Category: | Teenagers

What To Do If Your Teen Breaks The Law

What to Do If Your Teenager Breaks the Law

It can be overwhelming and discouraging when your teenager breaks the law. There are mixed feelings of wanting to protect your child yet wanting them to taste the consequences. Here are some ideas to help you navigate through this difficult time as a parent.

Be Supportive

We all make mistakes and bad choices. Teens have challenges related to their growth and hormones that make them even more likely to be a poor judge of situations, which can lead to bad decisions. No matter what caused your child to break the law, or what law they broke, be supportive of them as an individual and as your child. You can support your teen without condoning their actions.

Hold Them Accountable and Think about Long-Term Consequences

Don’t be the kind of parent who lets their children slip through the cracks, the type of parent who causes trouble without learning through consequences. Hold your child accountable and let them know that it is because you love them that you will insist that justice be served, even if it is a tough situation for them.

You are not doing your child, yourself or society any favours by trying to rescue your child for their consequences. If your child finds that you will bail them out of any situation they put themselves in, they will begin to expect that and become trapped in more and more trouble. This will create a teen who becomes a self-entitled adult who never learns, and who becomes a drain on society.

If your child has committed a crime and you know about it, report him (or her). Don’t turn a blind eye simply because it is your child participating in the wrong behavior. Know that your tough love will help create a responsible citizen who takes ownership and responsibility for their actions and decisions.

Don’t Blame Yourself

Although our parenting certainly plays a role in how our children turn out, they are also individuals who make decisions and life choices on their own eventually. When your teen is living on the edge and is making many wrong choices and surrounding themselves with bad influences, there is often nothing you can do. You can certainly give your child consequences, but there is nothing you can do to change who they are on the inside. Give yourself a break and continue to love yourself.

Continue to Show Love

You can love a child who is doing wrong, even if you strongly disagree with the choices they have made. Loving your son or daughter even as they break the law does not mean you condone their wrong behavior. This love you give them is actually necessary for your child in order for them to feel it, know it and to assist with bringing themselves out of their self-destructive behavior.

Parenting a teen is not easy, and it throws an extra complication into the mix when your teen breaks the law. Be firm with your child, but continue to love him thorough the mess he has created. In time, this support will bring your child hopes of a better future.

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