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17, I have a place to go, can I run away?

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  • 17, I have a place to go, can I run away?

    I'm 17 years old. I turn 18 in April, but I'm not considered a legal adult until I turn 19, since I live in Nebraska. I want to run away, live dependently. I no longer wish to be a part of my family. They are traditional, conservative, and Vietnamese Catholics. I feel like I have no sense of freedom, constantly trapped and engulfed by their rules and limitations. I'm entering into college next fall, but they won't allow for me to stay in the dorms. They want me to live at home. The problem is: I hate being at home. I cannot focus at home. I need an environment solely dedicated to studying, which is why I need to be in the dorms. My plans are to complete my undergrad with a major in chemistry, then attempt to get into medical school where I will study to become a doctor of anesthesiology. I have my future all planned out, but if I'm kept at home, I know for certain that I will not achieve my aspirations. So thence, I want to run away and dissociate myself from my family. I'm not emotionally attached to them at all. Time and time again, I imagine catastrophes happening to them, such as death, but I am not affected. I feel indifference. If I do run away, I have a place to stay. My boyfriend whom I am in a serious and committed relationship with owns a home. I can stay there. If anything were to happen with our relationship, I have a back up plan. Where I will be staying isn't an issue. My questions are: should I do it? why shouldn't I? what legal troubles will I run into? can I still go to college without parental consent? are there any alternatives to my situation?

  • #2
    Re: 17, I have a place to go, can I run away?

    Hi there,

    Thank you for posting to our online forum. It sounds like being at home is really stressful for you and it’s understandable that you want to leave your home and live independently. It seems like you’ve thought about possible options and even a plan B if living with your boyfriend doesn’t work out, but you want to find out more information so that there aren’t any unexpected problems if you were to leave.

    We’re not legal experts here, but here is some information about some potential legal ramifications to running away. You mentioned that you're thinking about leaving home and staying with your boyfriend. If you leave home without permission, your parents could report you as a runaway and the police would be authorized to return you home. If you are reported as a runaway it’s typically just a status offense; however, sometimes people helping runaways are at risk for charges such as harboring a runaway. This charge is often considered a misdemeanor and might be something to explore if you or whoever you would be staying with are concerned.

    Some things to think about would be how your parents would react to you leaving home? Would they be likely to file a runaway report with the police? Are there any alternative living arrangements outside the dorms, your boyfriend’s house, or their house that they might be more likely to give you permission? Perhaps a relative’s house?

    You mentioned that you’re concerned about enrolling in college without your family’s support. We aren’t experts on exactly what aspects of enrolling in college you would need your parents’ consent for. For instance, you may be able to enroll in college on your own, but you may need your parents in order to apply for financial aid or student loans. A school counselor or teacher may be able to answer give you more accurate information about parental involvement in college enrollment.

    We are non-directive here at NRS so we aren’t here to tell you what to do, however we can definitely help you weigh the pros and cons and explore your options specific to your situation. If you would like to discuss your situation more, we encourage you to reach out to us by phone or chat.

    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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