with Ferenc Molmar, M.D.
Q. My 15-year-old has suddenly become very excited about running away from home. I discovered this when I went into the youngster’s bedroom and found a large polka-dot kerchief, all knotted up with underwear inside, and tied to the business end of my Cleveland Niblick.
I think this is a fad that the kids learn about on the television or the internet, but I don’t think it is a healthy preoccupation. You are always reading horror stories about teenage runaways who are found chopped up in bin bags with their eyes gouged out. Also, my friend in the local Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) support group tells me that she’s keeping all her children at home till they’re at least 25 because children’s brains do not develop until that age. I have considered putting my offspring away in an institution but we don’t do that in my family so all I have is the ACOA people to talk to. What shall I do?
A. It is normal for children to want to grow up fast, and running away at 15 hardly sounds extreme. In great-grandad’s day, it was normal to be married with kids by that age. Of course very few people lived past thirty then, so you had to get an early start on the day, as it were.
Nowadays I fear teenage runaways want to leave home to engage in sex perversion and prostitution. This is because society does not provide the support systems it used to. For example, when I was first practicing in Minneapolis 60 or 70 years ago, we had a special park where adolescents would cruise around in the afternoon and sell themselves to passing gentlemen (and ladies), then take the tram back home to Edina with no one the wiser.
But that was then, when everything was all white and we didn’t have crime and it was all in good fun. Now that park is a needle-exchange community center. So yes, the bin-bag problem is a natural outcome of today’s degenerate society. Perhaps you could consider sending your child to one of those progressive theater camps or boarding schools in Michigan (if they stil have them) where they let kids play out their fantasies, and maybe go camping and so forth in a tent instead of hanging outside a bus station.
Author: Cooper Ward
Cooper Ward hails from Lake Plains, IL, which he describes as “the flattest place east of Nebraska.” He enjoys watching cooking shows and listening to semi-classical music.