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How to talk to your teenager about interacting with police

It is no secret that raising a teenager can be challenging and exhausting. Many teens feel a strong urge to explore and rebel, which can get them in trouble with the law. If this happens to your child, you are not alone. In 2017, there were approximately 809,700 juvenile arrests in the United States.

As a parent, few things are more dreadful than getting a call from the police station informing you that your child is in jail or police custody. You can teach your child a few tips for how to handle this situation so you are both ready if it ever happens. Here are some lessons to instill in your teen. 

Be calm and respectful when interacting with police

If your child gets in trouble with the authorities, he or she may get angry. Make it clear to your teen that being respectful and cooperative is the best way to interact with police. Tell him or her to always remain calm no matter what the situation is. While an arrest, detainment or questioning may be stressful for your teenager, you can make sure he or she is ready.

Do not say too much

Inform your teen that he or she should only tell the police basic information such as his or her name or your contact information. Beyond that, everything should be off limits. Talk to your teen about how important it is to exercise the right to remain silent. Let your teen know to tell the police that he or she wants to contact you and a lawyer. 

Parents are not lawyers

This is not only a lesson for your teen but you as well. It is natural for both of you to see yourself as a protector and advocate. But in complex legal situations, it is best for you to not try to play the role of a lawyer. 

 

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