Phyllis Law - January 2019 | 404.514.3397

Protecting Bright Futures

JAN 2019

Bright Futures Bulletin

T here’s a colloquial saying preached by southern parents about the dangers of an idle mind, and I believe there may be some true wisdom there. As an attorney specializing in youth offenders, I often represent clients who have withdrawn from school and extracurricular activities. My holistic approach to providing legal assistance includes encouraging clients to embrace various resources and get involved. Teenagers who don’t have enough to do may begin making negative decisions regarding conduct and behavior. As an active parent, you can help reduce the likelihood your teen will choose undesirable activities by encouraging them to participate in extracurricular activities including clubs, sports, music, philanthropy, and part-time jobs. The hours immediately after school are an opportunity for misbehavior. If teens do not actively engage in organized activities or programs during this time, they may engage in risky behaviors because they do not have adult supervision or opportunities for expanded learning and exploration. The combination of structure and supervision serves to keep teenagers out of trouble. about positive peer pressure, specifically within team sports. They do not want to let their teammates down. Kids need structure to get good grades and perfect their technique. Our children don’t have much time to cultivate bad habits or make poor choices, because their schedules and dedication keep them occupied. Our two middle daughters, ages 12 and 10, broaden their basketball skills and have achieved national champion status with their I recognize the immense benefit staying busy has had on my four children. Each has learned

traveling softball teams. Our son, 14, excels at basketball, and our youngest daughter, 8, works hard on competitive cheerleading. When teens participate in organized recreation or activities, it provides them goals to pursue. Teens who lack goals and activities may lose focus and begin to struggle and lose direction. Parents can play an important role for teenagers to help them maintain focus. If parents encourage recreational activities that appeal to their teen and proactively set goals, the teen is more likely to spend time and energy achieving these goals as opposed to finding trouble. As parents, we cannot guard our children 100 percent of the time. We must rely on other adults to foster ambition and productivity. We are forced to build a collaborative infrastructure of trusted coaches, youth group leaders, employers, and instructors to surround our teens and influence them in a positive way. As they become more independent, our children learn just how capable they are, building confidence and self-reliance. Teens need to develop a sense of responsibility as they become young adults. My job makes me an overly cautious parent and an astute defender of adolescents. I witness every day the consequences people face when they make poor choices. Despite that exposure and every attempt to intervene, it is impossible to shelter our children from all things negative. Children are constantly learning, and we can only help and guide them so far. At Phyllis Law, I have assembled a team of advisors who want to help all adolescents when their paths have veered and they need legal intervention.

Positive Peer Pressure Getting Your Kids Involved Can Only Help

As an attorney with a specialty in helping youth offenders, I often see clients who

don’t have active and healthy hobbies, jobs, or go to school. ”

–Phyllis Gingrey Collins

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