There are many reasons that a teenager would resort to running away from home. However, a lack of parental understanding and the child\u2019s need for a meaningful sense of belonging are the main factors of teens running away from home, said SHELTER Home for Children therapy and counselling head Vincent Pee. From his experience, he stated that teenagers would run away because they wanted to seek freedom due to an overly constrictive home environment. He added that some teens would claim to have parents who are breathing down their necks, while others mentioned being physically abused at home, reported The New Straits Times. Due to such situations, teens would opt to seek shelter at their friends\u2019 homes and disappear for months. Some may eventually return home after a while, whereas others would decide to sever ties with their family. SHELTER lends a listening ear by providing counselling services to teens who seek help in dealing with problems at home or in school. (Image Credit: SHELTER) Providing Shelter for Children SHELTER is a registered welfare organisation established in 1981 to help abused, abandoned, neglected or at-risk children. Social empathy is vital in understanding why youngsters turn wayward and choose to go down this path. He also said that when teens feel that no one understands them, they will go to people who are willing to listen. SHELTER lends a listening ear by providing counselling services to teens who seek help in dealing with problems at home or in school. Children who run away from home tend to be secondary school students. He stated that for the teens, running away is the easiest way to deal with a difficult situation, which is by escaping from the unhappy environment. Identifying the root cause of the runaways would aid in solving this social issue. At the same time, parents also need help in understanding the situation. SHELTER is a registered welfare organisation established in 1981 to help abused, abandoned, neglected or at-risk children. (Image Credit: SHELTER) Listen, Engage, Encourage The work that SHELTER does includes giving support to parents by advising them about the importance of understanding their children. Parents are also reminded to listen, engage, and provide encouragement, instead of scolding their children. This will help with building a strong sense of belonging. With the proper parental guidance, it would pave the way for children to find their way back home. Additionally, for children who return home after running away, he advised parents to let go of the past and give their children a second chance. There needs to be more engagement with children to give them hope. If they have no interest in public schools, other possibilities can be explored such as vocational or technical schools. The government should also set up a centre for teens to get them the help they need with their problems, possibly with the help of the Social Welfare Department. Parents should also get help from experts when it comes to improving their relationship with their children. For example, parents should talk to counselors or therapists instead of neighbours or relatives, as that could worsen the situation. To know more about SHELTER, visit their website here. You can also help out by volunteering, donating, or sponsoring a child. For more information about parenting and family, please visit Motherhood.com.my.