You have watched your child become a teenager, and you couldn’t be more proud of them. They have so many characteristics that you absolutely love. But no one is perfect—and that includes your child.
The teenage years are a time when kids often become defiant, act out and make mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes might include committing a crime. Every parent is horrified at the prospect of their son or daughter getting in trouble with the law—especially at such a young age, when they have their entire future ahead of them. But this is a painful reality for the many parents whose teenagers have crossed a line and broken the law.
Dealing with juvenile crimes
If your son or daughter has recently committed a crime, no doubt your head is reeling. You are probably wondering how to cope with this reality. These are a few things that parents can do if their child has violated the law.
- Have a difficult conversation
This difficult time calls for a difficult conversation. Sit down with your child and discuss their actions. Don’t shy away from the topic at hand, even if it is painful. Discuss why their actions were wrong. Address the consequences that they could face. This may be a hard talk, but, as a parent, it is a crucial one.
- Set an example
Your behavior in the aftermath of your teen’s crime will set an example for years to come. Though teenagers try to act adult, they are still juveniles who look to their parents as behavioral models. You are also still their legal guardian, and your behavior will play a huge role in their future. How you act will influence whether they sweep the incident under the rug or address it head-on; whether they skirt accountability, or take responsibility for their actions.
- Face the consequences
Eventually, your child will need to face the legal consequences of their actions. Criminal penalties can be severe: Fines, probation and even jail time. Many parents work with defense attorneys to protect their children from the often-harsh criminal justice system. After all, your child’s future is at stake, and you want to do everything possible to defend it.