When you hear the term “delinquent teenager”, you immediately think of blue spiked hair, underage drinking and marijuana smoking. Many times, though, there are contributing life events that can lead to a child becoming delinquent, or out of control. This article will offer a few suggestions for parents who are struggling yet determined to remain supportive of their delinquent teenage son.
Coping at Home
Family issues like finance and divorce can add to your teen's stress. As they age, they lean on peers for support and are more apt to seek drugs or alcohol. Sharing coping skills with your teenage son will show him you care, and may help you deal with those issues as well. For instance, if going through a divorce, allow your teenage son to respectfully voice and discuss his feelings without threat of reprimand.
Drugs and Alcohol
Teenage boys want to fit in. Drinking and smoking with their peers not only feeds that need, but helps with feelings of loneliness or abandonment. Being supportive of your teen does not mean you allow them to drink; just the opposite. It’s important that you set a no-drinking-no-drugs rule. Explain your reasons for the rule and allow your teen son to ask questions, but do not waver. Even if he slips, however, be sure to not turn your back on him. Giving up on him will likely only cause him to move farther in that direction.
In Trouble with the Law
According to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, in 2010, there were over one million cases where a teenager was criminally charged. For more information, you may visit Ojjdp.gov. Talk to your son about making good decisions and how easily a fight at school could turn into a simple assault, or quickly grow to what is known as aggravated assault. Attorneys represent many teens in cases such as aggravated assault, manslaughter, and even against more serious charges.
As supportive as you try to be as a parent, there are certain behaviors that suggest intervention and possibly professional help such as violent acts, running away, and drug or alcohol addiction. As a parent, you can reach out to community-based programs, your son’s teacher or principal and even mentoring programs for help and support.
In 2011, more than 600 murders were committed by juvenile offenders; alarming numbers, but true. Being supportive of your delinquent teen son takes commitment, longevity and love. There is help out there. Know your limits and don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Your son’s life may depend on it.