Teenagers can be volatile and dramatic as they navigate this complicated phase of life. They can also make impulsive decisions without considering the consequences. Unfortunately, this can lead to confrontational and possibly violent exchanges.
If someone accuses your child of assault or any other juvenile offense in Tennessee, consider the following suggestions.
Stay calm and don’t jump to conclusions
A parent’s first response to these allegations could be to get mad at the accuser or assume he or she is lying. However, know that there are (at least) two sides to every story. It is unlikely that you have all the details right now.
Before you start making any statements or definitive actions based on your assumptions, stop, take a deep breath and focus on getting more information before you do anything.
Talk to your child
Even if you are angry with your child, you should talk to them and get their side of the story. Tell them what you heard and allow them to give their version of events.
This conversation could leave you feeling even angrier, sad or scared for your child’s safety, but no matter how you might be feeling, try to focus on what you can do to take care of your child in this difficult time. You might look into counseling at school or rehabilitative services. You should also examine the legal options and possible outcomes of the situation.
Get the facts
One of the most upsetting aspects of knowing your child is accused of a crime is not knowing what exactly that means. Will he or she go to prison? Will he or she be able to go to college in the fall? How will we tell other people about what has happened? Are police officers going to come to my door and arrest my child?
Such unnerving questions can add to the fear of this situation, so parents would be wise to consult an attorney to discuss the case. An attorney can explain likely outcomes, the juvenile court system in Tennessee and what you can do to prevent additional factors from complicating the case.
By staying calm and gather information before you do anything definitive, you can find it is easier to see your next steps and manage the situation with your child.