How to Help Your Juvenile Delinquent

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Juvenile delinquents need parents who are loving, yet hold them responsible for their actions. Getting your child into counseling is the best way to deal with the problem.

  • Look at your child's situation closely for signs of substance abuse. If you see any, get your child to a program or counselor who specializes in these problems.

  • Consider your family. Are there a lot of fights? Is there violence? Are you considering divorce? Any of these problems may impact your child. If you believe any of these is an issue, take your child to a counselor.

  • Work closely with the school. Teachers and school counselors may have a good idea about your child's attitude, social group and behavior problems. Ask the school for information and advice. Be cooperative and try not to offer excuses. Take their suggestions.

  • Get a lawyer. If your child has been charged as a juvenile delinquent, hire an attorney to represent him or her in court.

  • Talk to police, probation officers or juvenile officers who are involved in your child's case. Be friendly and cooperative. Find out what they see as the problem and ask for advice.

  • Find a good counselor. If your child is involved in juvenile offenses, you need to get help as soon as possible. No matter what the root of the problem, counseling can probably help you understand it even if it can't help you solve it.

  • Listen to your child. Pay attention to what he or she says and how he or she acts. Try to have a conversation where you don't accuse the child or reprimand the child. Talk about the problems and ask what you can do to help.

  • Express your love for your child in your words and your actions. Make sure he or she understands that you will always love him or her even if you don't approve of specific things.

  • Think about all of your options. Maybe your child would make some changes if he or she had stricter rules. Maybe living somewhere other than at home would help. Perhaps consequences for his or her actions are what is needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try not to excuse your child's criminal actions. This is a serious problem and needs to be treated as such.
  • Understand that one possible result from court intervention is that your child can be removed from your home and placed in foster care or a juvenile facility. Obtain legal assistance to protect your family.
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