The Bad Influence Dating Your Child
When your child is dating an older teenager or adult, problems can arise. Those problems can have a parent desperately wanting whomever their child is dating or hanging out with to simply go away.
One bad influence and the child may have lost interest in school or their friends. They may skip school and lie about it. Their grades may fall. They may be exposed to drugs and alcohol. They may become sexually active before they are ready. They may appear in posts on social media that are compromising of their reputation.
Worse yet, they may even think they are in love and that none of these things are bad. Parents can be accused of simply not understanding and the child may rebel. Once parents make their strong opinions known, the child may become even more secretive and even more under the control of the older teen or adult.
An anti-harassment protection order that prohibits the Respondent from contact with the child might be a solution depending on the circumstances.
Protection Order to Protect Your Child from a Bad Actor or Bad Influence
In some circumstances, a court may grant a protection order restraining the older teenager or adult from having contact with the protected person, their home and school. A parent can petition for a protection order when the person to be restrained has engaged in a "course of conduct" would cause a "reasonable parent to fear for the well-being of their child."
Specifically, the parent must be able to prove:
- A knowing and wilful course of conduct
- Directed at a specific person
- Which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose
- And the course of conduct would cause a reasonable parent to fear for the well-being of their child
The law does not require the minor to be protected to agree with or want the protection order.
The judge will look at the issue from a reasonable parent point of view.
The Reasonable Parent Point of View
It's not enough to get a protection order because you "just don't like that guy" or "think that she's trouble." The must be a series of acts directed at your child that cause reasonable parent to fear for their child's well-being. Questions to consider:
Is your teenager being sexually active with an adult?
If your child is 14 years old and the other party is 18 (48 months older) and they are engaging in sexual activity with each other, that is the basis for a protection order. It is also a crime. Because of this, it would be expected that a parent would fear for their child's well-being.
If your child is 15 years old and the adult is 19 (48 months older) and they are having sexual contact with each other, that is the basis for a protection order. It is also a crime to report to law enforcement. A reasonable parent would fear for their child's well-being in this situation.
If your child is over the age of 16 and being sexually active with an adult, that is not a crime. It is a crime if the adult is at least 5 years older, is in a "significant relationship with the child" and "abuses" a supervisory position within that relationship.
Is the other person sexting or taking and distributing nude photos or videos?
It's a crime to communicate with a minor for immoral purposes. Even minors can be criminally charged for sexting or passing nude or sexually explicit images of a minor to another minor.
Even if the bad influence/respondent in the protection order proceeding is also a minor, if that minor is committing crimes against your child, a judge might consider it reasonable for a parent to be concerned for their child's well-being.
Drugs, Alcohol, Skipping School
Sitautions where the other party is inducing a child to use drugs, alcohol or skip school might also be considered a course of conduct directed at a child. These are very fact-specific situations that should be discussed with an attorney.
Help for Parents
This information is not legal advise, it is general information to give some education to concerned parents. Every case and situation is different and some cases may not qualify for a protection order. If you would like to seek court help to protect your child, please contact us at (206) 933-2414 or via email.