Teenagers Taking Off For Summer Could Mean Running Away
While the summer months mean time off from school for teenagers, it also means more time spent at home. While on the surface most of us cherish the idea of more family time, teenagers can see it as torture, more rules, more chores, more criticism. From their perspective, they may as well be in school.
Allen Cardoza, President of West Shield Adolescent Services, a private company that specializes in teen crisis intervention says "summer is an opportune time for teens to choose running away from home as a viable option. Things that may not have bothered the teenager throughout the year can escalate quickly with more free unstructured time on their hands."
According to National Runaway Switchboard, between 1.6-2.8 million youth runaway each year. West Shield Adolescent Services has successfully served the youth in crisis industry for over the past twenty five years. West Shield utilizes a unique systematic approach Allen Cardoza describes as the, locate, mediate, facilitate solution. This method is exclusive to West Shield Adolescent Services because it draws upon experience in investigation, psychological assessment and intervention, and an international list of exceptionally qualified educational consultants, therapists, and therapeutic schools and programs.
"Through our sister company, West Shield Investigations, we have solved hundreds of runaway cases over the years. After returning some teens numerous times my goal is to help parents prevent or at least thwart the plans of their teenagers who are at risk for running away". Cardoza speaks candidly. As host of the much anticipated internet radio program, Answers 4 the Family on www.LATalkradio.com Allen Cardoza offers these tips especially for the upcoming summer months:
1) Teenagers should have a place to be every day. School has a built in schedule for teenagers to follow. Most claim to hate it, yet they function best in a structured environment where there is some form of measure applied to the day. A first job or volunteer organizations are excellent and productive alternatives to "hanging out".
2) Have absolute times established for when you expect your teenager to check in. Summer is not the time to abandon the curfew set during the school year, especially with a teen having behavior issues. Often times a teenager who has runaway gets a head start because the parents had no clear time when they were expected home.
3) Check your community college for "fun" inexpensive classes in new areas they may not have thought of. Many non-credit courses are fun for teenagers at a community college summer program. Arts and crafts, team sports, computer graphics, and web design are a few examples. Many teens love the idea of being on a college campus and there is a good chance they can discover a productive talent they were not aware of.
While we caution against over simplification, the bottom line is a busy teenager is less likely to get bored and look for excitement somewhere else. In other words help them find reasons to stay rather than run.