Parenting is the hardest job out there, but also one of the most rewarding ones at the same time. Being a parent means doing whatever it takes to be there for your kid when the going gets tough, and this includes being supportive in times where they seem to have gotten into trouble with the law. Even though having good parenting skills won’t keep your teens out of trouble completely, it may help you deal with the situation should they get caught in a criminal procedure.
1) Hire a Lawyer
No matter the circumstances surrounding the case, the first thing you should do when your child finds themselves at odds with the law is to get them legal representation. You want to find a reputable criminal attorney that has extensive experience in defending cases similar to your child’s. Remember to ask the lawyer about their success rate before you agree to retain them on your child’s behalf. The lawyer you want to hire should also have good communication skills and should be able to explain everything to you in a way that is easy to understand.
Working with a lawyer, you can get a much clearer picture of what happened and why your teen is being charged with an offense they may or may not have been responsible for committing. The legal system works differently from the reality we live in, and the only way you can get a good grasp of how it works is by hiring an expert who can help guide you through it. Another thing to ask your lawyer is how many other cases they’re currently handling. No matter how great a lawyer may seem, it’s only worthwhile if they have the time needed to really dedicate themselves to this case in particular. If they’re overbooked at the moment, and you like them, ask them to recommend someone else who might be a better fit.
2) Consider Therapy
Being accused of committing a crime is never easy, especially when you’re at such a delicate age. For a lot of teens, this may cause them to feel depressed or anxious about what their future may hold for them. They might even feel guilty and responsible for the charges they’re facing, even if this wasn’t the case at all! Under these circumstances, it’s not unusual to find themselves struggling with feelings of anger and resentment.
If you think your child needs professional help dealing with their current situation, it’s important that you find a good therapist they can talk to about what’s going on. The therapist should be empathetic and compassionate about your child, and they shouldn’t judge them in any way. A good therapist is one who can help your teen feel better about themselves while also making sure that you understand what’s going on so you can provide the support needed to get through this difficult time. They should also be able to equip your child with the necessary tools to deal with their emotions and manage their stress levels, enabling them to cope with everything they’re going through.
3) Find the Root Problem
Whether it was your child that committed the crime, or if they were just at the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s important to get to the bottom of things. Most teenagers act out due to some underlying issues. While the most important thing at this time is to provide them with everything they need to go through the legal proceedings, finding out what caused your child to either act in a certain way, or hang out with people that are prone to criminal activity is a must. Perhaps they have something that’s causing them a lot of distress, or they may have trouble feeling empathy and understanding societal norms. On the other hand, it could also be that they have negative emotions regarding their home life – there are a lot of potential reasons that could drive a young person to act outside of the law. Once you’ve figured out the root problem, you’ll know what you need to do to help your child get back on track.
4) Reevaluate Your Home Life
A lot of moms that find themselves in a situation like this tend to get defensive. However, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. You could do everything just right, and still have a child that acts out. The trick is to focus on your child. Even when you’re doing everything you think you should ask yourself how it’s affecting your kid in particular. Do they have needs that aren’t being met? Do they feel misunderstood? Perhaps they need a more structured environment than they’re currently getting at home, or it could be that there are already too many rules in place and they’re feeling suffocated.
If you’ve started pulling long hours at work now that your child has reached a certain age, perhaps they’re feeling a bit neglected and this is a cry for attention? Do you provide a safe space for them to talk to you about what’s going on in their lives, or do you take on more of a commanding role? Restructuring your family dynamics could help you deal with your child’s behavior better. For whatever reason, if you haven’t been able to discover it yet, now’s the time to take a good look at yourself as a parent and to see how things can be improved for your child.
5) Create a Plan for the Future
You need to put together a plan for your child’s future, and it should include a list of goals they can work towards. Once you’ve decided on the goals to set, don’t focus on the negative as much as possible. Yes, there were charges levied against them that might affect their lives forever but that doesn’t mean that everything is lost. They need to understand that even the worst-case scenario is never the end of the world. All it means is that they get to go through a rough patch where they learn how to get back on track and build their lives again from scratch, which isn’t something everyone gets to experience. You can help them by listening intently and offering unconditional support so they feel better about their situation, and by providing them with the necessary tools to achieve their goals. This will help them feel empowered, which is an important part of the process.
Knowing what you’re up against as a parent can make all the difference in the world. We all try to do our best for our kids, but sometimes life gets too busy or things are just out of control. Take the time to assess your situation and figure out what needs to change so you can provide a better environment for your child. Remember that while mistakes like this are never easy, it’s not the end of the world. With some hard work, it will all get better in time!