Talking to Your Teen After Her Friend is Arrested

Friend Arrested

Being a teen is a rite of passage and sometimes that includes pushing the edges of the envelope so far pieces fly off in all directions.

But what happens if your teen tells you that one of her BFFs just got arrested? Time to talk about what happens with an arrest and what your teen should remember if she is ever in that situation.

Work Through It Together

The true time to talk about what happens if your teen is arrested should occur beforehand but that’s not always practical.

The most important thing you can do is listen. Ask questions but try not to make any judgments about the friend or the friend’s family because that’s a sure way to get the open communication door slammed in your face.

Find out what the arrest is for. Drinking? Stealing? Drugs? The answer to this question will shape the remainder of the conversation.

Discuss together what the consequences should be for criminal behavior and work out a plan together if she is ever arrested. Ask her what she would do if she was her friend’s parent.

Talk about right and wrong and ask if she has eve engaged in the kind of behavior that got her friend arrested.

Talking to Her Friend

Your teen will probably want to support her friend and help her talk things through. While this could certainly be helpful for the friend, it could also put your teen in a precarious position if the friend admits any kind of guilt.

It may be best to keep them apart for a while until things cool down. And your kid can certainly be friends but just not talk about the arrest.

What should you do if your teen is arrested?

Lawyer Up?

Depending on the situation, having a lawyer come in and represent your child may be the best option. Some attorneys suggest that an arrested teen should never say anything. Talking to police first and an attorney second may be a mistake because you can’t go back and change what you said based on an attorney’s advice without losing credibility.

Know Your Rights as a Parent

You have every right to help your teen. If the offense is lower level, the police may just handle the matter with you and leave it at that.

Something like underage drinking will typically result in a fine and perhaps community service depending on the judge.

She’s Innocent

If you find out that your teen is innocent and did nothing wrong, it’s important for your child to speak up to help the officers figure out what really happened.


While admitting guilt may be what eventually happens for your teen or her friend, tell your daughter that cooperation is important if she is ever finds herself in hot water.

If it turns out that your teen’s friend goes to trial, take her to watch the proceedings. Sometimes seeing what happens in a real courtroom is the best deterrent.

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