By definition, a runaway is a person who leaves the home of his or her legal guardian without permission. Researches exhibit that 1 out of 6 individuals runaways from home. Studies show that more than 1.5 million teens run away from home each year. Any of the family members including a wife, husband, son, daughter, brother or sister can take this bold step. Statistics indicate that men are comparatively more vulnerable to runaway than women, and there is a common observation that the chances of women are very minimum to return after a runaway incident as compared to men. The reason behind this can be the social or cultural stigma attached to female runaways. The act of running away is perceived as a quick fix by the individuals. Moreover, there are usually uncontrollable emotions behind that are activated when the decision of running away is taken. Individuals usually run away out of an impulse which they hope will solve and settle the problems they face at home. However, unfortunately, this step worsens the situation and causes more troubles in their life than they had imagined. Although the runaways are usually in dire need to be away from their homes for the time being, yet staying away from home develops further issues for them and they have to face adverse consequences after running out of their homes such as drug abuse, sexual or physical abuse, physical diseases, hunger, or the involvement in several immoral or criminal activities.
When we talk about the factors associated with runaway tendencies, then a broad range of aspects arise on the surface. Historically, the runaway was considered as a manifestation of an individual’s desire for independence. However, current researches identify several other contributing factors as well that play a motivational role for a person to run away. One of the most common causes of runaway is drug abuse. Several types of research on runaways have confirmed that around 70% of the runaway population is involved in drugs or alcohol. Apart from drug abuse, there are other factors as well that works as a catalyst. These factors lead the individuals to run away from their homes as a result of the emotional burden they carry with themselves. They see running away as a cry for help, having no one to turn to. The presence of toxic people in the family is also a strong factor behind the decision to run away from home. Toxic people are the ones who are judgmental, provoking, discouraging, dominating, temperamental, and cause pain for others around. Many elders in the family unknowingly act as toxic persons such as parents, grandparents or spouse which can have a negative influence on the people around. Current researches also identify dysfunctional, abusive, and neglectful homes as the chief explanation for why youth run away. Combinations of parental neglect, physical or sexual abuse, violence, family conflicts, and poor relationship with the parents all can work as a motivation for youth to run away.
Another most common reason teens prefer to run away from home is the feeling that their family does not support or understand them. If the teens are provided with a strong support system at home and given a feeling that they can comfortably rely on their family, then the odds of running away decline to a great extent. Runaway has three phases. The first phase is called blast. It is a phase in which a person runs away from home. The second phase occurs when that person comes back to his or her home. The third phase is called blast again phase. In this phase, a person runs away from home once again. Now the most crucial phase is the second phase as it is the weakest phase for a runaway. The family should make the most out of this phase. They should be engaged in assertive interaction, empathic listening and practice healthy communication with the person to ensure that he or she does not go for another runaway attempt.