It’s one of any parent’s worst nightmare; waking up to a phone call and hearing that your kid has been arrested. While you may be wondering where you went wrong and blame this side of your kid as something he or she must have inherited from your partner’s side, there are a few ways of handling the situation that is better than simply freaking out.
It is, after all, a traumatic event for both of you which could go either way. Perhaps you figure that they’re a lost cause and your relationship is slightly worse off than it was before the arrest – or maybe you manage to get through this and build a stronger relationship.
Here is a handful of tips in terms of what to do if your kid gets arrested so that you have the information you need to keep calm and act accordingly. It just makes it a bit easier to put this behind you as soon as possible and make sure that your kid has the support he or she needs.
Prepare before you go to the police station
No matter what you’ve been at the police station for in the past, you know that it’s a tedious affair and showing up there because your teen has been arrested is no different. You might spend a couple of hours there, even as much as four or five, and making a few preparations beforehand will ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Contact a defense attorney, first of all, as well as the social worker if your child has one. The attorney or solicitor may take a bit of time to get to the station and it’s therefore important that you the first thing you do is to contact them. That way, you won’t have to sit around at the station for hours before he or she finally shows up.
There may be a local Youth Offending Team you could ask for help as well so search around a bit first to make that you’ve covered all of your options.
Talk to your child first
When you’re at the station, it’s a good idea to have a chat with your teenager about what happened before they have their interview. This is a great opportunity to make sure that they have been offered food and something to drink while staying there, talk about the incident as well as how they are feeling and whether or not they are ready for the interview.
You don’t have to wait for the solicitor to show up before you talk to your child, by the way. Explain to your child how the solicitor can help them in terms of legal help, and make sure that they are able to do the interview as you’ll be able to postpone it if this isn’t the case.
If your child hasn’t been sleeping much, for example, or if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it may be a good idea to schedule the interview for later.
Supporting your child
After all of this is over, you will still be parents and child. Your responsibility is, of course, to make sure that your kid knows that you’ll still be there for them; teenagers are impulsive and reckless, after all, and yours is certainly not the first one to get arrested at a young age.
Try to talk about what happened, though, and find support for your child elsewhere if you think he or she needs it.