For a teenager testing the boundaries, experimenting with drugs and alcohol may be the most recent in a long string of frustrating and defiant behaviors. As a parent, you may feel overwhelmed or at your wit’s end with your child’s resistance to your rules.
When they get caught in the possession of drugs and you get a call from the local police informing them that your teenager is in custody, you might hope that the situation will scare your child straight. Reinforcing the idea that this is a serious situation with real consequences is a valuable lesson, but that doesn’t mean that you should leave your child at the mercy of the criminal justice system.
Without the right support, your child could have lifelong consequences from a rebellious decision. Mounting a defense and planning to reduce the impact of the charges can protect your child’s future and help them learn from this mistake.
Drug convictions are some of the worst for young adults with bright futures
When you know your child is capable of more, habitual rule-breaking and problematic behavior can be particularly frustrating. Letting the justice system teach them a lesson might seem like the best way to straighten a child out before they reach adulthood and have to deal with more serious consequences. Unfortunately, the consequences of a drug conviction for the teenager are relatively severe.
The court-imposed consequences can range from incarceration and community service to license suspension and fines. Colleges and trade schools usually don’t look too kindly on any criminal conviction, let alone a teenage drug conviction.
Even if the school itself doesn’t let a criminal history affect admission, those with drug convictions will find their options for financial aid severely limited. Most private scholarships, as well as school-funded scholarships and federal student aid programs, inquire about conviction history and often refuse anyone with a conviction.
Giving your child support now can help them turn their life around
The weeks after an arrest are going to be difficult for young adults. They will likely face social consequences among their peers, as well as whatever penalties that you decide to enforce at home. They will likely also punish themselves by dwelling on their situation and experiencing stress as a result.
You can support by assisting them in navigating the charges and helping them make good decisions about defending themselves so that they don’t wind up saddled with a criminal record that will limit their options, possibly for life.