Runaway Prevention Tips for Parents

  1. Pay Attention. When your children are talking with you, listen. Don't just nod your head while you're watching television or reading the paper. Don't just PRETEND to listen to them.
  2. Give Respect. Acknowledge and support your children's struggle to grow to maturity.
  3. Understand. Try to sympathize with what your kids are going through. Look at life - at least occasionally - from their point of view. Remember that when you were their age, your ideas seemed to make sense to you.
  4. Don't Lecture. All children hate to be lectured to, especially teenagers. Kids respond to clear information and direction, most of all when they know that the questions they ask will be answered.
  5. Don't Label. The throwing of useless labels will only confuse the real issues that you wish to address.
  6. 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.
  7. Create Responsibility. Give you children choices, not orders. Help them to understand the consequences of their actions.
  8. 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) as you criticize behavior that you don't like.
  9. Stop Hassling. Asking your child too many questions only shuts off information. Give them the opportunity to volunteer their thoughts and feelings, while you show a sincere interest, without probing.
  10. Don't Always Give the Answers. You want your children to be able to find their own answers or solutions to problems. You can help this by not giving them the answers all the time.
  11. Use Team Work Work together with your child to lay out the problems and find a mutually agreeable solution.
  12. The Key Issue. You must tell your child that, NO MATTER WHAT, you will always love that child.