What to do if your Teen Breaks the Law
It can be overwhelming and discouraging when your teenager breaks the law. You probably have a ton of thoughts and emotions that are running through your mind, wondering what your next move is going to be. To say that there is a wide range of mixed feelings and emotions is probably an understatement for sure.
You know that you want to protect your child but they also need to understand that there are consequences as well. You are not alone in these thoughts and shouldn’t feel as though you are.
Here are some simple ideas to help you navigate through this difficult time as a parent and hopefully find a bit of comfort and advice.
Remember that we’re all human and we all make mistakes and less than stellar choices. Being a teen is a hard time and even though that isn’t an excuse, just remember that teens have challenges related to their growth and hormones that make them even more likely to be a poor judge of situations. This is turn will lead to bad decisions.
It’s no secret that you love your child. No one is questioning this and it’s a truthful statement to understand that no matter what caused your child to break the law, or what law they broke, be supportive of them as an individual.
This is a time that they’re going to be confused and scared and you can support your teen without reprimanding them the entire time as well.
Hold Them Accountable and Think about Long-Term Consequences
This one can be a bit tricky. Don’t let your child get away with anything here but don’t’ let them slip through the cracks of not learning a lesson either.
You need to remember to hold your child accountable and let them know that it is because you love them that they need to be held accountable for their actions. This is going to be hard, but it’s something that is important.
If you don’t hold them accountable, you’re not doing anything to help them in the future. They’re not going to learn a lesson or learn from their mistakes. You can’t rescue them forever and this is important to remember.
If your child feels as though you are constantly going to bail them out of every situation that they get themselves into, then they aren’t going to learn anything at all, ever.
What then happens is that you’re going to have a child on your hands that doesn’t listen and thinks that the laws of society don’t apply to them.
And all that really means is that they’re setting themselves up for more failure in the future.
One other hard aspect of this is that if your child has committed a crime and you know about it, you have to report him or her right away.
If your child knows that you know and you don’t do anything about it, your child is going to think that you’re okay with that kind of behavior and will learn nothing.
Don’t Blame Yourself
You’re going to blame yourself…you just are. And while parenting plays a role in how a child grows into an adult, you have to remember that they make their own choices and actions every single day.
There’s nothing that you can do if your child is going to make the wrong choices time and time again.
Sitting around and blaming yourself for their actions isn’t how you should be spending your time.
Continue to Show Love
Even if your child is frustrating you and leaving you wondering what they’re thinking, you can still show your child love during this time. You can easily disagree with their choices, but you can still love them with all your heart.
As a parent, you’re never going to stop loving your child and this is something that they need to know. However, in that same breath, it’s important that they know that you’re not going to stand by and enable them for the choices that they’re making.
As your child becomes a teenager, it gets hard. Really, really hard. There will be some days when you question your entire existence as a parent. And don’t worry – it happens to all of us.
If you have a teen that breaks the law, this can throw a whole number wrench in the deal, but keep your head up and keep plugging on. All you can do is show your support to your child and the rest of the family in the best way that you know how to.
- Why Parents of Teens Should Have a Criminal Defense Lawyer on Speed Dial
- How To Understand Your Teen Boys
What other advice could you give parents if their teen breaks the law?
Pin for Later: