Teenager takes on the burden of his childhood


Dear Amy: I am a 16-year-old boy. I have lived with my grandparents for the last six years.

I used to live with my parents, but gradually spent more time at my grandparents’ house.

This eventually evolved into spending entire weeks at my grandparents’, and later bringing my belongings there. I have two older siblings.

I now believe that I basically ran away from home, and I don’t feel content with this decision I made when I was only 10 years old.

It’s hard to identify if my relationship with my mother was abusive, as she never broke any laws; still, I never felt comfortable living with her, and my dad would exhaust himself at work every day and wouldn’t get home until very late at night.

My mom and dad are now divorced and live in separate homes. My mom has a new boyfriend. She seems happier and more stable than when she had to deal with three children. Now I feel even more regretful for running away.

I will not move back in with my mother or father because my grandparents have made me feel like I belong, certainly more than my mother ever did.

I forgive my mom, but I don’t know how to have a conversation with her about our past or our future, because when I try to talk about our past, she denies everything and dismisses the conversation.

So I am asking you, Amy, how I should discuss the past with my mother and try to rebuild our strained relationship for the future?

— The Runaway

Dear Runaway: I’d like to applaud your bravery at finding a safe way to leave your household so that you could live in a more stable and healthier environment. To me, this does not seem like running away — at all! — but more like the behavior of a survivor who, at only 10 years old, figured out how to secure a better home life.


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