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Running Away

Dear Sam,
Im 14 and have wanted to run away for about 18 months now.
I have an friend who used to live with us when I was younger but now she has moved to London. She is older than me and has her own flat so I would have somewhere to stay. I could leave as soon as and get to London by train.
Background: Im a straight A student but my parents hate me!!! Serious. They have told me they hate me and that their life would be so much better and easier without me. They scream at me and punish me for the slightest thing, such as loosing 50p or not wiping down the side, they will scream, take my stuff away or bin it and are horrible to me but LOVE my brother! He recently dropped my step dads ipad 3 on the floor and they didnt mind but when i lost my ipod that i bought out of my own money! I was grounded for 3 months!!! They hate me and ive tried changing and i dont know what else i can do! In public they try to humiliate me by telling their friends im dirty and horrible and by telling them stuff about me and i cry every night about what they say and i need to leave! Please help!
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Sam

Hi,

Thank you for writing your letter and explaining what you have been going through. It sounds like things at home have been really tough.

Your parents shouldn’t be treating you in the way you describe. All families argue sometimes, but saying that that they hate you and that their life would be easier without you is not OK. What you describe could be called emotional abuse, and like any kind of abuse it’s very wrong. You deserve to be treated with respect, care and affection, especially at home.

It sounds like the things your parents say make you question whether you should change as a person. I want you to know that you don’t have to believe the things they say about you. It sounds to me like you are a very strong, brave and intelligent person to be able to keep going, and even achieving straight A grades, despite how tough things are at home. Perhaps you could have a look at the page on building confidence and self-esteem for some ideas on how to boost your self belief.

I can hear that you’ve thought a lot about running away to stay with your friend. I’d be really worried about you doing this. At 14, you can’t legally leave home without your parents’ permission. If your mum and step-dad reported you missing, the police could come and bring you home again. I also wonder how you’d manage to keep going to school and get the qualifications you need to get where you want to go in life. There are other ways that you can resolve this and find a better life for yourself, without leaving behind everything you know.

It seems like you might need some support from someone who can help you stand up for your right to be treated fairly. Could your friend maybe support you in getting help where you are now? Can you think of any relatives that you get on well with who might help and support you? How about a teacher in school?

Another option might be talking to social services. I realise that can be a scary thought, but social services are there to help make sure that young people are safe and well looked after at home. Sometimes they will work with families to help them stay together and sometimes they will need to find young people a safer place to live – either while things change at home, or for longer.

Please feel free to come to Childline for more advice and information about this. You can send an email, call 0800 1111 or you can log on for a 1-2-1 chat. The counsellors are always there for you.

Take care,

Sam

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