14-year-old girl still missing after she left home last Friday night
14-year-old left home after being punished by mum
A 14-year-old girl has been missing since Friday.
Valerie Yoong Hui Xuan was last seen at Hougang Mall at about 8.15pm that day, according to a police alert released on Saturday.
Her mother, Ms Jaycie Tay, 33, a secretary, told The New Paper yesterday that the teenager went missing after she was "grounded" and had her mobile phone confiscated.
She added that her daughter had packed a small bag and sent friends messages about running away from home using the maid's mobile phone before she disappeared.
"She has been rebellious of late, and nothing I do seems to work," said Ms Tay, a single mother of four.
"I just hope people will report her whereabouts before she gets into any big trouble."
According to Ms Tay, Valerie, her oldest child, started playing truant and picked up smoking a month ago.
When she found out, she confiscated Valerie's phone and "grounded" her as punishment.
Ms Tay claimed she found indecent messages in her daughter's phone.
"She is only 14 and engaging in such things," she said. "I am angry with her."
Ms Tay said she intends to file a Beyond Parental Control (BPC) application.
BPCs are for children below the age of 16 who display behavioural problems and getting it entails applying for assistance from the court in managing the child.
But Ms Frances Yeo, 43, a consultant psychologist at Thomson Medical, said a BPC should be used only as a last resort.
"It is always better to talk it through with the child. If you take a step like that, the child ends up being resentful towards the parent," she said.
She added that communication between a child and parent is key.
"Freaking out and scolding is not going to help, because the child's natural response is to hide. It is more important to talk and find out why she did what she did, as there could be other reasons," said Ms Yeo.
A police spokesman said that about 1,800 people have been reported missing each year in the last three years.
Anyone with information on missing people should call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness
All information will be kept strictly confidential.