Parents are sometimes shocked when they find out that their children have been accused of breaking the law. They may have a teenager who has been a bit rebellious at times, but they’ve never done anything like this. Why has this happened?

The truth is that there are many different reasons why teenagers break the law. Part of it is just that they don’t always understand the ramifications of their actions in the way that an adult does. As a parent, you know the impact that a criminal conviction can have on the future. But your teen may not have considered that. These are some of the additional/alternative reasons why teenagers break the law.

Peer pressure

First and foremost, peer pressure is very effective when exercised against teenagers. They want to fit in with their peer group, and they will sometimes do things that go against their own nature in order to prove themselves. Shoplifting is a common example of this. A teenager who doesn’t need to shoplifting would never do so on their own may do it if the rest of the group is engaging in that activity or if they are dared to do so.

Seeking attention

Similarly, some teenagers break rules and laws because they want attention. To adults, it seems like negative attention would be something they would want to avoid. But teenagers are in a different stage in their mental and emotional development. They may feel that any attention is good, and so they will do whatever it takes to get it.

They are trying to be independent

Finally, some teenagers rebel and test limits simply because they want to be independent. They’re trying to demonstrate that independence and have some level of power and control over their lives. In fact, there are teens who explicitly break the law simply because they know it’s wrong and they want to show that they get to make their own choices. No one else, whether police officers or their parents, can make those choices for them.

Unfortunately, these influences can lead to some rather poor choices that could result in long-term ramifications on a young person’s life. As a result, it’s important for teenagers and their parents to understand all the legal defense options at their disposal in the event of an arrest. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to gain this necessary clarity.