"I'll never be like him!" That's what you told yourself when your father hit you when you were a teen—but here you are, sitting in jail for hitting your teenager, the person you love more than life itself.
What went wrong? How did you turn into the parent you swore you'd never be? And more important, how can you repair your relationship with your child?
The Most Important Timeout of Your Life
If you're in jail, even if it's only for overnight, you're probably facing a domestic violence charge and a TRO – a temporary restraining order. You may not have any contact whatsoever with your child or your family. None.
This is the time to contact a family law attorney. In about 10 to 14 days, you're going to have a court hearing before a judge. A lawyer can get you counseling or parental training that might help you get the TRO dismissed.
Now for the Hard Part
The TRO has been lifted. Your attorney's work is done, but the therapy or parental training has just begun. Here are some of the things you might be advised to do with or for your estranged teen:
- Apologize and mean it. Even if your teen was wrong, don't blame the kid for your bad behavior. Own it with no excuses or justifications.
- Be patient, be open. Your teen may not want to talk with you at first. Let them know you are available to them when they're ready to talk.
- Don't debate right or wrong about what happened. Talk about the feelings each of you have. This may be painful. Do not judge the feelings or discount them.
- Listen, really listen. Tell your teen what you're hearing so they can confirm or correct your understanding. Only then will they be ready to listen to you.
- Don't just say you've changed. Prove it.
Be the kind of dad you promised you would be when you were a kid.
If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you may be facing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DRVO). Contacting an attorney experienced in Criminal Defense and Family Law is the first step toward restoring your relationship with your family. In the San Francisco area, contact Amin Law at 415-851-4300 for compassionate advice and professional representation.
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