Personal Attention.
Aggressive Defense.

Photo of Thomas C. Mooney

How should I tell my kids that I’m facing charges?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Facing criminal charges is stressful. Telling your kids that you are facing criminal charges is also extremely stressful. How you approach this conversation is important, as it will affect how they process the information that you’re giving them.

The way you explain your situation will vary significantly depending on the age and maturity of your children. Younger children require simpler explanations, while older children or teenagers may need more detailed information. Tailor your approach to ensure it is age-appropriate and understandable.

Tips for success 

Honesty is important, but it’s equally important to be gentle. Avoid giving unnecessary details that might frighten or overwhelm them. Explain the situation in a straightforward manner, focusing on the basic facts and what it means for your family. For example, you might say, “I made a mistake, and now I have to go to court to try and make things right.”

Express your situation in a way that allows your kids to both ask questions and express their own feelings about the situation. They may have concerns about what will happen to you, how it will affect their daily lives and what they can expect moving forward. Answer their questions both honestly and as calmly as possible, providing reassurance where you can.

Keep your children informed about significant developments in your case, but continue to protect them from unnecessary stress. Regular updates, provided in a calm and reassuring manner, can help reduce their anxiety about the unknown.

Finally, understand that children may react differently to the news. Some may become clingy or anxious, while others might appear indifferent or angry. Be patient and supportive, giving them the space and time they need to process the information in their own way. 

Note that this same guidance can be applied to a situation wherein a loved one has already been incarcerated and is awaiting developments in their legal case.