Having your child charged with a juvenile crime can be devastating and scary for any parent to experience. Both you and your child have to deal with the repercussions and consequences that result from the alleged offense.
In Minnesota, juvenile delinquency matters cover petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and felony offenses allegedly committed by those under 18 years old. If your child is charged with a crime, not only do you have to deal with finding the best juvenile defense lawyer to protect their future, but also make sure your child doesn’t continue down the same path – no matter the outcome of the charges.
There tend to be two types of juvenile delinquents:
- Those who exhibit severe signs of antisocial behavior from early childhood, and
- Those who begin showing signs of antisocial behavior as they enter adolescence.
In either case, there are steps a parent can take to intervene and prevent these behaviors from controlling your child’s life and derailing their potential.
The earlier you can recognize antisocial behavior in your child, the earlier you can address it. Early intervention can prevent delinquent behaviors, while also supporting a child’s positive assets, reducing the likelihood that they will become a serious, violent adult offender.
Positive Youth Development Programs
Positive youth development is a great strategy to “intervene” without actually setting up something the looks like an intervention. Models for positive youth development programs focus on at-risk kids and tend to teach kids the importance of relationships, work, education, health, community, and creativity. By focusing on these 6 areas, kids will be able to learn and develop a sense of belonging, which will hopefully redirect their behavior.
So how can a parent intervene in their child’s life and get them involved with a positive youth development program?
Look to your community and schools and see what kind of programs they offer. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention supports community efforts and offers funding to develop and implement prevention and intervention programs to address and reduce juvenile delinquency across the board. There are numerous programs throughout Minnesota that target kids of all ages and with a variety of different risk factors.
Some of these programs include:
- Mentoring programs
- School organizations and club programs
- Classroom and behavior management programs
- Conflict resolution curriculum
- Violence prevention curriculum
- Bullying prevention programs
- Afterschool or extracurricular recreation programs
- Community programs and intervention
In addition to these programs teaching children about their own self-worth and the effects of drugs, weapons, gangs, sex, and criminal behaviors, these programs allow kids to connect with adults and other kids their own age. The positive relationships and bonds that kids form as a result of a youth program may help them at crucial points in their life.
These programs also fill unsupervised time in a child’s schedule. Kids tend to commit crimes between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., so if they are attending a program instead of wandering about, the opportunity simply won’t be there.
If you begin to notice your child is heading down the wrong path, intervene before it’s too late. Talk to your kids and get them involved in a program that will help them correct their path. And if your child is ever charged with a juvenile crime, contact an experienced Minnesota juvenile crime attorney to get the best possible results and make sure your child’s rights are protected.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).