When to Call the Police on Your Child

When to Call the Police on Your Child

As parents, we strive to protect and guide our children, ensuring their safety and well-being. However, there may come a time when their behavior becomes a cause for concern, leaving us wondering if it is necessary to involve the authorities. While the decision to involve the police in matters concerning your child is a difficult one, it is crucial to prioritize the safety of all parties involved. This article aims to provide guidance on when to call the police on your child and address common questions parents may have regarding this challenging situation.

Recognizing the Signs

Recognizing the signs that indicate the need to involve the police is essential. Here are some situations that may require immediate intervention:

1. Violence or Threats: If your child displays violent behavior towards you, other family members, or themselves, it is crucial to prioritize everyone’s safety. Threats of harm, the presence of weapons, or physical altercations are indicators that involving the police may be necessary.

2. Substance Abuse: If you suspect your child is engaged in drug or alcohol abuse, and their behavior is escalating or putting themselves or others at risk, contacting the police can help ensure their safety and provide them with the necessary resources for recovery.

3. Criminal Activity: Discovering that your child has engaged in criminal activities, such as theft, vandalism, or assault, warrants immediate attention. Involving the police can help address the situation appropriately and prevent further harm.

4. Mental Health Crisis: If your child is experiencing a severe mental health crisis, such as expressing suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harm, it is vital to seek professional help. In such cases, contacting the police can ensure their immediate safety and provide access to mental health resources.

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5. Runaway or Missing Child: If your child has run away or gone missing, it is important to contact the police immediately. They can initiate a search and provide valuable assistance in locating your child.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I determine if my child’s behavior is severe enough to involve the police?

A: Trust your instincts as a parent. If your child’s behavior poses an immediate threat to their safety or the safety of others, contacting the police is warranted. Assess the severity of the situation, and if in doubt, consult professionals such as therapists, counselors, or law enforcement officials.

Q: What if my child is a minor?

A: Age should not be a barrier to seeking help when your child’s behavior becomes dangerous. Minors can still be held accountable for their actions, and involving the police can help ensure their safety and provide the necessary interventions.

Q: Will involving the police ruin my child’s future?

A: While involving the police may have consequences, it is important to prioritize safety over potential long-term effects. The goal is to address the behavior, protect your child, and provide them with the necessary support and resources to help them make positive changes in their lives.

Q: How can I support my child after involving the police?

A: After involving the police, it is crucial to provide emotional support for your child. Encourage open communication, seek professional help, and explore therapy or counseling options to address the underlying issues that led to the situation.

Q: Are there alternatives to calling the police?

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A: In some situations, involving the police may not be the first step. Consider reaching out to mental health professionals, school counselors, or local community organizations that specialize in supporting families dealing with challenging behaviors. They can provide guidance and resources to address the situation before involving law enforcement.


Deciding when to involve the police in matters concerning your child is an incredibly difficult decision for any parent. However, it is essential to prioritize the safety and well-being of all parties involved. Recognizing the signs that indicate the need for police intervention, such as violence, substance abuse, criminal activity, mental health crises, or runaways, is crucial. By making an informed decision, seeking professional advice, and providing ongoing support, parents can navigate this challenging situation with the best interests of their child in mind.