Working with the law and your teen

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Prolific scribe

Working with the law and your teen

I thought I might talk a little about our experiences with law enforcement at various levels as I think so many parents find themselves dealing with police and the law when they had never dreamed it would happen to their family. I also realised I’ve been posting on this forum since 2017- so perhaps others may be able to add to this topic as I haven’t seen it before.

 

Our son, now 16, has found himself in increasing trouble with the law since 2017. It began with some truanting and damage to an abandoned house resulting in a caution. A couple more cautions for other relatively minor things were added over following months.

 

Then we had nights of violent, threatening behaviour at home requiring police attendance as we struggled to keep things from escalating, as we did not want anyone on assault charges. Then we had nights of violence resulting in $$$$damage to our home, and in the end personal injury to my husband. We know the violence has all been fuelled by illegal drug use. Over the months we have ‘lost’ our gorgeous, bright, caring, gentle son and now have an angry, bitter, resentful son who believes he has been badly wronged by his parents and the world, and should be able to live his life with no boundaries and no consequences. This leads me to the law.

 

I cannot say enough, that although it is scary the first time you call the police for attendance and help, if you need help, they are always willing to give it. We have received nothing but respect, care, compassion and fairness from every officer we have had to deal with. Even when they themselves have been assaulted by our son. We have had them pop in at random times to check up on how we are. The front office staff at my local police station have been there with the box of tissues and a whole lot of care when I’ve fallen in a heap with exasperation and desperation. 

 

Now that our our son is going through the Children’s Court we have had to deal with court registrars, duty solicitors, bail officers, court mental health staff, bail hostel staff and detention centre staff.  Oh, and an incredible magistrate who is refusing to give our son wriggle room, and is keeping him ‘in the system’ and pulling out all stops to get the penny to finally drop with him! Every single one of these people have listened to us without judgement, have been reassuring, compassionate and fair.  Walking into a court room for the first time is intimidating. Watching your  son walk into a court room, shoeless and with a prison guard, is utterly gut wrenching. Having him then look at you with such venom is soul destroying. Not knowing what the outcome might be each time you walk in means you tend not to sleep the night before a hearing. Not knowing the ins and outs of the juvenile criminal code puts you at a disadvantage and is stressful.

 

I guess, the purpose of this post is to let other parents know, that if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of a call from police about your teen, they will not jump to conclusions about you as a person or parent. They will do what ever they possibly can to help you guide your teen through the risky years as best they can. The last thing those in law enforcement want to see is a juvenile in detention and they will engage as many support services to help families as they can. Yes, it is distressing, but if my experience is anything to go by, there is an enormous level of support there for families that find themselves in crisis, and that we should not be afraid when we have to engage with the law. 

 

 

Community Manager

Re: Working with the law and your teen

Thank you so much for sharing this @Faob_1. I think it will be really helpful, enlightening and might bring a send of relief and understanding for anyone going through this type of experience Heart

Frequent scribe

Re: Working with the law and your teen

What a wonderful post. I sheltered my daughter's behaviour from the police. I too have been in the local police station for advice and the staff are compassionate and offered suggestions.  But a couple of months ago she fouddnd herself in the back of a police wagon for drunken behaviour.  I think it did her good to know that I couldn't intervene and that there are laws that we all must abdide by.  However in saying this I am sure that she will find a way to drink again.

 

Y

Frequent scribe

Re: Working with the law and your teen

I don't think our teens can handle their emotions.  This way it is not their fault.  Physical injury to your husband and damage to your property as well.  If they don't acknowledge there behaviour they don't experience guilt and remorse.  Which is why in my option there behaviour does not improve.  And we parents are too worried to make them take a close look at themselves.  How can we when they threatened

Suicide?

Mod

Re: Working with the law and your teen

Hi @Worrisome

I just wanted to check in with you about you last post. From what I understand you mentioned that your child has threatened suicide? Are both you and your daughter safe at the moment?

 

Frequent scribe

Re: Working with the law and your teen

Thanks for your concern . Yes we are safe. Things are good the last 3 weeks.  I think as a parent I am going thru different stages of emotions, if my last post sounded a bit off. Fear, terror, compassion, exhaustion have been a part of my life for 16 months. And now that things MAY be calming down, anger.  Also apprehension that school is about to begin again.  

Mod

Re: Working with the law and your teen

@Worrisome I'm really sorry to hear how stressful the past year and a bit has been for you. I wanted to check, did you have any supports at the moment, like a helpline or counsellor? Do you have any self care strategies when you are feeling stressed?

Frequent scribe

Re: Working with the law and your teen

  1. No I haven't been to counselling for myself.  This forum is my counselling.  Between my daughter's various appointments and her school refusal I've had a hard enough time working my 3 days (5 hours a day) a week.

2.    I have a new problem. I have worked for the same company for 30 years and know the business inside and out.  The owner wants to send me overseas for a week in May to audit one of our branches.  My husband will be on leave in May and can look after our daughter.  But I am her support person and far more sensitive to her moods and needs.  It makes my physically sick (hot flushes and stomach cramps) to think of leaving her for this week.  I want to go but cannot help thinking I am deserting her.  I know May is a long time away and she could be happy and settled by then.  What if she needs me? How will I cope so far away?

Prolific scribe

Re: Working with the law and your teen

Hey there @Worrisome,

I'm glad that you find the forums helpful for your mental health Smiley Happy Would seeing a counselor be something you'd like to do? It can definitely be tricky to fit seeing someone in with other commitments, though helplines such as Parentline can make that easier. 

 

Going overseas sounds like an exciting opportunity! Have you ever done it before? It's great that your husband will be on leave and able to take care of your daughter. It can be really hard to know if things will be okay while you're away, especially when May is so far away. Do you think you'd be able to talk to your daughter and husband about these feelings? Sometimes talking to those around us about our fears can help find a solution, what do you think?