Tag Archives: parenting children who want to run away

There’s No Place Like Home

When my daughter was four years old (she is almost 8 now), she dropped a bombshell that instantly broke my heart.

“I want to run away from here!”

Even though I was a first-time mom, I knew that most children go through a “running away from home” phase. I may have been knowledgeable, but I was not at all prepared for the moment. I felt so betrayed by the child I’d loved and cared for so sacrificially. I clung to the knowledge that she did not mean it, that testing boundaries is a normal part of a child’s emotional development.

And yet I wanted to cry.

I wanted to ask her what her dad and I had done wrong as parents and vow to do better. I wanted to beg my preschooler’s forgiveness for “mean” things I’d done in the past or would do in the future.

Fortunately, I did not give in to these desires. Instead, I calmly began helping her plan her exodus.

“If you want to run away, I suppose the first thing you have to decide is where you’re going to go.”

She was incredulous, but also stubborn. “I will go to grandma’s house.”

I expected this response since Grandma lived a few streets away. It was evening and dark outside, so I posed a logistical question. “Okay, that’s probably a good place to go. So, have you thought about how you are going to get there?”

This seemed like an odd question to her. “You’re going to have to take me, of course.”

I knew my next revelation would throw her. “Well, that’s not really how it works. I do not wish for you to run away, so I’m not going to take you. If it is your desire to run away, you have to do it on your own.”

She immediately started to panic. “But it’s dark outside!” Continue reading There’s No Place Like Home