Has your child gotten arrested for breaking the law? Common crimes that young kids commit include shoplifting, drinking, using drugs and, when they’re old enough to drive, breaking the speed limit.

No matter what your child has been accused of doing, though, you may find yourself wondering why they would have done it in the first place. You tried to teach them right from wrong. Why did they move away from those ideals?

There are a lot of reasons, including brain development and their relationships with their parents, but one big reason that teens commit crimes is because of peer pressure. Outside influences can change the course of their entire lives. Experts note that this is happening earlier and earlier

“Now they’re getting pressure at 13 and 14, when they’re too young to resist,” said one expert, noting that these issues used to happen more around 17 or 18 years old. “It’s not that child development has changed, it’s that the demands are coming at earlier ages.”

At that age, children are often not able to really think for themselves, but they’re just starting to feel independent from their parents. They want to go out on their own, but they may follow the examples set by their peers. On top of that, since brain development is years away from being complete, they may struggle to make rational decisions as young teens.

After your child gets arrested, it is very important to know about all of the legal defense options they have. Remember, you must focus on protecting their future from these early mistakes.