Families play crucial role in crime prevention

Lt. Col. Thomas C. Joyce
435th Mission Support Group deputy commander

Our armed forces are made up of some of the word’s best leaders, but today’s operational tempo is generating a tremendous strain on their families. Military families are being pulled in every direction while facing obstacles spawned by deployments, long work hours, lack of family interaction, finances and more.

How many times have you heard “Our youth are our future?” Countless maybe, but it’s true. We all play a critical role in their development, whether we notice it or not. Our youth’s actions generally mirror those in the civilian sector; however, military dependents are subject to far greater risks of family instability. This is a direct result of frequent and extended family separations, PCS moves and the need to adapt to different cultures that often come with living “overseas.”

Instilling positive values in our youth, as well as a healthy respect for obeying the law, is an important part of building a safe and enjoyable community.

Why bring this up now? For the first time, adolescents comprise the majority of our dependent misbehavior cases. Even more troubling is the spike in adolescent assaults against their peers. The last thing we want is for this recent upward trend to continue and corrupt what is otherwise a great environment for our youth.

Parents should continue to be active participants in their children’s activities and aware of their behavior; however, youth will be held responsibile for their actions.

These punishments can range from expulsion from school, barment from the base or even a police record. In addition, family members are subject to German laws and can be tried by German courts.

Teens who make poor choices can generate severe restrictions upon themselves and their families. Their choices may ultimately impact college acceptance and future employment opportunities.

Struggling teens and parents can find help at family support centers, Family Advocacy, Army Community Service, Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling centers and medical facilities. Our youth programs and teen centers also offer many positive outlets and activities for teens during out-of-school hours.

Whether you are an adolescent, a parent, or a member of our military community, you play a role in helping our teens make the right choices.