If your child has mental health challenges, you may have concerns about their ability to live a productive and fulfilling life. Your fears may shift into overdrive if your child receives charges for a juvenile offense. With a record weighing over them, you may wonder if your child will slip through the cracks.

A single offense doesn’t mean your child will lead a life of crime. Pursuing proper treatment and adopting a compassionate attitude can go a long way in helping them flourish afterward.

Mental illness requires treatment, not punishment

Your child’s mental health challenges likely contributed to their actions. When the offense occurred, they may not have had a formal diagnosis. They also might not have been seeing a therapist to process their mental health issues. Or they might not have been working with a psychiatrist to treat their disorder with appropriate medication. Seeking proper treatment for your child can improve their stability after their charges. And studies show that treatment can be far more effective than punishment for juvenile offenders.

Mental illness does not predict future offenses

Criminal charges and mental health issues both carry significant stigma. Combined, they could exacerbate your child’s challenges. Try approaching their offense with a mindset of compassion and helpfulness. You can work with them to figure out if they can have their records sealed once they turn 18. This motion can help your child leave their offense in the past. And until that day comes, you can help them understand that one offense does not make them a bad person or a career criminal.

Children with mental health disorders face unique struggles that can make daily life difficult. Adding criminal charges to the mix might only increase their feelings of instability. Working with a criminal defense attorney can help you forge a path forward for your child after they commit an offense.