Teen crime in Texas continues to climb. It is particularly high during the summer months when students are out of school and many teens lack parental supervision. However, there has been an increase throughout all months of the year. In Texas, those under the age of 18 are prosecuted differently than adults, but even a seemingly minor crime, or a so-called victimless crime, can lead to your teenager having a criminal record before they even come of age. Thankfully, there are several ways that you can decrease the risk of your teen being accused of a crime.
Talk to Them
Perhaps the single most important thing for parents and guardians to do is to talk to their children about crime and repercussions. Something as simple as “tagging” could land your teen in detention. Talk to them about right and wrong, about peer pressure, and about the consequences of their actions.
Know Their Friends
It can be tough for parents to be on a first-name basis with all of their children’s friends, but it is important that you make the effort. Know who your child is spending time with, what they do during their time together, and get to know more about their families if possible.
Be with Them
If you have downtime, spend it with your teen. Be involved. Find ways that you can limit their ability to be out on their own – family game nights, movie nights, and the like are low-cost ways that you can get more involved with them.
Find Recreational Activities
Teen crimes are often committed because of opportunity combined with boredom. Eliminate that possibility by finding recreational activities for your teen. During the summer, many communities offer camp-style recreational programs in the day, for instance. Plus, during the school year you need to look no further than your teen’s school or your local rec department for more options. From fishing to swimming to basketball, there’s a recreational option for just about any kid and any interest.
Consider a Job
Finally, if your teen is old enough, consider them getting a part-time job. Employment could be a great way for your teen to earn some extra money on the side while learning responsibility, teamwork, and other concepts that they will need to know in the real world. It can also build self-confidence while keeping your teen out of trouble. For teens 14 to 15 years old, it is legal to work up to 18 hours per week. For teens between 16 and 17, it is legal to work 48 hours per week (no more than eight hours per day).
If You Need Help
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may find that your teen faces criminal charges. Whether it’s vandalism, burglary, assault, or some other crime, it is vital that you work with an attorney familiar with the Texas juvenile system. Call the Law Offices of Sharita Blacknall today at 214-678-9111 to schedule a free consultation and to learn about what your child faces as they move through the process.