It is a wrenching decision whether you bail your child out of jail.
The common response is to quickly get your child out of jail. Common, but not always wise. Your child might learn more about changing their troublesome behaviors, and controlling their impulses, if they spend some time in jail suffering the natural consequences of their actions. If you’re sure your child did not participate in the offense for which they’ve been arrested, they may have little to learn by spending time in jail. If your child committed the offense, consider leaving them in jail, at least until their arraignment. Sadly, even though your child pleads to get out of jail, they can’t stand it there, and they’ll never make this mistake again, these protests don’t usually translate into future decisions. The most powerful change for bad decision making, is for your child to suffer the natural consequences for what they did. If your child is in jail for a second offense, consider allowing the natural consequences to weigh on your child so they learn the lesson.
Dr. Jankovich has been working as a psychologist since 1974. She works with a range of areas, including relationships, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, grief, trauma, and struggles with life transitions.
The photo included in this story is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons.