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There
are about 2.8 million youths who run away each year (Mehta). Most of the youths
that runaway end up being beaten and starved on the streets. Mehta states,
“When kids run from home, initially they are very vulnerable to perpetrators
and often becomes victims of crime.” The teens who leave home and can’t find
money end up stealing things that are a necessity to their survival. Teens
normally do not think about running away, but something provokes them to do it.
There are several leading factors that cause teenagers to runaway from home.

            One of the main reasons teenager’s
runaway is they want to feel free and independent. Teenagers must always
disagree with what their parents say because they always want to be right.
Whether it is the parents deciding who the teenagers friend is, to not wanting
them to go to parties the teenager will always disagree with what the parents
say (Mehta). They think because the parents do not agree with there decision it
is okay for them to run away. However, the teens do not know how to live on
their own. By wanting to feel free and independent, they think they are all
grown up and ready to find themselves a home and food. They are not. When teens
runaway from home they end up sleeping on the streets (Martinez). Most Runaway
Teens Return Home With Help of Family Ties, Study Finds states, “Our finding
goes against the grain of what most people envision a homeless teenager’s life
to be – a life filled with maltreatment, substance abuse disorganization,
conflict and violence.” Living on the streets is a dangerous place where teens
could get into situation that can get them in trouble and scar them for life. Most
of the teenagers end up returning home from the streets because they are not as
prepared as they thought they were (Runaways). It is very difficult for teens
to live on their own, even if they think they are ready. Runaways states,
“Often these children are just making poor, immature choices. They think they
are so grown-up and really do not have a clue what surviving in the real world
takes.” Teens are not thinking through what they are doing, and they are not
thinking of the consequences or effect that running away has on their life. The
teenagers also runaway to feel free and independent because they want to show
they do not need their parents taking care of them all the time. Most parents
fed, clothed, housed and taken care of them their whole life (Runaways). All
the parents want to do it protect them, but the teens just want to do things
for themselves. Teens mostly runaway to take control of their lives (Martinez).
By taking control of their lives, they feel independent and free. It is
difficult for a parent to see their kids making these choices and for them not
being able to help them. Teenagers run away because they want to feel free and
independent.

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            Another reason that teenagers feel
they need to runaway is, they disagree with what their parents say. Parents
always know what is right for their children even if the child thinks it is
wrong. Most of the times teens do not see, but they hangout with the wrong types
of people (Mehta). The teens think they are there friends, but parents can see
when a friend is not a real friend. Mehta writes about a story where it
explains a situation where a parent did not like the friends her child, Maria, was
hanging out with. “Maria’s mother didn’t want her daughter going to parties and
had just taken away her phone,” In a result of her daughter not agreeing with
her mother’s approach she ran away with her “friend” who had previously ran
away. Teenagers also run away because the parents disagree with who the child
is dating. Many parents don’t think that who their child is dating is the right
person for them. They either think they are a bad influence or they just are
not the right one for their child. When a parent forbids a child for seeing
someone that they like, they runaway to be with them (Mehta). “He’d been
grounded for two weeks with no phone or TV privileges. Then he got a call from
his girlfriend, and his stepdad ‘flipped out’. Key left home and ended up at a
shelter.” This quotation came from Mehta where she writes about when a parent
disagreed with the child’s dating life. Schaffner also writes, “She said that
she ran away from home because of fights over the friends she was seeing,
especially her 18-year-old boyfriend, who her mother wanted to have arrested
for statutory rape.” This is another example on when a parent disagrees with a
teens dating life. A teenager disagreeing with what their parents say might
also play a factor when a teenager is trying to come out, he/she is pregnant,
or did something bad. The teens do not want to face their parents with the
decision that they made, because they think the parent will disagree with them.
Teens try there best to make their parents proud, but when they do something
that their parents would not approve of they get scared and run away from their
problems. From Schaffner writes about a story when a child beat up someone at
school and didn’t want to face her parents, so she ran away. Other teens
runaway to avoid telling them they are gay or pregnant (Mehta). Teens just want
their parent to accept them and to not disagree with their actions.

            The last factor that causes
teenagers to runaway is they have an unstable and/or abusive home life. Parents
sometimes abuse the children mentally and physically and the only option is for
the child to do is run away.  Runaways
states, “Often children live in homes with parental substance abuse, domestic
violence, and many times physical, emotional sexual abuse.” The children have
no way of protecting themselves in this kind of situation and the only option
is for them to run as far away as they can from their parents. In certain times
the abusive parents won’t let their child leave because they believe there
child is going to tell someone (Runaways). Schaffner writes about many
different stories when teens were abused mentally and physically at home. An
example of one of those stories is, “She was chocking me… but I did not hit her
back. I called her a name and that was it. When I tried calling the cops, she
hung up the phone and started punching me. After she was done hitting me, she
yelled at me for an hour.” Instead of this girl trying to defend her self and
ask for help, she just ran away (Schaffner). Teenagers also run away from an
unstable home life if the parents are an alcoholic or a drug addict. When the
parents are an alcoholic or a drug addict it makes the parents very violent
towards the teen. A 14-year-old girl named Eva lived in a crack house where she
had an abusive, alcoholic mother. People would come to her house to buy and
smoke cocaine. (Schaffner). Eva did not feel safe and her only option was to
run away. In the midwestern, about two-thirds of teenagers ran away do to drug
use in their home (Mehta). In other cases, parents just no longer want their
children, so they kick them out. Parent’s sometimes are done with the
frustration and the exhaustion of their children, so they just kick them out
(Runaways). Then the child is forced to live on the streets and survive on
their own.

            Teenage run away is a huge problem
that is faced all around the world. It is a problem and if people know the
factors of it then it can help be prevented. Teenagers wanting to be free and
independent, teenagers disagreeing with what their parents say, and teenagers
having an unstable and/or abusive home life is three of the main factors that
causes teenagers to run away.