This is a
symptom seen in children when they are under some form of
conflict which Psychologists call STRESS. This occurs
predominantly in male children. This involves sudden or
preplanned running away from one's own home to the house of a
relative or a of friend or to some distant place the child has
once visited, or to a place which is totally unknown to the
child. Having reached the place or on his way, the child realises
that he cannot sustain for long without the emotional and
economic support of the parents. At that point, the child decides
to return and tries to come back home or would let the parents
inform his hideout. The disappearance usually does not prolong
for more than a week.
When the child returns,
he is most likely to appear shy, guilt ridden, submissive and
silent. At that point those who receive the child back should not
find fault with him nor scold or punish him as the child expects
the worst. Slowly some one in the family with whom the child has
good emotional link could start exploring the reasons for the
running away. Such a child is best eased back into the main
stream of the day to day family life with pieces of advice that
it is not healthy to run away and that he should muster courage
to face situations of stress. A close relative without any tint
of black mailing may meaningfully counsel one-time runners.
However, habitual runners need counselling or psychotherapy from
Why Do Children Run
All children are
basically insecure, as they are emotionally immature. This
immaturity is part of the growing process. Each day they become
more and more secure if the family is a close knit one with
enough freedom for communication and emotional expression.
Thus children run away
because of the following reasons:
- Constant quarrels
of parents, causing severe insecurity in the child.
- If they feel
- Sibling rivalry or
arrival of a new child.
- Fear of physical
danger like the father beating them for a certain
- Fear that there
will be withdrawal of emotional support for wrong doings.
- Failure or decline
in the examination or test paper.
- If prone to
- To accompany a
friend in distress.
- First and foremost
understand that children are immature and impulsive.
- On return do not
accuse or punish the child. A person who has good rapport
with the child can slowly open up the issue and allow the
child to give vent to his emotions and guilt feelings.
- Assure the child
that he was not wrong but his action was unbecoming of a
- Tell the child that
every body has periods of insecurity and uncertainty and
that squarely facing the situation alone would solve the
- Make the child
understand that his was an action of escapism and that it
- Train the child for
healthy coping of similar situations.
- If the above fail,
seek the help of a counselor or Psychologist.
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