Runaway 13-Year-Old Proves Teens Need More Parenting Than Toddlers

My children are only 4 and 3, but I am in no hurry for them to become teenagers. Stories like the one about 13-year-old Allie Loftis, a local Boston girl who went missing last week in order to live with a 42-year-old man, terrify me like none other. Though she is now home and safe, the fact that it even happened fills me with terror.

The teenager from Wayland, Massachusetts -- an affluent suburb of Boston -- disappeared on November 4 leaving only a note for her worried parents. It read: "Don't look for me. I’m not lost, I’m found.” And doesn't that just sounds like an overly dramatic teenage girl to you? 

She was eventually found in New Jersey, just outside of New York City, and a 42-year-old man was arrested in conjunction, though it isn't yet clear why. And all of this is terrifying to a mom still almost a decade away from those angst-ridden years.

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There is so much that is wrong with this story, but the defiant nature of Loftis is probably what scares me the most. Yes, the 42-year-old was probably a predator (we will know more later), but her willingness to go with him is a problem, too.

When I was 13, I was difficult, defiant, and longing for NYC, too. But I wasn't about to hook up with some old man to do it.

There is something very disturbing about the mix of vulnerability and defiance that comes up in teenage girls. They think they're much older than they are and that is very scary to a mom who will have one in nine years.

Keeping them safe is obviously priority number one, but 13 is an age when kids should be getting some measure of independence, and Loftis proves they actually need more supervision than a toddler. I mean, my kids might fall off a chair, but they aren't going to seek out an old man and board a bus to Manhattan.

I dread those years for many reasons, but the idea that I will not be able to relax at all ever and must be just as vigilant then as I am now is pretty daunting. I guess that is parenthood, right?

Does this story scare you?

 

Image via markhillary/Flickr

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