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16 yr old son ran away

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  • 16 yr old son ran away

    Right now - I am just absolutely frustrated. My eldest has left home for the second time - the first was about 2 years ago. I haven't reported him missing yet for a couple of reasons. A. I have been told by the police the first time that they won't even look for him. If they happen to see him they will pick him up - but basically, they won't do anything. I live in a big city so "just happening" to see anyone is like a needle in a haystack. B. My son has to decided where he wants to go - I hate to be like this and many think I'm being cold - but I'm not. I am a single mother of 5 boys and love them all very much. However, with my eldest we first had some issues a couple years ago - I did everything I can think of - counseling, calling the police, filing assault charges (he assaulted me at one point) & followed through with them with his having to do teen court, community service, etc., sent him to his dad's for a short stay - everything I can think of you name it - I've tried it. He's not a bad kid - in fact, just the opposite which is even more frustrating. He has a promising future but keeps throwing it out the door. Things have been very well for the last year and a half with minor to no conflict. He's very responsible normally, has been good around the house, etc. We had a bumping of heads a couple of weeks ago because he came home & had been drinking - so he had consequences over that. I know who bought the alcohol for him & 2 other minors - only thing is I can not prove it. This kid is an 18 yr old whom has had problems with his family & I have done my best to keep the distance between the two of them - in fact, that was where my son went the first time with the kid acting like he doesn't know anything & really cares - yadda yadda. I told him when I caught my son drinking that he had better stay away from my son or I will file a restraining order & contributing to the deliquency of a minor. Now this weekend (Sunday) I come home from getting groceries & upset the lawn hasn't been mowed (not gonna go into all of it) but basically my son started giving me attitude from jump. I actually maintained my cool & let him know that I wasn't buying his excuses & that I was very upset that he hadn't done what he was supposed to. My son starts yelling & cursing at me, getting within inches of my face and I ask him to lower his tone & tell him that he will not speak to me like that especially when his little brothers are around. He tells me to **** etc, and so I walk out of the kitchen and tell him forget it he's grounded & take his cell phone away. He continues & I'm raising my voice now & telling him that he is not going to behave that way and a few minutes later I have a box of food flying at me and land on my foot. I told him that was enough I'm doing this with him anymore and he needed to stop - he then proceeds to kick a bag of groceries (my youngest who is 7 was sitting next to it getting things out of another bag). So at that point I tell him to just leave. He either gets himself together or he can go - I will not be cursed at & assualted nor put his brothers in that situation. So he left... I don't feel bad for making that choice as that was not acceptable behavior. Do I worry - yes. A storm came through last night & all I can think of is where is my son? Is he in it? I can't call or text him. He didn't go to school yesterday. He has no clothes with him other than what he had on. I am 99% sure he is staying with this kid - no one else would let him stay gone that long - this kid encourages it as he did the last time. Only problem is, I don't know where he lives. I don't even know his last name. If I could prove that is where my son was - I would most definately file charges on him without a second thought. I am left with a dilema with my son though - even doing that - what do I do? What stinks is my son knows that when it comes down to it - it is just me & him. Everyone says "Take a stand, blah blah blah" - I do & have & under no uncertain terms made it clear I will go to all lengths to do what needs to be done. That only goes so far when they know you can't physically stop them from going, cops - well - that's no help because by the time they arrive the kid is gone (I'll go on the side they are just very busy), I had one officer at one point turn & threaten to have my home under investigation because I had called them to assist with my son (this was when things were first going on years ago) because they were tired of coming out - so I'm not to keen on calling them for their assistance (I apologize I am 120 lbs 5'6" trying to handle a 6'0" 150 - 180 lb male child whom when he does get those modes I am just not physically capable of handling on my own). At this moment... I honestly believe I have to let him see what's out there -I hate it. Yet, I can't make him stay if he is intent on leaving. He has a home with many extras that normally he shouldn't have as I am not a wealthy woman by far, has a great school with excellent oppportunities - advanced classes, has an opportunity to see the swearing in of the President in Jan., a good church & youth leader, for the most part very good friends, is allowed a lot of freedoms when he is behaving & acting in a responsible manner, and chores - well to be honest - not many - with 5 there is not a lot to do around the house. We have always talked very openly & he has taken a vow of abstinance - I'm not saying I know everything about my son - I'm realistic - he's 16 - I've been there too. Honestly though - what can I do? If I don't report him - what legal ramifications am I facing? I don't see a reason to when they aren't going to look for him! Am I wrong at this point for doing this? I can't afford "camps", JV at this point I think would only be more damaging in the long run especially with such a short amount of time until he's on his own anyways, I've had him taken to a psych facility - which discharged him the next morning - was hoping he'd be held at least in a teen program for a couple days - dad - well, it's not as structered there & so going there is not a big deal (in fact that is where he was drinking before & dad was working enough that he didn't know & really did nothing when he found out except tell him not to again. I feel my hands are tied... legally, parentally (a word??), etc. Sorry this is so long... My son will be gone 48 hrs tonight without a word from him... I haven't stopped caring for my son... I love him very much & am extremely worried about him... wish I at least knew he was ok.

  • #2
    Re: 16 yr old son ran away


    Thank you so much for contacting us and sharing the details of your seemingly frustrating and difficult situation. It must be tiresome having to repeat your story over and over but hopefully this will help you get a different perspective on it.

    Firstly, out of all the things you said about your son's experiences and what he’s put your family through, the main thing that sticks out is your love for him. Throughout the whole message, there is a heavy sense of security and hope for your son and your entire family. Your son has been through a lot and you don’t seem to blame him for that-you simply want to ensure that he takes care of himself and those around him.

    It seems like he has a hard time containing his temper during intense/tight situations. Looks like whenever you have a legitimate concern and you bring it up to him, he immediately becomes defensive and blows up. It’s a good thing you are able to keep your cool throughout the hectic times because it’d probably be more challenging if two people were constantly yelling and arguing.

    As for what to do or where to go from here, sounds like you are asking about legal responsibilities and what the point is if nothing is going to change. If a youth under the age of 18 leaves home without the permission of the legal guardian, that custodian has the option of filing a runaway report with the police or with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1800.THE.LOST). Once the report is made, the parent cannot be charged with neglect because they are officially announcing that they have not granted the youth permission to be where they are and away from home. With that report it is also illegal to harbor a runaway/cross a youth across state lines. So, this is somewhat correctional rather than preventative but that brings up your other concern, "what’s the point of doing these things?”

    Honestly, you have done as much as you can do in terms calling the people and the agencies that you need to call. What is the main thing you want to do with him right now? Juvenile Services does not seem like the best place for him because as you mentioned before, that might make matters worse if you’re trying to look out for his well-being. Would you be willing to get some advice from parents that have been through a similar situation? There is an agency called Team HOPE (help offering parents empowerment) that can put you in contact with those families and they can give you ideas about what has helped and what hasn’t.

    Team HOPE

    Another agency that can possibly provide some useful information is Families Anonymous: 1800.736.9805

    If you would like to get more help from our center, please don’t hesitate to contact us 24hrs a day at 1800.RUNAWAY and we can better serve you if these given hotlines don’t have what you’re searching for.

    Best of luck with everything and thank you again for sharing everything with us.

    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat which is open every day from 4:30p to 11:30p CST and can be accessed here:

    National Runaway Safeline (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)
    Tell us what you think about your experience!


    • #3

      I'm so sorry. I don't wish this on any parent. My son has been missing since 9.3.2016


      • #4
        Re: Relate

        Thanks for posting to the National Runaway Safeline forums. We are here to listen and help if you or any parent may be in need of support. It sounds like you are going through a really tough time not having your youth home and being unsure of their safety. S(he) is lucky to have someone that cares so much about them. We have various services that may be helpful as well as resources that we can share that may offer assistance during this challenging time.

        Please know that we are here 24/7 offering free and confidential support by phone and chat.

        We wish you well and hope your youth is returned home safely soon.


        Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat which is open every day from 4:30p to 11:30p CST and can be accessed here:

        National Runaway Safeline (Crisis Email)
        1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)
        Tell us what you think about your experience!


        • #5
          I can relate to your story. It is really sad. My stepson has ran away 4 times this past week and half. One day after his 16th birthday. His behavior is very very similar to your son but instead of drinking (which I am not sure if he does or not), it is pot. He is smoking pot, missing school and when he decides to come home because he doesn't have money or need new clothes, he arrogantly says he is entitled to come in because his belongings are in our house. He blames his parents for him running away and all his problems. His mother and her boyfriend have pot in their house and the kid has stolen pot from them.
          It is absolutely frustrating because the whole household is disrupted because of one child who wants to pretend he is an adult because he doesn't want the rules of the household (do chores!). Police can't do anything but parents are still responsible for whatever the kid does. It seems like a messed up system. No matter what you do, nobody is safe (kid is not safe, parents not safe, siblings not safe). Reporting just keep the paper trail and that's what I have been telling my husband: "all you can do is to keep going with the paper trail so the system will see that this youth is out of control."
          We can't hold them to stay home and we can't make them go to school and stay in school but we are responsible for their actions. It is tough.


          • ccsmod7
            ccsmod7 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello there, thanks for reaching out to a fellow parent today. It sounds like you having a lot of trouble at home with your stepson misbehaving and the police failing you in the past. Sorry to hear that you are going through all of that.

            We are not legal experts but from our general knowledge, when a runaway report if filed for a youth it does take the legal liability of the child off of the parents until the minor is found/returned.

            Depending on what state you live in, their might be laws that can help with minors who are out of the control of their parents and are in need of additional supervision. Those laws vary from being divergent to youth service agencies to going through the juvenile justice system. You can call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY if you would like us to look up you state’s Minor in Need of Supervision law.

            Thanks again for reaching out. We truly wish you and your family the best,


        • #6
          Our 16 year old son ran away last Thursday night 4/6 after we told him he could not spend the night at a friends house. He just wanted "to go play video games with his friend and hang out" as they both had late start the next. We said not on a school night. He snuck out of the house and took his car. His grades are not good and he has been saying he want's to quit school. We said just finish school. We found out where he was and who he is with his 18 almost 19 year old girl friend and other minors living with a 23 year old in a trailor home. We drove to the city and found his car and later found him. We took his car. He wouldn't leave with us and left with a friend and informed if we make him go home he will run and we won't find him. We have talked with our really good friends that have been through similar situations and they informed us not to get the police involved? We have been told by numerous people that the police won't help other than if he gets in trouble. Our family doctor informed me that until males are approximately in there mid 20's the frontal cortex of the brain doesn't fully mature and this is where reasoning and logic come from. He informed that if substance abuse is going on then this causes more issues. We know he has been smoking pot. We took his car and put it in a storage. We didn't shut his phone off because we want him to be able to let us know he is ok. He turns it off and shuts off wifi so we can't track him because he ran away before. Our 19 year old daughter has never behaved like this. She is mad at my wife and I for the fact we haven't called the police to go get him and punish him. My wife is mad at my son and I am very hurt and sad. Our son said he is done, he hates our home and he has a new group of friends he calls his family that loves him. He said he is mad and doesn't want to be home due to arguing and yelling in our house. We informed him most of it is due to him not getting his way and we fight over that. I said along time ago that I would get us into family counseling but my insurance doesn't pay for family counseling only individual. So we can all get individual counseling. I called yesterday and one counselor that was recommended in network informed she was hours away from retiring. I called others and left messages. I am desperately to to help my son who thinks he doesn't need it.


          • ccsmod0
            ccsmod0 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hello, Thank you for taking the time to write to us here at the National Runaway Safeline. We are sorry to hear of your son’s disappearance. It sounds like you son has been acting out for a while now and it is really wearing on you and your family. It is great that you have already had conversations with him about getting family and individual counseling. Having someone to talk to can provide a great deal of support and understanding from someone an outside source. We know that you mentioned that your insurance does not cover family counseling services only individual. We do have a database here where we can try to locate local resources that work on a sliding scale. If you would like you can give us a call and we can try to locate some for you.

            We cannot imagine how hurt you must have been by him saying that he has a new family and the no longer wishes to live at your home. Once resource that might be able to help you is state funded programs such as Minors In Need of Supervision (MINS) or Children In Need of Supervision (CINS) they are in pace for parents who have a child who is not behaving accordingly. Since the courts usually use diversion practices you would have to petition the juvenile court to start this process and get more information.
            Again, thank you for contacting us. It definably sounds like you are trying to do your best with that is going on. If you feel comfortable you are more than welcome to call us anytime 1-800-786-2929

        • #7
          My son just turned 16 on his birthday this June. I'm a single parent that wants nothing but the best for my son. We had a pretty good relationship until I grounded him this summer. He took off and went to his grandparents against my will. His Grandparents are emotional abusers and very toxic people so I really don't want him there. He left me a note and said he's doing it for the both of us and to allow him space and a break. I was reluctant at first because of who his grandparents are and i knew he just didn't want to follow my rules. However, I granted his wishes hoping this would help our relationship in the near future. But then I found out my mom and her husband his grandparents gave him a new phone line which is one of the things he got grounded from. And they also gave him permission to leave town against my wishes, and he was given Alcohol under there care when they allowed him to go out of town. So I said no, its time to come home now. He refused and his grandparents refused to encourage him to come back home. Just a real quick back story on my biological mom. She is bipolar and doesn't treat it. She is very munipultive and feeds off control, power, drama bribery and conditional love. I ended up in the hospital for health issues I've been battling since a car accident happened 3 years ago. Ok, so my son came home for one day to take care of me . He then started telling me doesn't know how long he's going to stay, and just stating he doesn't live there anymore. He threatened to leave and I told him he could not. He left again against my will and I called the police to make a report but the police took 3 hours to get back to me so I canceled it. I knew he went back to his grandparents home so he's physical safe has shelter and food. However, my mom and son have turned completely against me . He doesn't talk to me because I would not give him his ssi card to get a job across town from where we live and he goes to school and to get his license. I actually didnt mind him getting his license before all of this started. He started the process but because he was not respecting me and my rules I was not going to allow that privilege to him at this time. Well I'm so hurt and upset that my mom and her husband bought my son a vehicle and some how managed to sign for his license. It's because my mom wants him to stay with her and also she didn't want to drive him across town for school everyday. Anyways he has been missing school the last few days and I'm feeling like grieving because I feel like she has crossed so many parental rights and I have no say so. And She completely took a varnable situation with my health and of my teen son and I disagreeING and ran with it to take control. I need advice. I don't want to file a runaway charge but I feel like I'm out of options at this point. Also, can I file a restraing order on her for what she's doing?!please help


          • ccsmod10
            ccsmod10 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi here,

            Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like this has been a really tough time, but we are here to help you and support you in any way we can. That sounds so stressful and hurtful to feel like your son and your mother are not listening to your wishes.

            We’re not legal experts here at NRS, so we couldn’t provide you with information regarding restraining orders, but we do have legal aid resources you could use to ask specific legal questions. As you mentioned, you could consider going through with a runaway report with the police or taking legal action against your mom. There are also programs in some states (usually called MINS or CHINS) that are meant to help parents deal with out of control youth.

            There are also many resources out there that could help you work through conflict with your family, help you get emotional support, or help you with anything else you may need. If you would like more information about resources or if you’d like to talk more about what’s been going on, you can call us here at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or chat with us online.

            Again, thank you for contacting us. It sounds like you’ve been going through a really hard time, but you’ve shown strength by working through this and reaching out for help. If you ever need anything in the future, please feel free to call us or chat with us online. We’re always here to listen and here to help.

            Be well, NRS
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