No parent wants to think that they raised a bad kid. A teenager who faces criminal charges is not necessarily a bad kid either. Teenagers get into trouble sometimes, but it is not always the parents’ fault or because the teenager is prone to criminal activity.
Some parents fear that as their child grows up, they may continue to act out. This is rarely the case.
Why teens act out
In adolescence, children begin to gain more independence. According to WebMD, while they seek independence they do not have the emotional maturity to make informed decisions. Teenagers are still adapting to autonomy and independence. Also, their brains have not fully developed. When adults notice that teenagers lack impulse control and cannot make good decisions it is because that part of their brain has not developed yet.
Teenage immaturity is normal but it can lead to risky behaviors. Often, they act out to test boundaries and to see how their parents will react. Parents who have clear boundaries are more likely to succeed in curbing risky behavior.
How teens get better
While clear rules and effective parenting strategies can set boundaries for teenagers, it is only a part of the equation. Most juveniles who commit crimes or act out as minors do not go on to do so in adulthood. Instead, most teenagers grow up to live healthy lives. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a teenager’s brain is in a vulnerable state and still developing. Most people do not finish developing and maturing until their mid-to-late 20s.
When juveniles commit crimes, it is not an adequate predictor of future crime.