When your adult child makes the headlines....for the wrong reasons
The big news headline, the lead-off story on the six-o-clock news, the incident that the radio dj is talking about. This is the story of US - the parents of these kids that provide the headlines for YOU to discuss....come inside our worldSo this article is more about handling BIG public embarrassment versus the little embarrassments of life with children. We've all experienced the toddler with the tantrum at the grocery store and have scurried around picking up items and hoping for a quick check-out line. And many of us have taken our children to see Santa Claus and/or the Easter Bunny and all they have done is cry and want to do anything but sit on their laps.
Then there is US - those of us that live in the world of adult children embarrassment; very public and very real. Our kids are the ones that appear on the front pages of our local (and sometimes national) newspapers, make the top story on the news channel and cause our friends and acquaintances to whisper "gee, I'm so glad my kid didn't do that...." (whatever "THAT" is).
Our children are those that when you see them on the news or paper, think "oh my goodness, they must come from a horrible family" or "I'm so glad my son/daughter has never done that!"
We go through our days with a smile plastered on our face, our chins high and pretend not to notice the whispers, snickers, and snide comments. So, just in case some of you might someday join US, here are some tips:
- When your child's antics hit the papers, news, etc., try to find out the complete details. Don't EVER make comments to the papers or news. Your comments will invariably be taken out of context and can make the situation worse. At the very least, it will not help nor will it garner any sympathy.
- If it is a legal matter, it is always better to go with a private attorney versus public defender. This is one of those "you get what you pay for" situations. None of the nurses I know are independently wealthy so coming up with the case instantly can oftentimes be problematic. Some solutions:
- Savings accounts
- College tuition accounts
- Cash in retirement or 401 - be prepared for big tax penalty
Your relationship as a couple is important and you must nurture that relationship. Talk things out. You may not agree on the same course of action, you may not know the correct course of action. If you have a not so good parental relationship, talking things out is even more important. If at all possible, present a united front in front of the child.
Feel free to love your child, but dislike their actions. They still need support from their parents. This can be a very stressful time for the entire family. Sometimes counseling is needed so that the family can move through this and get to the other side.
In the end, what helps one family get through a very public embarrassment might not work for another family. There is no one size fits all. As the event or circumstances evolve, families experience a myriad of emotions.
And...that's okay for US!
And...don't forget we used to be YOU!Last edit by traumaRUs on Dec 12, '17
About traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS Admin
Joined: Apr '00; Posts: 53,019; Likes: 25,768
allnurses Asst Community Manager, APRN; from US
Specialty: 25 year(s) of experience in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICUJan 8, '14My ADULT child can pay for their own lawyer, thank you very much.
I already told my kids... I don't bail ANYONE out of jail. You end up there, you better figure out how to get your @$$ out.Jan 8, '14Things I would add about lawyers (having worked for a couple of criminal defense attorneys). Many criminal defense attorneys will do free consultations. Make appointments and talk with the office staff. Be open about what the situation is. This is one place where you need not feel embarrassed. They have heard it all before. See at least two, or more lawyers. Depending on the crime involved it may be a long time before going to court. Given the choice of bail money or getting a lawyer, get the lawyer. Jail may not be pleasant but if you put your house up for bail and your child skips. You lose your home. Even if they show up in court, you won't see the money again if you use a bail bondsman.
Some lawyers will allow payments as long as the total is paid on time and before court dates. If not paid, it is legal for them to drop you as a client. Be open about finances, and be on time with payments. You do not want to lose what you have paid to a lawyer if you get dumped for lack of payment. That will leave you scrambling for a new lawyer and less money to work with.
No parent wants to see their child, even if an adult, in trouble with the law. I have seen parents help out a great deal, and the offspring appreciates the support. I have also seen where the parent pays a great deal of money only to have the offspring repeat the crime or in some other way ignore the great sacrifice the parents are making by their support. You know your child. Judge accordingly. One mother told me she was so happy he was in jail. She felt he would be safe and get off the drugs.
No parent deserves to be treated poorly by their friends and neighbors if something happens. Unfortunately, it is another case where you find out who are real friends and who are superficial.
Prayers for all involved. Every parent does the best they can. Be kind to yourself and each other. Work to not blame one another. Keep your eye on the prize, your child not being in trouble again. Determine if there are things that can be changed, addiction, whether drugs, gambling or any other.
Know you are not alone. (((Hugs)))Jan 9, '14I really appreciated this. Really. I'm the sister-in-law of that adult child, and I have done so much to help my mother and father in law through this. Yes, it was in the paper. On the news. Unpleasantly splashed across Facebook before we had told many family members and friends. I can't agree more about the lawyer bit. We've switched three times, and that third time was the charm. All I can say is, you better be on your toes, because the legal system doesn't give a fart in the wind about families, defendants, or anything like that. I can't count the number of letters written, phone calls made, and person visits arranged trying to help my brother. He deserves it, but you know what? We didn't pay bail either. He's safer in detention, and we can pay for his lawyer instead.
The other thing I would like to add, is watch who you talk to about it. A lot of people will look at you like you've grown two green heads if you say "So I just saw X at the jail." The prevailing opinion truly seems to be you must be wrong/bad/dirty/shady because you have family there. 'Cause really, it isn't like the Kennedys or the Bushes haven't seen the inside of a jail cell once or twice...
That, and some people will hesitate at nothing to share that little tidbit you thought was between friends to the nearest "news" source they find. Of course, anonymously. All the fun with none of the backlash. Can you tell I've been there?Jan 9, '14Feel your pain! My sons frontal lobe did not engage until the past year or so......(he'll be 33). He got jammed up in another state so I was able to keep a lid on things....as I had no $$ for a lawyer or bail, we had to believe in the CJ system and he got a public defender. He was in the pokey for two weeks, spent all day at the courthouse on the court day, never even saw the judge. Went back to jail and early the next AM he was bounced out, given a transit card and said you are all done.
Lived at his address for 6 more months, same job for another 18 mos and never heard another word. Relocated home, got his drivers license, had a criminal background check to work at the same employer I do and passed it and got car insurance.
Last summer was at a local park area after hours (DUMB!), was asked for license and registration for identification purposes and was hauled away as fugitive from justice!!!!!!!!!!!
Long story short, the cop was a no show at the orig court date, the prosecuter took it to the grand jury and he was indicted...he had no idea as he had moved.
All of this was in the local paper...identified his employer and that he had a background check done, the reporter actually got to the HR office before he could tell them in order to "verify his employment and that he in fact had a record check"...I think (knowing how she operates) that she was looking to see if he got a pass on the background check because I work there).
After multiple phone calls he finally got a court date, we flew down and it was dismissed......eligible for expungement.
Ya, having your stuff out there for the whole world to see aint no picnic!Jan 9, '14@viva - thanks
@dianah - thanks
@AKY - great info - thanks much. Totally agree with everything you say.
@countrymomma - very true. Doesn't help when you have a very unusual last name. And...yes, you do find out who your friends are.
@nutmegge - sorry for everything he went thru. How true that there are few people in the defendants corner.
Thanks everyone. These situations certainly humble the strongest.Jan 10, '14Quote from traumaRUsI think this advice is key. Supporting a child that has done something criminal is very different from excusing their behavior or pretending it's OK. Thanks for writing an article on a subject that is often not brought up for conversation at all.S
Feel free to love your child, but dislike their actions. They still need support from their parents.Jan 11, '14@StNeotserSupporting is not the same as approving - you are so right. Some people do unfortunately have to learn the hard way which is painful for them but equally painful for those that have to watch. Thank you.Jan 13, '14Quote from StNeotserI think this advice is key. Supporting a child that has done something criminal is very different from excusing their behavior or pretending it's OK. Thanks for writing an article on a subject that is often not brought up for conversation at all.
I never condoned his actions, but who will be there to love him in the end? Me-his mother-the ONLY one who has ever had his back completely.
Could have wrung his neck! But I am so lucky to have friends and family that love and care for both of us. The reach out, a simple phone call, a quick email to just let someone know that you care, means all the world!Jan 13, '14So very true. Wringing his neck has entered my mind as an option - though since I can't see him in person at the moment, this option will have to wait....lol
Thanks very much....Jan 14, '14Quote from traumaRUs((Hugs))So very true. Wringing his neck has entered my mind as an option - though since I can't see him in person at the moment, this option will have to wait....lol
Thanks very much....