There are two schools of thought about handling the child who threatens to run away from home. “Okay, I’ll help you pack your things” is one approach, and “Oh no, I love you too much to let you go” is the other.
Now both have worked for many children, and one might be right for yours. The first one can damage fragile self-esteem, and the second may sound insincere and only strengthen determination. There are some intermediate approaches.
• You might want to make sure your child has a place to run to, a friendly neighbor, grandma, aunt, a place where you’ve made sure there will be chores and boredom as well as fun and games.
• Tell your child you’ll miss her very much and add that you understand how angry your child must be to consider to leaving home. Then, try to talk about the problem with your child.
• Offer to go along; you’re tired of the way things are too. A brisk walk down the block might just clear the air.
• Tell your child, “No, you stay here. I’m leaving.” and hope that a humorous tone will change his or her mood.
• And finally, don’t laugh or tease a child when he or she does come home, however soon it might be.
Vicki Lansky’s practical, common sense approach to parenting is familiar to millions throughout the world. Vicki’s first book, Feed Me, I’m Yours, published in 1974, and still one of the most popular baby/toddler food cookbooks in the country, was followed by The Taming of the C.A.N.D.Y. Monster, a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her other titles include: Toilet Training, Birthday Parties Best Party Tips & Ideas For Ages 1-8, Dear Babysitter Handbook, Welcoming Your Second Baby, Getting Your Child to Sleep … and Back to Sleep, Trouble-free Travel with Children, Baby Proofing Basics and Games Babies Play From Birth to Twelve Months, Koko Bear’s New Potty, A New Baby at Koko Bear’s House, Koko Bear and the New Babysitter, and Koko Bear’s Big Earache. Vicki Lansky’s Divorce Book for Parents: Helping Children Cope with Divorce and Its Aftermath