What To Do When Your Foster Child Runs Away

if your foster child does run away, I suggest reading the teen novel "Pictures of Hollis Woods". It will enlighten you to many foster children's minds and help you realize that running away is often a habit and a defense mechinism for foster children. It doesn't mean you did anything wrong. And it doesn't mean they did either. But how can you help prevent your child from running away again?

Do not scold your child for running away: When your child does come home, do not be mad at them. Although it may be hard to keep your temper when you are worried and angry- opt to tune into your relieved emotions instead. Don't get mad. It will only reinforce your child's behavior by letting them know they got a reaction.

Talk about it: Once your child is safe and home, sit them down and talk about it. Ask them questions such as "Why did you run away", "Have you run away before?", "Where did you go?", and "Did I do something wrong?".

Listen to what they have to say: Listen without judgement to what they say. Let them be open and discuss their issues with you. Let them know that you understand why they ran away. But also let them know that you worry about them, and you want to find other ways they can deal with emotions rather than running away.

Ask them about places they'd like to run away to: Ask them if they could run away to anywhere- where would they go, and why? This can open up a lot of insight into your child's dreams of the future or positive memories of the past- which can create a positive discussion that helps work through emotions involved in running away.

Talk to them about times they've run away before: If your child has run away before, discuss why they've run away. Maybe they've had bad past experiences with foster parents- and they're afraid those experiences will happen again. No matter the reasons they ran away before- always ensure them that they don't need to run away here- they can come to you when they have problems.

Find alternative ways for them to 'run away': There are many safer ways to 'run away' and when your child feels the need to be independent and alone- that's okay. But there are some steps they can take to help all of you stay safe.

Let me know you need to 'leave' and where you're going: Before your child runs away next time, tell them to write a note of where they are going. Have them choose a public place like a library or local food joint. This will give them a way to get away, but also give you a way to find them if they don't come home in an appropriate amount of time. Let them know you'll give them their 'alone time', but if you start to worry- you will come and check up on them.

We can go to a hotel room for a night: Yep, it may sound a bit dramatic, but it works. Sometimes your child doesn't want away from you- they just want out of the house. So let them know that on nights when they just can't stand being home, that you're open to go and stay at a local hotel for a night. It's a safe way to get away together. Opt not to make this into a habit and limit it to once every one or two months.

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