Children - In Trouble With The Law

You get that phone call…your child has been taken into custody…what do you do? Do you let them live with the consequences of their actions or do you fully support them and look for ways to help them change their behaviour? Here we will delve into how parents can positively deal with this situation.

• It is one thing that none of us want have to deal with or have our children go through. I’m sure any parent in this situation ends up asking themselves, what did I do wrong? And this is not an easy question to answer.
• We need to be a positive role model for our children.
• If you get the phone call, your natural reaction is probably anger but you need to get yourself in check. It will not be of any benefit to you, your child or the Police if you storm into the station looking to give your child a clip round the ear.
• There is also a good chance you may be feeling embarrassed. Again try and keep calm, yes your child needs to know how you feel but first things first, you need to find out exactly what has happened.
• In a lot of cases, you will probably have to get to the bottom of why your child did what they did. Was there a reason for them stealing? Do they owe money to someone? Did they lash out as they felt under threat? Where they feeling pressure to join their mates? Or were they just being stupid?
• Try and understand that the Police are doing their job and look to work together to get the grips with the process involved. You might have had some difficult interactions with the Police in the past yourself but you need to put this aside. The more open you are to working with the Police, the more likely there is to be a positive outcome for your child.

What about when you get home, how do you deal with your child?

• As we’ve said, try and understand why they did what they did. You are then in a better place to start to look for solutions to help your child. There may be deeper issues going on for your child that you have had no idea about.
• There needs to be consequences for your child. Even though there will probably be some natural consequences for your child like a Police Caution, your child needs to understand that they have broken your boundaries and there needs to be consequences for this. You are not being too harsh and you are going to support them all the way but if they have done wrong, you need to deal with this at home.

What if it is a regular occurrence?

• Obviously there may come a point when the law is taken out of your hands and your child is brought to court. This is most likely a result of continued brushes with the law and you have to let natural consequences take place but continue to work with your local Police. There are a number of supports available for you and your child such as Garda Youth Diversion Programmes (in Ireland) that you can work with your child to get the extra support they need.
• The Police have dealt with all this before and have seen success and also those who don’t use the supports and follow a different path. They will give you good advice and point you in the right direction.

If you are dealing with this issue or have done in the past, contact for support or more information.