How to prevent your child from running away

Maureen Blaha, Executive Director of the National Runaway Switchboard, shares advice for parents on the best ways to prevent your child from running away from home
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How to prevent your child from running away

There are several things that parents can do to prevent their child from running away. And they may sound like common sense. But I would like to share four of them with you. First of all, pay attention. Really pay attention when your child is talking. Don´t pretend like you are paying attention when you are watching TV or at the computer. Second of all, discuss feelings. If you talk about your feelings and what it is like to be a parent, it helps to create a culture that it is safe for your child to talk about their feelings. Share with them some of the things that you are feeling and encourage them to talk about it. Third, create responsibility. Don´t just tell children what to do, but do talk with them about consequences for risky behavior. And, if it is necessary for punishment, talk to them and ask what do they think might be a fair punishment so that punishment really is in alignment with the crime. And lastly, understand your child. Try and sympathize with them about what they are going through. Remember what it was like for you as an adolescent, which is a really troubling time for lots of kids. And talk about your own situation and really try and sympathize with what they are going through.
TEEN, Parenting Teens, At Risk Youth

Maureen Blaha, Executive Director of the National Runaway Switchboard, shares advice for parents on the best ways to prevent your child from running away from home


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Maureen Blaha

NRS Executive Director

Maureen Blaha is the executive director of the National Runaway Safeline (NRS), the federally-designated national communication system for runaway and homeless youth.  Under her leadership the visibility of NRS and awareness of its 1-800-RUNAWAY hotline has grown, while support has steadily increased in both personnel and finances. Several key accomplishments have been realized during Blaha’s tenure including: a program focused on runaway prevention called Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum; a comprehensive trend data report of crisis calls to 1-800-RUNAWAY used to educate and raise awareness about the runaway crisis in America; “Runaway Youth Longitudinal Study 2011” research that identifies the long-term effects of running away as a youth, which can be used to better educate and encourage parents, teachers and other adults to get involved, address the issues, and ultimately prevent a runaway situation; and National Runaway Prevention Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the issues facing runaway youth and to educate youth, families and the public about resources available to prevent youth from running away.  Additionally, Blaha has been a featured speaker of the Special Victims Assistance Unit for the FBI (2005 and 2010), was invited to speak to UK parliament to help launch The Children's Society of England's national Safe and Sound Campaign (2005), and represented the runaway population at the groundbreaking White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children (2002).  Blaha was selected as the recipient of the CASA of Cook County 2010 Spirit Award and selected to participate in the Laura and John Arnold Giving Library for high-end donors. Blaha serves on the Interstate Commission for Juveniles, appointed in 2009. 

At Risk Youth, At Risk Youth
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