Running Away?

Have things at home reached the point where you just can’t handle them anymore? Maybe your parents still treat you like a kid. Maybe you feel they don’t love you, or even want you around anymore.


You may want to leave to get away from the problems at home and get back at your parents for the way you feel they’re treating you. Before you do anything, please listen to us for a few minutes. We’ll explain what could happen if you run away. At the end of this message we’ll give you a telephone number to call if you want more information or help. if you’re already on the road and things have gotten out of control, please stay on the line; there is help available.

If you run away from home, in most areas, the Police and Sheriffs Department can prove to be real friends. They’re there to help you, not punish you. They want to help you and your family work out problems. if the situation at home is really bad, they can make suitable arrangements for you. Most communities have shelters or “group homes” where you can be placed until things can be worked out. In a shelter, you will live with a group of kids who are in the same situation as you. You will be treated fairly. Counselors will be available to talk to about your problems and answer your questions honestly. They can be a lot of help, if you want them to be.

What can you expect if you run away from home? While you’re on the road, you can expect to get lonely, hungry, and often, cold. You won’t always find a place to stay. In most cities, the streets are violent and dangerous. Drug and alcohol abuse is everywhere. As a runaway you become a perfect target for pimps, pornographers, and others who will use you. You might find yourself hustling, dealing drugs and stealing just to feed yourself. if you’re abused or mistreated, you may be afraid to report it to the police fearing they’ll arrest you and send you home. Another thing to consider is medical attention. Without your parents’ consent, it will be difficult to get treatment if you’re hurt or seriously ill.

However, it is possible to find a safe place to stay or go for help. From coast-to-coast, there is a network of special runaway shelters. Many are professionally staffed, and offer counseling and assistance with getting you home. At one of these shelters you won’t be abused or taken advantage of.

If you still feel that running away is the only answer – run to the nearest telephone and call the National Youth Emergency number at 1-800-621-4000. They can direct you to a safe runaway shelter, send messages home for you, or give you the number of someone to talk to. Your call will be confidential, and you can remain anonymous. These are people who care, and understand how you feel. You may be able to find some solutions to your problems without running away. That number again, is 1-800-621-4000. It’s a free call, and won’t be recorded on your parent’s phone bill if you’re calling from home.

There are people who really understand and who want to help you! What have you got to lose by making one more phone call! So call now, 1-800-621-4000.


For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.