As most people know, teens and young adults tend to be impulsive. Sometimes their behavior is best described as erratic. Their most well thought out “plans” sometimes defy logic. Occasionally, these well known facts regarding young adult behavior can end up getting them in trouble with the law. That’s when parents often get the call notifying them that their child is dealing with the police. If you receive that call, remember that your response can have a profound effect on how the situation turns out.
You are your child’s first (and in some cases, only) advocate. The police and judicial system expect young people to make mistakes, but their job is to enforce the law. The question becomes how the law will be enforced and what the outcome is going to be for your child. This will depend on a number of factors, but one of the first factors is you.
The best thing you can do is to tell your child not to lie, but to remember the old adage, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.” Parents often arrive on the scene and immediately demand that their child tell the arresting officer EVERYTHING; this is a mistake. Honesty is a good thing, but if your child faces charges, this can severely limit the options available for helping them keep this situation from impacting them long-term. There’s a difference between personal acceptance of responsibility and pleading guilty to charges in court, which could follow your child around for the rest of their life.
As a parent who recognizes the fallacies of youth, you get to be the one who keeps the big picture in mind on your child’s behalf. Make sure your kids know that if they’re being asked questions about their activities by law enforcement, they should say they don’t want to make any type of statement without an attorney. Making a difference in their life can be as simple as that. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a situation like this, call our office to see if our team can help.