Being a kid is hard these days. Children whose ages haven’t even hit double digits yet, can be subjected to some very serious forms of bullying. In addition, there are modern challenges that children face these days, like cyber bullying, that were never an issue for earlier generations. Kids are coping with stress and anger at much earlier ages. Without healthy coping skills in place, though, they sometimes make very bad choices! And this can lead to criminal charges. Nobody wants their kid to end up in Michigan’s juvenile justice court system, right?
Venting anger in certain ways can be seen as making threats!
Case in point, a 12-year-old boy from Warren, Michigan, was recently arrested and charged with Making a False Threat of Terrorism. Why? Because another student found a “kill list” he had written, naming students and ‘bad’ teachers that were supposidly marked as targets. But did that boy really intend to murder people at his school? We may never know. He might simply be venting his rage at students and teachers who were repeatedly unkind to him, and whom he disliked strongly enough to want them gone from his life.
In truth, we don’t know if that boy is really a murderer-in-the-making, or just a very sad and angry child that been alienated, bullied and pushed around. A child who doesn’t have healthy coping skills in place for dealing with their negative emotions. And he isn’t the only one. An 18-year-old senior at Utica High School was arrested just days ago for making a video where he was shown with a gun, threatening to shoot students at his high school. He posted the video on social media, and police here in Michigan were quickly alerted.
Angry children often lack appropriate outlets for their negative emotions
Children rarely, if ever, understand the true nature of long term consequences. As we pointed out a few weeks ago in an article, the American Academy for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reveals that juveniles are simply not mature enough to understand the complexities and far-reaching consequences of their choices. Even when the facts have been clearly explained to them, many still struggle to grasp the full scope of possibilities that could result from a single choice. Keep in mind that these kids don’t fully mature until very late teens or sometimes even into their twenties.
Ask the average young teen whether or not an angry kid who made a kill list should face decades in prison, and they’ll probably tell you no. Why? Because “he probably didn’t mean it” or “no one should go to prison for just making a list!” And yet, regardless of their lack of understanding of the law, it’s still the law here in Michigan. Making a “kill list” could be illegal under certain circumstances, even if it was made in jest. Threatening to harm or kill people, even if you don’t intend to follow through, is still against the law. And many kids simply don’t understand that fact.
Protect your children by keeping them informed
Talk to your kids about the importance of making smart choices. Discuss constructive outlets when they are struggling with anger. Help your kids address problems when they come up, so that resentment and bitterness don’t build to uncontrollable levels. Children who don’t have positive outlets for their feelings, and don’t have a ‘safe space’ where they can talk about their problems are more likely to make poorly-thought-out, impulsive decisions that may get them into trouble!
No parent wants their child to spend years behind bars for a single stupid choice, or one impulsive decision whose consequences they didn’t think through properly. If you or a loved one have a child whose facing arrest or criminal charges, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have spent decades helping Michigan minors whose choices landed them in hot water. We can help your family too!