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Out of Control Teenager Legal Options

At Sundance Canyon Academy, we hear from many parents at their wit’s end with their out-of-control teens. Life at home doesn’t feel safe due to their teen’s behavior, and they don’t know their legal options. We are writing on this topic today to help parents understand their legal options and provide tips for dealing with a troubled teenager.

When teenage behavior gets out of control, life at home can become unbearable. Maybe you get into screaming matches with your child or feel like you have to walk on eggshells, so you don’t set them off. Rebellious teen behavior can be challenging to manage, turning your life into a nightmare.

You want your teen to grow up well and know that they are loved. However, you have to set boundaries and keep yourself and your family safe. If your teen behavior is becoming dangerous, you need to intervene. Even if their behavior is only hazardous to themselves, there can still be legal repercussions if you don’t get them under control. It’s essential to know your legal options and what’s legally expected as a parent.

Out of control teenager legal options

When your teen’s behavior drives you to your breaking point, you might be tempted to kick them out of the house. Before doing that, you need to understand the legal implications of that decision. Even if their behavior is entirely out of control, they are still considered a minor if they are under 18.

As their parent, it is still your responsibility to provide them with safety, food, and shelter. If you kick your teen out of the house and they are still a minor, you could be charged with abandonment. Even if your teen has chosen to leave the house and stay with a friend for a while, you are still legally required to keep in touch with them, financially provide for them, and make sure that they are following the law.

Unless your child has legally been emancipated, you are still legally required to fulfill the duties of a parent even if they are wholly rebellious and won’t listen to you. When a teen is emancipated, a judge legally separates the child from the parent’s responsibility and lets the child act as an adult.

In this case, the teen is fully responsible for their behavior, and the parents cannot be held legally accountable for their child’s actions. In most states, a child must be at least 16-years-old before they can be legally emancipated.

Other options

Before resorting to emancipation, there are several other options that you might want to consider. Yes, you need to stand up for yourself and the rest of your family to keep everyone safe. However, kicking your teen out of the house at a young age can have lifelong ramifications.

Troubled teenagers tend to have other significant things going on in their lives. If they don’t learn to address the real issues while they are still young, those issues can plague them long into adulthood. Your out-of-control teen needs to know that they have your love and support so that they can start to regain control of their life.

Teenagers are going to make mistakes, and they’re going to test authority. Developing independence is not always a smooth process, and sometimes they take it too far. Ideally, you can step in to address problematic behavior before it goes too far. Before throwing in the towel, there are some other things that you can try.

Connect with your teen. It can be challenging to communicate with your teenager when they are acting out, but it’s essential to try to connect with them when you can. You might find out more about what’s going on in their life so that you can help them through tough situations.

Watch for drug or alcohol abuse. It’s common for teens to experiment with drugs and alcohol, but experimentation can be problematic. Some teens develop addiction issues. Others can behave in ways that get them into trouble when intoxicated. Also, drug and alcohol use can lead to serious legal problems or get them expelled from school. Keep an eye out for drug or alcohol abuse and step in as needed.

Get professional help. Troubled teenagers often have something going on behind the scenes driving their behavior. They may be experiencing issues with friends or classmates that you don’t know about. They could also have mental health struggles that are just starting to present themselves. Talk to your teen’s doctor about their behavior to get their professional opinion and ideas for intervention.

Consider a therapeutic boarding school. If your teen’s behavior makes you want to kick them out of the house, you might need to consider other housing options. Your legal obligations limit your ability to actually kick them out, and emancipation is a major decision. Another option to keep your family safe, fulfill your legal obligations to your teen, and try to address their behavior is to send them to a therapeutic boarding school.

While in school, they will be in a safe, supportive environment to receive therapy to address their behavior. Meanwhile, your family stays safe at home and can get some respite from your out-of-control teen’s destructive behavior.

To find out if our school can help your family, call us at 866-640-1899.

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