Far Away From Home

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Freshman (College 1st year) ・Sociology ・MLA ・1 Sources

If more teenagers flee their homes for unknown locations, the number of runaways is on the rise. These runaways could last anywhere from one night to several years. Between the ages of ten and eighteen, one out of every seven children in the United States will run away from home (Veladota, 12). At some point in their lives, a large number of teenage boys and girls run away. Peers and the media influence teenagers in both positive and negative ways during their adolescent years. Since teenagers are still forming their beliefs and ideas, these factors can be influential.

They are often encouraged by their friends and the media to test new and risky things out and still be safe. At this age, they yearn for complete freedom away from their parents and guardians. However, the parents and guardians are not ready to give them the complete freedom for the safety of their children, and that they are there to support them as they move to adulthood and become independent. As the teen are torn between wanting freedom and care from their parents, a significant number of them run away from homes. Three major reasons why they run away are an abusive home and school environment, feeling of been unwanted, and an unhealthy environment.

A common contributor that drives teens to run away is an abusive environment. When children grow to become teenagers, and they get subjected to various forms of physical and sexual violence, emotional and verbal harassment they opt to move away from their homes. Teens who grow in such abusive environment feel that their parents or guardians do not support and accept at homes. They experience emotional struggle for them, and their families become unbearable for them. These types of mistreatment from guardians or parents cause a significant number of teens to leave their homes to escape these environments and go out to try life on their own. An abusive environment may also be experienced in schools. In schools where there many unresolved bullying and harassment, teens turn out to the option of running away both from school and home since they feel the environment is no more bearable for them.

An unwanted teen is another reason for teens to leave their homes. There exist various reasons why teens may become unwanted in their homes. Some of these reasons are gay and lesbian teens. Though any teen could be a potential runaway, gay and lesbian teens are at a higher risk. According to National Runaway Switchboard, teens that fall at the sexual minority group such as bisexual, gay, transgender, and lesbian are vulnerable to running away (Veladota, 17). They are vulnerable to become unwanted in their homes, and they are pushed out. Most parents or guardians do not accept and understand these teens for who they are. At school, they face criticism from teachers and their friends who in most cases tease, threaten, and abuse them physically and verbally because they view them as different. According to Veladota, two out of five in gay and lesbian teens have been assaulted. A significant number of these cases, three-fifths, occur at their homes (2004; 17).

An unhealthy environment, a huge number of Runaway teens, comes from homes that alcohol and other drug abuse is common. Parents, guardians, or other family members may be users of drugs. These caregivers when under the influence of the drugs become unable to perform their duties adequately. These duties include cooking, ensuring a clean house, driving the teens to school, and catering for the needs and other necessities for their children. For addicted caregivers, living under a clean and safe environment is not a priority and concern on raising their children is also compromised. Also, parents under the influence are not able to know when their child is ill or hurt and needs their attention. Teens living with addicted parents also do not get enough attention, leaving them with the feeling of isolation, insecurity, and being neglected. In this environment, even though the parents may not harm the children physically many teens face serious safety and health risks.

In conclusion, teenagers run away from homes because of an abusive home environment, treated as unwanted, and an unhealthy environment. There exist other reasons for teen runaway such as the absence of one parent, poverty, mental illness, peer pressure, or boredom. A small number of runaways from homes leave the comfort of their homes for adventure and sexual experiences. Runaways are at great risk, especially for their health. At the streets where most runaways go to, they face exposure to pregnancy, a threat to their lives, sexually transmitted diseases, exposure to drugs, and malnutrition. Therefore, government and other non-government organizations need to step up their concern for the runaway teens. Parents and guardians can also help reduce the high number of teens runaway, and an effective way is maintaining an open relationship between them and their children, especially the teens.

Works Cited

Veladota, Christina. Teen Runaways. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2004. Print.

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