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Ask Rene: Help! My Teenage Daughter Keeps Running Away!

teenage girl with unhappy mother in the background

Ask Rene:
Help! My Teenage Daughter Keeps Running Away!


Dear Rene,

My husband, Mike, and I have three beautiful daughters, ages 13, 15 and 17. Kaylee, Kaitlin and Katherine.

The three girls are alike in so many ways, yet very different in other ways. Kaylee the youngest and Katherine the oldest have always been well behaved and eager to please their dad and me. We value family time and look forward to spending family holidays, celebrations as well as summer vacations together. It’s the best time to really be a family.

Mike and I work hard to make sure the girls are happy and have everything they need. But, we can’t seem to make our middle daughter Kaitlin happy. She’s doing poorly in school, has friends we disapprove of and has runaway from home several times.

The first time, Kaitlin ran away we were worried out of our minds. She was gone for an entire weekend, no phone call or contact with the family. It turns out Kaitlin stayed at one of her “friend’s” homes on the other side of town. When she returned, she refused to explain her behavior to her father, her sisters or myself. Kaitlin has runaway several times since then, each time she stays away a little longer, but always comes back home.

Rene, I try not to worry but can’t help it. I’m afraid that one day our 15-year-old daughter, will runaway and won’t come home. What can her dad and I do to make her happy so she’ll stop running away?


Robin, Seattle


Dear Robin:

GOOD LORD WOMAN, this letter is terrifying! You need WAY more help than I can provide. I’ll leave my opinion but this is going to require the help of someone far beyond my pay grade. Here’s what I would do.


1. Get Thee To A Therapist!

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There’s a lot churning around in this girl’s head. She’s dealing with adolescence and all that goes with it. She needs to learn some coping skills STAT! The thing that scares me most about the fact that she’s running away is the type of activity she may have to turn to in order to stay alive, like prostitution or other illicit activities. This is a situation that you have to get a handle on right now! Honestly I’m shocked you let her be gone a weekend without calling the cops! What was going on in YOUR mind?

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