Adolescence is a stressful time for a range of different reasons. In addition to the pressure of impending adulthood, many teenagers struggle to fit into a social group and juggle the responsibilities of making decisions about the future. All of these factors can make adolescents vulnerable to temptations such as drug experimentation and other problematic behaviors. When this results in legal trouble, it is time to address the problem.
When juveniles face criminal charges, it is actually a great opportunity to face issues problems head-on and prevent them from developing into a lifelong problem. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, as many as 2,750 youths are arrested each year, but there are steps you can take to help your teenager recover from this misstep.
Do not underestimate the situation
When your son or daughter is facing criminal charges, the biggest mistake you can make is underestimating the seriousness of the situation. You might think that because he or she is a minor, or if the charge is only a misdemeanor, it will fall off the record or otherwise have little consequences. On the contrary, having a criminal record at a young age will seriously affect your child.
Protect your child’s future
It is important to consider the possible consequences that could result from a conviction. Even for minors, it might result in disqualification from future job prospects and ineligibility for financial aid when they attend college. It is imperative that you protect your child’s future by considering legal representation.
Get to the root of the problem
Criminal behavior appears in youth of all races, backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. There is typically no single cause to attribute it to, but it is also likely responsive to stressors that motivated a teen to act out. You should talk with your child to assess the circumstances surrounding his or her behavior and get to the root of the problem.