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Is your teen on probation? Probation is a less severe penalty for lawbreaking than serving actual jail time. Often, especially with first offenders or younger adults, judges will opt for probation with certain conditions that must be met. If the defendant fails to complete the terms of the probation, he or she may be subject to jail time.
In fact, probation violation is one of the most common causes of incarceration among adults. While probation is undoubtedly a serious negative outcome for unlawful behavior, it can also serve as an opportunity for personal growth. As many philosophers have said, whether something is good or bad ultimately depends on the outlook of the person experiencing the situation. So despite how negative your child’s situation (and yours) may seem right now, here are a few positive effects of a teen on probation that may help a young adult correct their mistakes, evolve, and find their place in the world.
Learning to Serve
Community service is a major component of probation. Most judges impose a set amount of community service hours for the successful completion of the probation. Many teens understandably look on community service with dread, imagining picking up trash for hours in the hot sun or performing some other uncomfortable and tiring activity.
While picking up trash is certainly one option, there are actually others that might do even more to foster a service-oriented mind. Examples include helping older citizens with home upkeep, serving at a library in a children’s literacy program, or working in a food kitchen. These experiences can instill a sense of responsibility as well as a renewed appreciation for the resources that a teen has enjoyed. Gaining perspective on the difficulties of others’ lives can be a great way to encourage gratitude.
Your Teen on Probation will be Getting Help
Drugs and alcohol are major causes of crime among teenagers. Extending substance abuse into adulthood is a good predictor of negative outcomes later in life, such as incarceration. “Getting caught” might just be the best thing that someone battling addiction can experience. Often, seeking help on their own can be difficult and embarrassing, especially for teens who tend to be socially anxious about the judgments of their peers.
Frequent attendance at AA meetings can be a requirement for completing probation for a DUI charge. While it is true that support groups and rehabilitation programs don’t work in each case, they do help a substantial number of participants gain sobriety and remain sober.
Because the decision-making center of the brain is one of the last pieces to develop fully (not until age 25), teens are significantly more impulsive than adults. Add to the mix escalating hormone levels, a desire to impress peers, and often drugs or alcohol, and the risk of devastating outcomes to dangerous behavior skyrockets. Learning that each decision carries consequences, such as probation, is crucial for development into responsible adulthood.
Don’t let the opportunities for growth slip away if you have a teen on probation. Although having your child undergo probation can be expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient, there are silver linings that can have long-lasting positive impacts on your teen as they move through the world.
If your teen is struggling in their life, have them try one of these simple tricks!
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