Lily, a 14 year old, called the National Runaway Safeline (NRS).  She had decided to run away from home.  She and her mom were fighting all the…

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Lily, a 14 year old, called the National Runaway Safeline (NRS).  She had decided to run away from home.  She and her mom were fighting all the time about the rules. Lily described her living situation as “a prison.”  The rules in her home weren’t fair.  Her mom was too strict and didn’t allow Lily to spend time with her friends.  Lily wanted more freedom.

Lily planned to stay at her friend’s house down the block but she feared that her friend’s parents would let her own parents know that she had run away.  She was feeling overwhelmed and didn’t know where to turn.  Lily felt alone in her frustration with her parents.

Bob, NRS’ frontline team member, asked, “Have you ever told your parents how you feel?”

Lily reluctantly replied, “Umm, I just figured mom knew and didn’t care how I felt.”

While exploring this line of questioning, Lily realized that engaging her parents in a conversation might help.  Bob suggested a conference call between Lily and her mom.  And Lily agreed.

After talking with Lily’s mom separately, Bob learned that Lily had recently been lying about where she was going when hanging out with a particular friend, which is when the rules got more strict. Bob explored whether or not Lily’s mom was open to relaxing any of the rules in the house; Lily’s mom said she was willing to listen to what Lily had to say.  With that agreement in place, Bob brought the two together.  Although Lily acknowledged she was scared, she spoke to her mother and asked for more freedom.  At first, her mom responded with direct and mechanical phrases, but with Bob helping to facilitate the call, mom and Lily opened up and began a more robust communication. Lily’s mom said that she would have to earn some trust back but that they could work on that together. Lily agreed to stay home.

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*Name and location have been changed to honor anonymity

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