Law enforcement, schools share advice to slow recent trend of runaway teens

Several Mid-Missouri teens have recently been reported as runaways, putting themselves in a dangerous situation (KRCG) 

One of every seven kids in the United States between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away at some point, according to National Runaway Safeline. Several mid-Missouri teens have recently been reported as runaways.

Teenagers in today's world live in a completely different world than their grandparents and even their parents did.

"Social media, text messaging, it's that instant gratification, instant messages from people so that does play a lot that I don't think in the past we've had to deal with a lot," New Bloomfield counselor Dara Reinkemeyer said.

"Every student comes with a problem and they just need help finding out how to deal with it," she added.

While there are no runaway issues at her school, she still talks with students about how they should tackle problems, "Just talking about conflict resolution, whether it's with people or situations and how to deal with it, so first off it's becoming self-aware, identify what the issue is and see how it's affecting you in all aspects of your life. Then, the next thing is being open and honest like they need to be able to communicate what's happening," she said.

"Teens who do run away from home put themselves in a dangerous situation. The last thing we want is a runaway child to go away somewhere and be hurt or be taken from somewhere. We all know about human trafficking, so each one of these is pretty serious," Jefferson City Police Captain Doug Shoemaker said.

He said good communication between the parent and child is the key.

"We really encourage parents to have those discussions with their kids and while it may seem you're micromanaging your kids knowing where they're at and what they're doing, it's really a big help," Shoemaker said.

And while kids are at school, Reinkemeyer gets to make sure her students know they can overcome any obstacle without running from it.

"Helping the students identify their strengths, because kids tend to overlook things that they're good at and a lot of times those strengths can help them overcome obstacles if they put them to good use," she said.

To learn more on how to encourage teens not to run away, click here.

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