Teen Runaways: What Can a Parent Do?

A mom asks for help: "I hope I can find some answers here. I am at my wits end with my teen daughter. She ran away for the second time just before this last Christmas. Before you ask she is 17 will be 18 next month and the state of MI says she is and adult so can't force her to come home. My daughter is a really great kid in many ways. But, she develops very unhealthy attachments to people and when this happens she throws her family away over them.

She ran away this last time over me trying to enforce house rules by taking her cell phone. She left in the middle of the night just before Christmas. I had already spent all night in the emergency room with her one year old brother. I don't understand why she runs away. I am a very good parent to her and I am very loving. It concerns me that she runs away from home over very stupid things and to make things worse, she constantly lies about me and her home life. She tells people that I use her as a slave and that she raises my baby while I lay in bed all day playing video games. I am so angry with all the lies and the running away that I don't even know that I want her to come home. I feel like a bad parent for thinking such things but I don't know how to get past the hurt and anger when she continues to do it. Also, on her way out the door she stole many items including Christmas presents for other people and a large chunk of money in the thousands.

I don't know what to do with her. I don't want her to think I stopped loving her because I didn't. But I don't want her to come home thinking that she can do something like this again. I need her to take responsibility for what she did and truly be sorry. I need her to tell the people the truth. I need her to respect me and see that I am the person who will love her more than anyone else in the world.

How do I get any of this when she is too busy living it up at a friend's house with people who buy into her lies? Should I just let her go? I don't know what to do here. Please help."

Asking our Community of Parents Has your teen run away? What would you do if they did? Please share your experiences, opinions and advice in the comments area.

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