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Signals Your Child Might Be Considering Running Away

Sad teen sitting on stairs

It's every parent's nightmare: A child disappears in the middle of the night, running away from the safety of home, into the unknown. Learning the warning signs that your child may be considering running away could prevent this terrible situation. 

Here are some signals that your child might be consideri​ng running away:

• Changes in behaviors or patterns means something is wrong:  Teens who suddenly stop eating or begin to overeat, sleep all day or never sleep, spend all their time with friends or never want to leave their room.  Sudden mood swings mean teens are unsettled and restless.  They're not coping well with stress.

• Rebellious behavior is often the start of trouble:  Dropping grades, truancy, breaking rules at home, picking fights with the family are all symptoms that your child is having problems.

• Disclosure of intentions to run away:  Some teens will hint that they want to run away and some will outright threaten their family with running.  Sometimes a family will hear rumors through friends, school, or other parents that their child is thinking of leaving home.

• Accumulation of money and possessions:  To survive, runaways need money and resources.  Some runaways prepare for their run by slowly withdrawing cash from their savings accounts.  Keeping a bag or backpack of clothes in the closet might mean they are waiting to make a quick escape.

If you do suspect your child might run away, here are some things you can do.​