It’s called impulse control. It’s a sense that tells us when we need to fight our desire to do something that may prove detrimental. We all have moments when we want nothing more than to throw caution to the wind and “go for it.” Maybe you have been tempted to tell your boss what you really think of him or her. Or maybe you’ve thought about how funny it would be to jump on your neighbor’s riding lawnmower and take a spin around the block. Everyone has silly fantasies that we keep at bay because as adults we have impulse control and understand the effects of our actions.

But teenagers sometimes have trouble with impulse control. And as we covered in a previous post, they often cannot help themselves because the part of the brain that seeks excitement does not develop as fast as the part that tells them to slow down and assess the situation. And even if a teen is aware that an action is risky and has consequences, he or she may still dive in.

And therein lies the problem; it is actually healthy to take some risks, but all too often teens go too far and end up in trouble with the law. And, depending on the severity of the offense, this can be very problematic. For example, breaking a window with a rock is a bad thing to do, but following that by breaking into a house is a serious crime.

Most teens will grow up and develop impulse control and become productive adults. Unfortunately, the path toward their goals can be seriously obstructed if they are caught committing an illegal act. We at Johnson & Johnson understand just how much is at stake when a child runs afoul of the law. We have an extensive history of protecting the rights of juveniles. You can read more on our website about our approach to helping minimize the penalties a young person may face.