Parent / Teen Frequently Asked Questions

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My teen has been changing. They are more quiet and withdrawn yet at times fly in to a rage over nothing.

Talk to your teen. Be open and “non judgmental”. If they refuse to “open up” then perhaps talking to one of their friends or a teacher they respect may give you some insight.

If the change is “extreme” increasing in frequency or intensity there could be a serious problem starting. Perhaps a family friend, relative or the family doctor may be able to help.

My daughter was arrested for shoplifting yet had the money to pay for the item she took. Why would she take such a risk?

Teens who attend Kids “N” Crime programs for stealing “often” admit they had the money and could have paid for the item. Then why steal? Some of the most common reasons students give are:

Peer Pressure: They want to be accepted by a certain group. Rarely do shoplifters start on their own.

Anger or Revenge: (Directed towards a family member or friends) – a need to “show them”.

Getting Parent’s Attention: Students admit even negative attention is better than no attention.

Teens Are Often Risk Takers: They want to see what they can get away with. This can be very dangerous. Risk taking often ends up injuring the teen either physically, emotionally or legally.

My daughter may be using drugs. What can I do? How can I tell?

Try to talk to her. Tell her what your concerns are. Tell her you’re not judging her or accusing her but fear she may be using drugs and you want to help her in any way you can.

If you find what appears to be drugs or drug paraphernalia ( pipes, paper to roll cigarettes, etc) you may want to take them to your pharmacist or call local police and have them assist you. Drug “test kits” are also sold at some pharmacies. Also, search her room, go through her purse and backpack. She may not like it but if you suspect she may be using drugs it is much better for you to be on top of things and let her know this is how it is going to be. Your house your rules!

Remember helping your teen starts with educating yourself so you can better decide on your plan to help them. Note: you may want to read Kids “N” Crime’s “Teens, Drugs and Crime”. It can give you some of the knowledge you’ll need.

Will having been arrested hurt my son’s chances for getting into college?

If your son’s arrest resulted in a criminal record while he was a teen (under 18 years of age) and he was made a ward of the court and placed on probation you may request the court to seal his record. (He will have to have completed probation and all the orders of the court.) Check with probation or the court to see how the sealing of the record can or can not protect your son in the future.

However, there are times when colleges and employers may find that there is a sealed record and although the circumstances may not be known the record seal itself may hinder his plans.

We have found that if this becomes an issue it is best to be honest and explain what occurred.

I was arrested 10 years ago and now it is hurting my chances of getting the job I want. What can I do?

It is always best to acknowledge on a job application if asked about a criminal arrest. In many cases job applicants will be allowed to explain the circumstances of their arrest. In most cases not telling about a criminal offense will result in automatic elimination.

My 16 year old son gets drunk every weekend and I suspect at night during the week. What’s my first step? I have insurance.

It would appear that drinking may have progressed past the experimental stage. Teenagers injure themselves and even die though alcohol abuse each year. Between 60 and 70 % of the fatal car accidents involving teens are the result of alcohol/drug use.

I would suggest that a physical examination and possible medical treatment or entering a rehab program either as an impatient or as an out patient may be a viable option to help your son.

Is my daughter’s anger inherited? Her father (my ex-husband) has a terrible anger problem especially when he is drinking.

There is no conclusive medical data that would indicate anger is inherited. What is likely is she saw that it was an effective way for her father to get what he wanted so she is using it to her advantage. It is also a good way for her to explain her anger without taking any ownership and responsibility for her actions.

Perhaps counseling can help her realize why she is so angry and help her learn effective control measures. Be aware that continued escalating anger can quite possibly lead to other problems such as alienation from family and friends, loss of a job, problems at school even criminal acts leading to arrest.

My husband and I don’t like our son’s choice of friends. He is 16 and drives so we don’t see him much anymore. Do we have any say regarding his friends?

Trying to pick your son’s friends may make matters worse. However, he’s still a minor and parents’ rules are enforceable. Perhaps setting a curfew may work and insist on knowing where he is going and with whom (get cell phone numbers of his companions). If that doesn’t work take his car away from him. Far too often parents feel they have lost parental rights and that simply isn’t true. Spanking may be “out” but restricting the things he likes isn’t!

The responses we give are not to be considered “legal advice”. For legal issues consult an attorney of your choice.

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