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Over the past several months I have watched my 5 yr old become intrigued with the idea of running away from home. It stated when he saw "Where The Wild Things Are" and you could tell he really related to the little boy. More recently (past few weeks) DH and I have been listening to the 1,2,3 Magic CD's and DS has really become interested in listening as well, paying particular attention to the examples of kids acting out - several of whom threaten to run away.<br><br>
We've been trying the 1,2,3 Magic system and having really good results from day 1 with 7 yr old DS1. DS2, though, is going through a process of testing which doesn't surprise me. So he's been starting to threaten running away and tonight he actually ran out the door and down the street. I followed him to the door and then saw that DH was outside with the dog so, not wanting to feed in to the drama I let DH handle it. DH had to run after him, carry him home, and then had a talk about the reality of the situation (cold, wet, lonely, dark, hungry).<br><br>
I'm sure he's going to do it again and I need to get my game plan together because next time DH might not be outside and I might not hear him leave. One of the things they say on the CD is never chase a martyr (and running away would be martyr behavior). I get the point, and I also don't believe DS2 would stay away for very long. I think he would get cold and lonely pretty quickly and come back. And I'm not typically the worst-case-scenario thinker. But I really don't like the idea of my 5 yr old running around after dark on his way to who knows where. There are too many things that could happen.<br><br>
So on one hand I don't want to encourage negative behavior. I used to think his tendency toward playing the victim role was something we could love out of him - that being the middle child he just felt looked over and ignored a lot and so the solution was pay more attention to him. But that really isn't working and now I'm thinking ignoring the negative behavior and praising the positive is the way to go. But ignoring this feels too dangerous.<br><br>
I also have vivid memories of crying by myself in the various places I would go to hide in our neighborhood when I ran away - wishing somebody would care enough to come look for me, to notice I was gone even. When I think of my little boy feeling that way I want to run right along with him telling him how much we love him and want him with us. But I think that would be me bringing my own issues in to it. The fact is there really was no adult paying attention to me when I was a child but DS2 is being raised in a completely different way - DH and I are very attentive and involved in our kids lives.<br><br>
Thoughts?
 

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The classic is help them pack. Help them pack a lot. See the second chapter of "Anastasia Krupnik" by Lois Lowry for an example. (Anastasia tells her parents that she is running away, and they helpfully load her down with stuff she needs and insist on polishing her silver Christening cup for her to take. They tell her that they're sorry she won't be living with them anymore. Eventually, they persuade her to stay until at least Christmas.)<br><br>
Once you've helped a kid pack, you may have to follow him at a bit of a distance. If you're kid is serious and determined, you may want to find a different solution (or pack him a lot more stuff). And this is a two-adult solution when there is more than one kid at home.
 

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There was a Peanuts strip where Lucy not only helped Linus pack, but she made him tie the belongings up in a bandana on a stick so he'd look more "traditional." I always suspected that might have been based on something Schulz did with one of his children.
 
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