Homeless teens aren't always victims of parents

Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2004

I am responding to Mr. Clinton's letter about the homeless teens in our area. He makes it sound as if the whole problem is with the parents. I have to differ with his opinions here. What if this teenager comes from a good family? A middle-class family, the teen raised with love, respect and guidelines? What do you do when this teen decides that he-she does not want to follow the rules anymore? When the teen decides he-she wants out, that the grass is "greener" on the other side of the fence? When the teen starts having sex, misbehaving and begins intimidating parents and siblings? When the teen starts abusing the family emotionally, physically and verbally? How much does the family have to take? When you know your teen is basically a "good teen" down deep, where do you turn for help? Everyway you turn, you hear, "He-she has to be court ordered into the system before we can help you."

What if you are trying to keep your teen out of the system but want to get help for the child? Who can you turn to? Unless you have $40,000 a year to spend on boot camps, most of the teens do not get the help they need to put the family back together.

In school, the teachers tell our children all about their "rights." How the parents cannot discipline them or lay a hand on them in any way. This attitude undermines parental control and rights concerning their children and how they are being raised. The teens hear from other teens how fun and good it is to be out on their own with no rules to follow.

Well, I have to tell those teens right now: No matter where you go or what you do in life, there will always be rules (of some sort) to follow. Life is not easy. Do you plan to work for a living? All jobs have rules to follow. Do you plan to rent an apartment? Apartments have rental rules and regulations. Do you plan to drive a car? Again, the highways have rules and regs to follow, and so on.

It is not always the parents causing the problem. The teen can come home at any given point, providing they follow their parents' house rules. But most teens are too stubborn and bull headed to admit they were wrong. There is a warm room and food for them to eat whenever they are ready to make the move in the right direction. Parents love their children bad or good and will always be there for their kids. Parents establish "house rules" so the children will learn and grow in a safe environment until they reach an age where they can take care of themselves.

God bless those parents who have gone through hell for their children and are still fighting for their children's hearts to be healed and returned to the family safely.

Paula Morrison


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