Young Teenagers Leaving Home Without Prior Warning
During the last two weeks, I have a number of anguished e mails from a mother worried for the welfare of her 17 year old daughter who has never posed any problems like that before.
The girl went to school as usual and then disappeared, turning up at the home of other family members. She has now done this twice and her mother has been unable to discover what was wrong. She finishes school at the end of this year.
I do not know this young woman but think I can guess at the problem. It is a very cramped chaotic household and I think she just wanted some space and privacy, she is the eldest of a family of five, the youngest just turned six.
The family is also Pacific Islander and of course their culture is also involved. She may have had less freedom and been expected to do more at home than what her friends are doing.
Years ago at the age of 16 and a half, the mother ran off with an older man and they later on had their family, the seventeen year old being the oldest. It is likely too that someone has told the girl about this.
I have said to the mother that her daughter is growing up and that she has to go along with it so long as the girl is not in any trouble with bad friends or the law.
If she is to leave home then she must help prepare her for independence and make her realise what living away from home with expenses that she must be responsible for means. She has to have an income to pay for these things.
Maybe she has freedom to come and go as she pleases but she must consider her flatmates and the neighbours. She has to learn the hard way to make decisions, and to know when a situation is dicey and to not to have anything to do with it.
Kids do decide to leave home at various times, once they are 16, they can leave so long as they are able to keep themselves. There may be family conflicts, parents unable to accept the child is maturing and wants some space and freedom, plus feeling they are old enough to make decisions for themselves.
Of course there are the scenarios of failing at school and getting involved with dubious friends and into contact with dishonesty, alcohol, drugs and all the rest. This is usually at a younger age when they have not the maturity and knowledge to know what they could be becoming involved with.
I feel in the end that this mother and daughter will come to an agreement.