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Roller coaster relationship with your juvenile delinquent: what help is out there?

Author: Jamica Bell
Published: Sep 25 2013

If your child has been exhibiting several of the signs of becoming a juvenile delinquent, it is imperative to take steps to help them and your entire family.

Juvenile Delinquency

After all, if you simply sit back and do nothing, your child is likely to become involved in a life of crime, and this will have a negative impact on everyone around them. Fortunately, there are several proven methods that you can use to help your child get back on the right track, and this process is likely to bring your family closer together.

Tips for Dealing with a Juvenile Delinquent

1) Counseling

Everyone in the family should be given the opportunity to talk to a counselor about the issues that are causing your child to act out. For example, if you are going through a divorce, this can make your children feel isolated and scared, and that could cause them to start hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Keep in mind that it is important for you to attend counseling as well so that you can work out your feelings about your child's actions in the proper environment.

2) Communicate on a Regular Basis

Keeping the lines of communication open between parent and child is one of the most effective ways to quickly determine when there is an issue. Therefore, even if they appear to resent you for it, you should always make time every day to touch base with your child about their life. 

3) Stay Alert for Warning Signals

Teenagers naturally deal with a roller coaster of emotions, but you need to remain alert for any potential warning signs that they have developed an issue with alcohol or drugs. If substance abuse does become an issue, you will need to take control of the situation by taking your child to a specialized counseling program to help them get clean.

4) Be Cognizant of Your Home Environment

Although some children turn to crime even when they have a great home life, you should still be aware that any strife in your child's living environment can have a big impact on them. In other words, if there have been a lot of arguments lately, your child will be more at risk for exhibiting destructive behavior.

5) Inquire about a Scared Straight Program or Advocacy Group

It is really hard for most parents to admit that their child or teenager has become a juvenile delinquent. However, if you want to keep your family together and prevent your child from becoming a career criminal, it might be necessary to take drastic steps.

The Scared Straight program is designed to help juvenile delinquents learn what life is like in prison, and this could be enough to get through to your child. For instance, Minnesota has a host of programs geared to assisting young people with gaining life skills that can promote productivity.

The Juvenile Justice Coalition of Minnesota is one such resource. However, parents who are faced with the stress of having a child plagued with delinquency may have to consult legal professionals like the DeVore Law Office or others like them.

Parents typically deal with a lot of conflicting thoughts and emotions surrounding the behavior of their children. Therefore, it is a good idea to join a support group with other parents who are dealing with similar issues.

Keep in mind that getting yourself into the right head space is a crucial step toward helping your troubled child.

Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and mother to 3 teenagers. She contributes this article as a resource to parents fraught with the stress of troubled teens. The DeVore Law Office is a firm dedicated to defending the legal rights of families adversely affected by the struggle with juvenile delinquency.

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