You got a late-night phone call from the university campus police, where your 18-year-old child is a freshman. They were caught intoxicated and urinating in public — and, in their conservative Kentucky community, this is viewed seriously.
Why would your otherwise sensible adult child have made such a foolish mistake?
The human brain doesn’t mature as early as people think
It turns out that your child could have a developmental reason for making a choice that led to criminal charges. Your child may literally need some additional time to grow up and reach the maturity level their age suggests they should have – because nobody becomes an intellectual adult just because they reach 18 years of age.
In fact, their frontal lobes will not finish maturing until they are in their early 20s. And, in today’s society, they are often confronted with the information they are not emotionally ready to handle.
The consequences of immature choices can be severe
The law, however, may not be particularly empathetic or forgiving of a college student’s mistakes.
If your college-age child is convicted of public intoxication and urination, this could lead to lost opportunities. They could lose their chance to earn a bachelor’s degree and launch their chosen career. This could lead to long-term pain over what should be a relatively minor incident in their lives.
When your college student has made a mistake that has led to criminal charges, you need to be proactive about their defense. Approaching the court (and the college review board) with mitigating factors may help gain some leniency for your child.