Juvenile delinquency is a scary thing to witness as a parent. You might have pressing concerns about the well-being of your child and whether delinquent behavior will translate to adult crimes.
Parenting through such circumstances can present unique challenges that require patience and time. Knowing the best ways to support your child during this time might ease some of your uncertainty.
Know the risks
Sometimes you might not realize that certain environmental factors create opportunities for your child to engage in criminal conduct. According to youth.gov, risk factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency might include the following:
- Pervasive parent-child conflict
- Poor academic performance
- Negative social environment
- Divorce or familial discord
- Physical and psychological abuse
A lack of discipline, the prevalence of street gangs and crime, and low aspirations for the future are other reasons that could contribute to juvenile crime.
Reinforce disciplinary measures
Removing opportunities for your child to engage in crime may significantly reduce risks. One of the most important things you can do is to reinforce disciplinary measures. Talk about your expectations. Set clear consequences for non-compliant behavior. If your child disobeys your rules, use consistency in discipline.
Discuss the dangers of criminal involvement. Help your child set goals for the future. Stay actively involved in your child’s life. Prioritize time together and show interest in your child’s interests. Encourage positive friendships. Look for ways to volunteer together in the community. Explore extracurricular options through your child’s school. Some effort is always better than no effort. Your child may recognize your commitment to providing support and be less likely to seek that approval and attention elsewhere.
Your diligence in putting your parenting duties first can make a considerable difference in your child’s life. If your child does commit a crime, continue to show unconditional love and reaffirm your expectations.