Online Parent Support Chat

Daughter took friend's car and is still gone...

Parents Support One Another @ = I need help with the following issue:

I previously wrote in the chat box, but now I see I can get feedback here and I do need it. My daughter, 17, non-driver, not licensed, took a friend's car today and is still gone. I feel terrible. The friend is a Marine that just got back from the field, only to find his new vehicle gone. He doesn't want to press charges. The sheriff said all I can do is report her a runaway. I want her safe, I pray she is safe; doesn't have an accident and doesn't wreck this nice young man's vehicle. He had loaned the car to a common friend who gave my daughter the keys earlier today. What a mess! I have been so grateful for this parenting program, and still I am exhausted-- a single mom, two part-time jobs... but you know my daughter is out of control, surely, and yet I am so hopeful, just don't see the end of the tunnel it ahead somewhere...? I am real glad I am in the part of the E-book about letting go, and forgiving... Sorry this is so long, but it is very cleansing writing, and knowing there are others out there dealing with similar difficulties. Thank you for being there...This is painful. I sure hope my daughter and the car are okay. And I will not give up.


Mark Hutten, M.A. said...

When parents begin to implement appropriate discipline
for broken house rules, some children may respond by
threatening to runaway from home if they do not get their
way. If this occurs, defuse the situation, but do NOT
threaten or challenge your child.

For example, say something along these lines:

"Son, you know that I can't control you. And if you really
want to run away from home, I can't stop you. I can't watch
you 24 hours a day, and I can’t lock you up in the house.
But no one in the world loves you the way I do. That is why
we have established these house rules.

Because I love you, I can't stand by and watch you hurt
yourself by _______________ (e.g., not going to school,
using drugs or alcohol, destroying house property, etc.),
and running away from home will not solve the problem.
You and I know it will only make matters worse."

If, after trying to defuse the situation, your child runs anyway,
follow these guidelines:

Children who run away are not bad. They have made a bad
decision. They got themselves caught up in pressures that
they felt the need to escape from. Instead of facing their
problem and solving it, they chose to run from it. We need
to teach our children how to face their problems, even if the
problem is us. When they have the right tools to fix some of
the things that may be going on in their lives, the pressure
lessens, and there is no more need for them to escape.

Parents of children who run away are not bad parents.
You cannot lock them in. As much as you would like to
build a wall around them, it is their choice whether or not
to walk out the door.

If your child runs:

* Call the Police, IMMEDIATELY! Don't wait 24 hours,
do it right away.
* Ask investigators to enter your child into the National
Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Persons
File. There is no waiting period for entry into NCIC for
children under age 18.
* Get the name and badge number of the officer you
speak with.
* Call back often.
* Call everyone your child knows and enlist their help.
* Search everywhere, but do not leave your phone
* Search your child's room for anything that may give
you a clue as to where she went.
* You may also want to check your phone bill for any
calls they may have made recently.
* Call the National Runaway Switchboard 1-800-621-
4000. You can leave a message for your child with

When your child comes home:

Take a break from each other. Do not start talking about it
right away. Your emotions are too high at this point to get
anywhere in a conversation. Go two separate directions
until you both have gotten some rest.

Ask and Listen. Why did they leave? You may want to
evaluate a rule or two after speaking with them, but do not
do so while having this talk. Tell them you are willing to think
about it, and you will let them know.

Tell them how you felt about them going. Let them know
that they hurt you by leaving. Let them know that there isn't
a problem that can't solve. If they ever feel that running away
might solve something, have them talk to you first. You
could always offer other choices, so they can make a better

Get some help. If this isn't the first time or you have
problems communicating when they get back, it's time
to ask for help. This could be a person that your child
respects (e.g., an aunt or uncle), or you may want to seek
professional help.


Anonymous said...

Things To Do If Your Teen Runs Away

Dial 911 as soon as you suspect your child has disappeared and demand that a police report be filed immediately.

Record the officer’s name, badge number, telephone,

fax and report numbers. Ask who will follow up the initial investigation.

After you call the police, call the Sheriff's Department, state police, and police from adjoining jurisdictions. File reports, record the officers' names, badge numbers, telephone, fax, and report numbers.

Check with your child's friends, work, neighbors, relatives, or anyone else who may know of your child's whereabouts. Ask them to notify you if they hear from your child.

Go to your child's school, speak with teachers and staff, and go through your child's lockers and desks.

Find out if any of your child's friends are missing. They may be together.

Notify the local FBI office and have your child's description entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer. Obtain the nine-digit NCIC number for your child's case.

Notify border patrols. Ask your local law enforcement agency or missing child agency agency to provide these numbers.

Check home computers for leads such as online contacts and details of a planned meeting.

Call missing children helplines, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST and Operation Lookout at 1-800-782-SEEK.

Call runaway hotlines if you suspect your teen is a runaway, such as the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000.

Notify your state's missing children information clearinghouse and other helping organizations.

Keep a record of everyone you contact, including date and time, name of person, organization, phone number, and information received.

Keep your home phone staffed and record conversations. This may be the only way your child knows how to reach you.

Close the door to your child's room and don't touch anything in there.

Find pictures of your child to use in the search. Choose photographs that are recent and realistic.

Check telephone bills for the past few months for any unfamiliar long distance calls.

Cooperate fully with the police and the media.

Contact runaway shelters in your area and in nearby areas and states. Give them your child's photograph. If your teen gives an incorrect name and age, it will help identify him/her.

Contact hospitals, abortion clinics, drug treatment centers, and counseling services in your area.

Leave flyers at youth hangouts, malls, and recreation centers. You can create, display, and print a Missing Person Flyer from your computer.

Offer a reward. The Carol Sund / Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation provides Missing Person-Criminal Apprehension Rewards of up to $10,000.

Hire a private investigator.