How Can A Runaway Hotline Help a Single Parent?
March 21st is National Single Parent Day, which is, according to Parents Without Partners, a day for “honoring the single parent who is basically doing double duty and giving them respect.” Parenting is already challenging when both mother and father are in the home. Single parents must deal with the challenges, heartache, disappointments, and victories alone. However, there are resources that exist. A twenty-four-hour crisis hotline for youth can be especially helpful for a single parent.
Crisis hotlines that serve youth and families including the National Runaway Safeline (NRS), offer services and resources that single parents can rely on for assistance. Parents are able to connect through NRS’ hotline or 1800RUNAWAY.org online services (live chat, email, forum) and communicate with trained and caring individuals who can assess needs and suggest resources that can help.
If you are a single parent, have you experienced these thoughts when dealing with your children?
My Child Is Driving Me Crazy
NRS receives connections from parents all over the country that are truly struggling with their children for a variety of reasons. Each case is unique and NRS’ frontline team takes the time to listen and support each person. These are the ways that NRS can help those in need:
- NRS listens. NRS’ frontline team is trained through NRS’ crisis intervention model, which provides non-sectarian, non-judgmental support to parents and youth in need. The goal is to listen with an empathetic ear and give the person support.
- NRS is confidential. NRS respects the privacy of those who access services. Confidentiality is respected and preserved in order to protect those in crisis.
- Contacts receive the same service regardless of medium. NRS can be contacted via hotline, email, forum or live chat. In each medium, users can expect to receive the same kind of care and approach, as well as access to resources.
- NRS provides coping strategies. In order to help those in crisis, NRS provides strategies that can help diffuse situations and open up a dialogue between youth and families.
- NRS provides a plan of action. NRS works with youth and parents to empower them to make decisions on what their next steps will be once the call/connection is over.
My Child Is Not Talking To Me
When a parent and child are not communicating, NRS provides services that can help improve the communication breakdown within families. Frontline team members act as a medium between youth and parents in order to foster a conversation. Here are some options:
- Conference Call: If parents need help connecting with their children, NRS can set up a three-way telephone conversation. A frontline team member will stay on the line to mediate. NRS will guide the call so that both parent and youth can understand each other.
- Message Service: A parent can give NRS a message for a youth, or youth can pass a message to a parent through NRS, and NRS will deliver it. This is a method that can open dialogue and start a conversation in a less heated way.
My Child Is Thinking About Running Away
If a single parent believes that his/her child is considering running away from home, a helpful step would be to try to sit down with the youth and listen. Ask questions. Build understanding. Instead of arguing, try to see his/her point of view. Share concerns.
You may ask:
- Where will you stay? Is it safe in that location?
- What about school? How will you continue to get an education?
- How will you support yourself? Shelter? Food? Transportation?
- What are the issues that caused you to think about running away? What can be done to create a better environment at home?
- How can I help?
My Child Has Run Away
If a child has left home, these are questions to consider and options that a parent can explore with the help of NRS.
NRS may ask:
- Have you filed a missing person report with the police or local law enforcement?
- Has s/he left before? What happened the last time s/he left?
- What is your plan if s/he returns? What guidelines can you put in place once s/he comes back home?
- What does your child need from you? What do you need from your child?
- What might be the reason for him/her running away? What can be done at home to improve the environment?
NRS also offers more tips for single parents that are struggling with their child at home available for download.
Single parents have unique challenges in raising a child or children. The National Runaway Safeline can be of assistance beyond a runaway situation. NRS is here to listen and to assist with resources. Please give NRS a call or send an email, use our live chat function, or text NRS at 66008.
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