In today’s world, teenagers are dealing with different and pressing issues, some of which are far more pervasive than in the past. Peer-pressure,…

In today’s world, teenagers are dealing with different and pressing issues, some of which are far more pervasive than in the past. Peer-pressure, drugs, alcohol, sex, and the falling economy have become even greater factors in higher rates of addiction, prostitution, running away, and teen suicide. Last week, I answered a call from a 13 year old girl experiencing peer pressure to run away. The girls’ best friend was having issues at home and kept saying things like: “If you love you, you’ll come with me…” and “you won’t be my best friend anymore if you don’t run away with me…” To a younger teen, these words can leave a harsh and jarring impact. In junior high and high school, friendships are so very fragile and can be weakened or (dare I say it) broken by the simplest damaging gesture. To this particular girl, the thought of possibly losing her best friend forced her to consider running away from her own family, with whom she had a wonderful relationship with. After speaking with her for about 45 minutes, going through the crisis intervention model, and doing some serious reality checking, I simply asked the girl: “Do you think running away is your best option right now?” “No, I can’t do it,” She said. “I hope my friend will understand.” “Me too,” I said. “But, I think you made the best decision for yourself, and that is what is important…” I don’t know why, but after this particular phone call, my mind started to race. Why is it that we let our friends play such a crucial role in our decision making process? Why is it that we, ourselves, cannot always find the answers that suit us best? These are tough questions, and I don’t think I will ever be able to answer them… but at least I know, should I ever need help with such a crisis, I can always count on 1800-RUNAWAY. – Scott