HowTo:Run away from home

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Why call Kids Help Phone? So some twentysomething temp can condescendingly "talk you out of a bad place"? Forget it.

Did your mom threaten to send you to military school if you don't get better than a B average in school? She did?! And I'll bet she slammed your bedroom door so hard after that spat over the Ferrari that all your Beanie Babies fell off the bookcase. Really? All right, that's it. There's only one solution. She'll be sorry she ever abused you like this. It's time to run away from home.

Step 1: Writing a goodbye note


Place the note somewhere where it will be seen. You have no idea how many elopers we get phoning their parents on payphones only to find the parents didn't know anything happened. On the kitchen table is a good place; just clear away the dropped Cheerios.

Relax! We're not talking about a suicide note or anything. These are just temporary arrangements, until you find a job with your uncle in a candy shop. For this you will need a pencil or pen, preferably pink or lime green, and some paper. Letterhead works well, but construction paper will do. Spend some time itemising the points, and don't spare the hyperbole.

  • Start off with a salutation, so the reader knows who's talking. It could be any of your 3 brothers or sisters for all they know.
  • Speaking of brothers and sisters, remember to include all the emotional injuries they caused you since they were born.
  • You want to write a succinct (brief) litany of recent events and how they hurt your feelings. This should be a summary of your diary over the past month or two.
  • Close with a dramatically depressing image of your future life. Mentioning fishing trawlers and prostitution works wonders.
  • And don't forget to tell loved ones that they'll be sorry!

Step 2: Provisions

Did you know...
...sometimes those running away get all sobbing and impatient and bolt straight out the door without preparation? Don't make this mistake. Think carefully before you leave the house.

OK, now you're going to need some supplies. Remember: it's over 10 blocks to your friend's house, and you'll only be able to stay there for a year or so. Sooner or later, you're going to have to live like an adult, in the wilderness, fending off grizzly bears at every turn, just like on TV. You'll need:

  • A box of cereal, for sustenance.
  • $10 from your allowance. This should get you through the first two years of expenses.
  • A bottle of soda pop.
  • A bag of chips or pretzels.
  • A "My First Aid Kit" with at least 2 Bugs Bunny band-aids.
  • A cell phone.
  • A light jacket. It can hit 20 below in winter.
  • Your inhaler.
  • Your blankie.

Step 3: Making your escape

Crying Girl

Be brave, now that the cold, numbing wind is your only company.


Consider running away from school instead of home. The upshot of this approach is that no one will question you, but you'll have to plan ahead and bring all the supplies in a knapsack.

At long last, it's time to rid yourself of that liquor bottle and squalor-filled dump your parents rented from a car salesman. Select a time of day when no one will miss you. At night when your parents are sleeping and at 4:00 when your mom drives your brothers to hockey practice are both good choices. Put on your flip-flops, open the door, and step outside, and you're well on your way.

Put out of your mind the fact that you'll never see your parents again. You'll be all alone, the times you shared only a wretched memory. There'll be no one to love you or take care of you, no more Christmases or birthday parties. These are the thoughts that could undermine your mission.

During this period you will miss home more than ever. It is important to maintain your morale. The first minutes of your adventure are critical.

  • 10-120 seconds: Run as fast as you can. Get as far away from home as possible, to reduce the temptation to go back. Most importantly, get a grip.
  • 2-180 minutes: Fear of the real world is what will nab you now. Walk to a place you know well and enjoy visiting (eg. the mall, beach, gym). It may help to pretend you are with someone else to reduce the strain. Make believe that you're still a happy family having a nice outing together.

Step 4: Staying away from home


Avoid authority figures at all costs. If you are a small child this will be especially hard. Watch your image when running away, and look adult.

Many children get away but don't keep away. If you've gotten this far, loneliness and hunger will set in. You need to make permanent plans. Friends are crucial for this.

  • 3-72 hours: Choose your friends carefully. If possible, stay with one responsible enough to keep you safe but not so responsible as to rat you out to your parents. Hopefully, your friend will even abscond from his single-parent, wood-paneled nightmare with you. If you don't know anyone with this description, find a park bench.
  • 3-365 days: You will need a job. We recommend reading a tome such as "The Monster Book of Science" or "The Bernstein Bears Go to the Doctor" to become well versed in your vocation. Work up some courage and go talk to a hospital director or school principal if you want to become a doctor or a teacher. If you've ever watched "Bob the Builder," a whole range of jobs is open to you at the nearest construction site.

Once you're away from home for an extended period of time, your parents will marshal an army of police, firemen, and rescue workers to find you and bring you in. It is crucial to find your own hideout. Use 5 of your 10 dollars to bankroll the mortgage on an unsold house, and you'll be set.



Children being lectured on not running away from home. Failures, all.

Let's face facts here. You'll probably going to welch on the first street corner, once pedestrians begin looking at you like you're an orphan, and run screaming home to mama. Don't worry about it! It's a big, bad world out there, and your short stature and Barbie backpack are sort of a giveaway. It looks like you're stuck with your parents until you're twenty, and then it's not called "running away from home," it's called "finally finding an apartment."

While you won't get clean away like you fantasized, rest assured you've dealt your parents a blow from which they will never recover. This incident will resurface as emotional trauma in psychiatry meetings and custody cases for years to come, and who knows, maybe you'll have a bit of leverage next time your mom tries to cut your allowance in half, the meanie-pants. So we congratulate you. Bye-bye 'till next time, kids!

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