I’ve been there, and I know the feeling. My teenager was rebellious and utterly disrespectful at one point. He even ran away from home to prove a point. My son was 16 years old back then, and luckily, I made the right choice.
I did something different at that time which angered my son to the core. He hated me for a very long time, but when he understood the reason behind my actions, he was grateful. My son is now 25 years old, has a stable job with opportunities to advance in his career, married, and a baby on the way. He is even planning to buy a small home for his family. My son – the offender at 16, the troubled teen, and the once lost boy; he is now a mature and responsible young man. It has been my dream for him since his birth.
I’m not saying that the things I will discuss here will work for you, but it worked for me. With that, here’s what parents can do with their 16-year-old teens (actually any age as long as he is a minor) who are out of control or who have run away from home.
Denying parental authority and running away from home are considered offenses, but not crimes. If this is a problem in your home, as parents, you can make the following sacrifices:
- Report the child to the authorities
- File a complaint in court
- Have the child emancipated
If the parents wish to declare their teen as a “youth in crisis,” the judge can help them with that. The child will then be forced to return to his home, go to school, or get counseling, and will not be permitted to drive a vehicle. However, please note that the court of limited powers reinforces these orders. By law, holding a minor in detention is strictly prohibited.
As of January 1, 2010, the legislation agreed to raise the age qualified for the Juvenile Court Jurisdiction to 17 years old.
Teens running away from home is off the police’s jurisdiction. However, parents can report the incident to the authorities. The complaint should be written down with the following details:
- The dates concerning the incident
- The behavior of the teen
- Names of some possible concerned people
- Their respective home address
- Where the teen was last seen
- A full description of your child
The police can do the following:
- Take note of the parents’ appearance
- Check the family’s background for assaults and violence
- Refer the case to concerned agencies and check for records
- Provide the parents statements of the relevant agencies and persons
- Encourage parents to file youth crisis petition
Once the report is in and assessed, the police department will immediately update their database, inform all dispatched units and make a public notice of the incident. If the child is found, police are obliged to notify the parents at once.
However, before notifying the parents, the police should ascertain if the child is safe once he is returned home. The police will then check the following factors:
- The parents’ wellbeing upon reporting the incident and learning about the child’s condition
- If there is an existence of abuse, violence, and neglect in the family
- The reasons behind why the teen has run away (private interview)
Once the parents are informed about the location of the child, the officer will do the following:
- Accompany the teen to his home, to another place wherein the teen will stay if not with his parents or a temporary shelter.
- Refer the kid to Probate Court
- Hold the teen in protective custody for a maximum of 12 hours while the department finds a suitable place for him.
- He will not be held in jail.
- Take the child to the concerned agencies, whether he likes it or not.
- Refer the child to a bureau concerning the youth.
If neither of the actions above is appropriate, the case will then be referred to Juvenile Court.
We will stop right here, and I will let you process the information you’ve read. As for me, I did what I had to do with my son – I put him in jail. I called the police and I got him arrested. It’s not one of my proudest moments, but my son is a better person now because of what I did. He has bounced around from one agency to another until the courts ruled that he had to man up and do certain things, or else he will be put in prison for a long time. I think that was my son’s turning point.
My husband and I got divorced. I guess he didn’t like the idea of me pushing our son to the authorities. But when our son held his first job, his father asked me out for lunch, and he apologized. It was a proper closure for us both.
Anyway, watch out for the part two of this article. I hope you gained insights from my personal experience, and from the provisions of the law.