US: The mother of a ten-year-old boy took drastic action after hearing he'd been acting up at school by having her son arrested, according to PulpTastic. Fortunately for the disobedient child, the arrest was staged by the police officers, who just gave him a stern talking to before returning him to his mom. She said that she had feared that his behaviour could eventually pose a threat to his life, and that she felt it was her responsibility to intervene.
The police officers involved may face disciplinary action for acting without authorisation or supervision, but the boy has reportedly mended his ways...
Teenagers may find that their boundary-pushing behaviour comes with unanticipated consequences. Some teens may get into trouble at school or even with the law. How parents of teens in these circumstances respond to disciplinary problems can help the teen overcome these or add to the destructive behaviour.
There are many ways in which a teen can get into trouble with the law, including substance abuse (drugs and/or alcohol), violence, destruction of property, stealing and more. These can range from mild cases such as once-off shoplifting to being caught up in habitual criminal activities such as drug dealing or the violence associated with gangs.
The legal obligations of parents and guardians
If you are your child’s legal guardian, you are obliged to ensure that your child complies with the law. If your child breaks the law and faces charges, you are obliged to ensure your child complies with any expectations related to the case, including attending interviews, trial dates, court-mandated punishment such as community service and anything else required of the child.
Although a parent may be reluctant to expose the child to criminal charges, failure to present the child (and a deliberate effort to conceal the child) could result in the parent being given criminal charges. The Children’s Act states that the parent must act on behalf of the child if the child needs to go to court.
If you feel that your child’s safety may be at risk in relation to a criminal matter, you could seek legal advice or a counsellor. The law always acts in favour of the safety of the child, and the courts take this into consideration when dealing with a minor. Should you choose to cover up a crime to protect your child, you could even face having the child removed from your custody for the child’s protection. Child line, SAPS and others can also assist you in getting help for your child.
The obvious benefits to having discussions about what is legal and what is not illegal with your child include helping your child to understand that their actions have consequences and that not knowing the law is not a valid excuse for breaking it.
Boys and Girls Town hotline: 0861 58 58 58 (for parents and children in crisis).
If your child broke the law, what would you do?