than the ones that you would see in most mainstream news and online media, and it really is something that could help someone who is feeling desperate enough to make such a huge and completely life-changing decision. 

                The main idea to take from the article is to absolutely not do it unless you need to.  And then, if you feel that it’s your only option, do what you have to do, but try to take steps that will ensure your survival and safety.  Also, if you ever feel like you want to talk about what you’re going through or need resources for shelter, Teen Link is open every night from 6-10pm, and we have chat every night as well! You can reach us at 1-866-833-6546 or online at 

Also, another really helpful resource that everyone should know about is Safe Place. They have a staff of volunteers that will pick you up at designated Safe Place locations all over Seattle and take you to local shelters. It is also a national program so there are Safe Place locations across the U.S. They are available any time of day or night. Check them out:

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