When enlisting the help of a runaway center, both teens and parents have found that their opinions and thoughts have been pushed to the side. Parents have reported the most annoyance with these facilities as they do not encourage, but allow a teen an exit from parental authority. On the other hand, you have many parents who say that there is a need for a runaway center because it keeps our young vulnerable teens off the unforgiving streets. Either way you look at it, teens have been running away from parents since the beginning of time. In the irrational minds of a teenage runaway having a place to run to makes no difference in their final decision.
What does a runaway center have to offer both parents and distraught teenagers? The answer is quite simple, but can drastically change the relationship between both parents and children. Support, a runaway center has built a network of people; counselors, therapists, family doctors, etc., that all have this one thing in mind. Each member of the team wants to better your relationship so that you can guide your teenager in the right direction using positive reinforcement.
To do this, there are two skills that must be addressed and encouraged to improve your relationship with your often demanding teenager.
- Communication – Communication is the number one skill taught by runaway center specialists. Both listening and speaking effectively will provide your relationship with the support needed to maintain your bond through the rough teenage years. A good foundation of communication could have completely avoided the need for your teenager to feel that running away was the only answer.
- Trust – As hard as it may be, it is important that you understand the thought process of teens when regarding parental trust. You are the one responsible for punishment. Therefore they may not know they can trust your thoughts and opinions on their feelings. It is your job to protect your children which sometimes sends a signal that you will do what you feel is necessary regardless of how they are feeling. A runaway center will show you how to prove yourself to your child so that they will come to you with any problems, no matter how big or small.
While this is only a small part of the skills taught by a counselor at the runaway center, they will be the most effective in rebuilding the lost relationship with your teen. Raising a teenager is hard work and will take a lot of time and patience before finding the “right way” of guiding them into adulthood. Focusing on these two areas will give you a gentle push in the right direction.