Better Choices, Better Futures – Reflections of My Youth

January 28, 2011 in Reflections of My Youth

Inquiring About Homeless Youth and Reflecting On Their Challenges


When I reflect on my own family, I could have easily been a victim of homelessness.  The madness within our family structure prior to my father getting sober was sometimes  unbearable.  But what kept me from running away?

As I reflect back on my own home situation I see there were some motivating factors for staying home and dealing with the violence, poor life coping skills, abandonment, ignorance, lack of and inability to communicate effectively, division, addiction, abuse and dissension within my home.

Reasons to stay:

1.)    I didn’t feel like I had any where else to go.

2.)    I didn’t like the thought of being hungry.

3.)    I was afraid of leaving the parents that I loved so much.

4.)    I loved going to school and needed lunch money and clothes.

5.)    I had great parents regardless of their dysfunction they loved me.

6.)    I didn’t know if I would find that love anywhere else.

7.)    I was highly praised and rewarded for my smarts.

8.)    I liked my friends and none of them ran away from home.

9.)    I was afraid of the police.  They came to my house all the time and knew who I was.

10.)                        I loved my sister and my brother and would have missed them so much.

11.)                        I felt sorry that they didn’t get the treatment I did.

12.)                        I was the only one my father would listen to when he was drunk.

What things where happening in my home that could have caused me to run away?

1.) Addiction

2.) Verbal Abuse

3.) Not emotionally available (abandonment)

4.) Neighborhood molestation

5.) Police always at our house

6.) Embarrassment, humility and shame

7.) Confusion

8.) Entitlement

9.) Rejection

10.) Anxiety

11.) Mental Health Disorders

12.) Financial strain

Questions to reflect on?

1.) Who did I have to be in order to stay under those conditions?

2.) What choices did I have to make?

3.) What limiting beliefs did I form?

4.) What values were instilled in me at that age?

I know these questions are different for every runaway and homeless youth, but I will be inquiring into the mystery of each of my youth’s lives because I care about what happened and the choices that they will make to survive today.

Questions for BYA Youth

What happens before a youth becomes homeless?

What are their thoughts?

What is the straw that breaks the camels back?

What is the process for reuniting youth back for their family?

Why do youth runaway?

Where do they go and why?

What are the resources provided by the State and Federal government for Homeless Youth?

What are your strength?

What are your weaknesses?

Who did you have to be to live this life?

How has it helped you?

How has it hurt you?

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