Let’s Talk: Don’t Walk Programme
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Let's Talk : Don't Walk
Runaway Prevention Programme
“Let’s Talk, Don’t Walk”
Children run away for a number of reasons. On most occasions they return home safely. However, running away can be a scary thing for both child and parent.
Tips For Parents
How to Try To Prevent Your Teenager From Running Away
- Regularly spend quality time with each of your teens. Listen to them attentively in a non-judgmental way. Praise appropriate behaviour.
- Take their concerns seriously. Do not dismiss their worries and fears.
- Pay attention when they ask you for help. Make your teen your priority.
- Confront trouble signs directly, firmly and calmly. Discuss your concerns and the consequences of continued unacceptable behaviour. Avoid lectures.
- Talk with others. Your teen’s friends, their parents or their teachers may have helpful suggestions.
- Speak with professional counsellors about your situation.
Signs Your Son or Daughter Is Thinking About Running Away From Home
- Changes in behaviour patterns
- Unruly/Rebellious behaviour
- Disclosure of intention to run
- Accumulation of money and possessions
- Appearing distracted
- Problems at home
My child has run away, What can I do?
- Immediately report your child missing to the nearest Police Station. Don’t take anything for granted.
- Try telephoning him or her. If there is no answer leave a text message saying that you love and miss him or her and want him or her to come home.
- Speak to the other youngsters in the home, brother(s), sister(s) cousin(s) or step children.
- Check to see if your child took personal belongings like clothes, money or a telephone charger.
- Check Facebook or other social networking sites that your child may have used.
- Speak to your child’s friend(s)
- Ask yourself the following questions:
- Has my child left home before, and if so, what happened the last time my child left?
- What is my plan when my child returns?
- What might be the reason(s) why my child left home?
What To Do When Your Teenager Returns Home?
- Talk to your child in a compassionate way rather than just punishing them.
- Let them know that running away is dangerous and could cost their life.
- Get to the bottom of why they left home.
- Figure out the exact nature of your child’s concerns.
- Be honest with yourself about your home environment. Is there something that is making your child unhappy? Which environment is causing the stress – friend circles, school or home?
- Show your child unconditional love. Hug your child often, and don’t be afraid to say “I love you” every day.
- Never punish your child when you are angry.
Tips For Children
How to keep Yourself Safe
- Pray before leaving home.
- Always tell your parents, guardians or the adult in charge, where you are going and the time you are expected to return.
- Be honest with your parents about where you have been and who you have been with.
- Take a friend with you when going anywhere. It’s safer and more fun.
- Do not take any treats or gifts offered by people.
- Always lock the door when you are at home by yourself and do not open the door to anyone when you are home alone.
- Never tell anyone that you are alone at home.
- Never go into a public restroom by yourself.
- Always travel in groups and never go alone to malls, movies or game shops.
- Never take short cuts or go to deserted places or areas.
- Don’t wear clothes or carry items with your name on the outside.
- Don’t get into a strange vehicle or go near a strange vehicle with anyone in it. Avoid illegal taxis. (The legal ones carry red license plates).
- Never take a ride from anyone at school without checking with your parents.
- Do no talk to strangers.
- If someone suspicious comes up to you, run away and go somewhere where there are other people.
- If a stranger attempts to touch or pull you, shout very loud, “I don’t know you!”
Don’t Let Them Run!
Building a happy home environment
- Spend quality time with your child, speaking with them and getting to know them.
- Share stories, laughter, and activities (e.g. games, movies).
- Create boundaries that your child understands. Explain how risky it is for them when they leave home.
- Build on your child’s special gifts and talents. Encourage them in the activities they like to do.
- Pay attention to your child’s everyday activities. There are certain behavioural changes that could indicate your child’s intention to run away – packing bags, stowing money, food and their favourite items, can be signs of planning to run away.
- Get outside help if you need it. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you don’t know what to do. You can get help by calling the following agencies:
Hear The Children’s Cry: (876) 929-0431; (876) 294-8124, (876) 822-0483
Child Protection & Family Services Agency: 1-800-776-8328
Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences & Child Abuse (CISOCA): (876) 926-4079