Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prevent Running Away

I found this list of ideas for parents of kids that could potentially run away. What I find interesting about it, is that if ALL parents behaved this way towards their kids, their kids might not ever run away! What happens when they have already run? Sometimes parents don't get do overs! If your child has runaway and comes back, really really, follow these directions! Kids who run will often run again and stay gone longer and go farther away. Why risk it?

That list is so basic in parenting skills I find it almost appalling that there are parents that don't do these things. Why even be a parent?

The North American Missing Children Association says that developing a strong foundation of open communication with your child is the key to preventing most runaway cases. Try these tips to improve your relationship with your child:

Pay attention. When your child is talking with you, listen. Don't just nod your head while you're watching television, reading the paper or using your computer. Don't just pretend to listen - kids know the difference.
Give respect. Acknowledge and support your child's struggle to grow to maturity.
Understand. Try to sympathize with what your child is going through. Look at life - at least occasionally - from his or her point of view. Remember that when you were his or her age, your ideas seemed to make sense to you.
Don't lecture. All children hate to be lectured, especially teens. But all kids respond to clear information and direction, most of all when they know that the questions they ask will be answered.
Don't label. The throwing around of useless labels will only confuse the real issues that you wish to address.
Discuss feelings. Talk about what you, as a parent, feel and what you need. Allow your child to talk about his or her feelings, too.
Create responsibility. Give your child choices, not orders. Help him or her to understand the consequences of his or her actions.
Give positive praise. Describe your child's positive and negative behavior and how it affects others. Be specific, and give praise to reward good behavior. Do this at least as often, if not more so, than you criticize behavior that you don't like.
Stop hassling your child. Asking your child too many questions often shuts off information. Give him or her the opportunity to volunteer his or her thoughts and feelings while you show a sincere interest, without probing.
Don't always give the answers. You want your child to be able to find his or her own answers or solutions to problems. You can help by not giving your child the answers all of the time.
Use Teamwork. Work together with your child to evaluate the problems and find a mutually agreeable solution.
Provide support. You must tell your child that you will always love him or her, no matter what.

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