What if my kids find out I have a DUI arrest?

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On July 2, 2018

There are plenty of ways a child can find out a parent has been arrested for a DUI, from witnessing the arrest itself to overhearing someone talking about it. So how do you, as a parent, handle this? Many parents feel a sense of guilt and even shame that they’ve let their kids down. This isn’t the model they wanted to show their kids, this isn’t the path they want their kids to follow. But a DUI arrest happened and the kids know, so now what?


A Few Things To Keep In Mind As A Parent

Your child seeing you fall down is not the problem, how they see you stand up again is what matters. What do you want your kids to learn from you? Here are thoughts and questions you can consider as handle a DUI arrest with your family:

  • Everyone makes mistakes: It can be healthy for kids to see their parents make mistakes, even big ones. It makes it normal and ok for them to make mistakes too. And they are very much watching how you handle your mistakes.
  • Compassion: Are you hard on yourself to the extreme, feeling like a terrible person, even worthless? Or do you give yourself some tough love, that you made a bad choice and you are still a good person and able to recover from this and move forward?
  • Honesty and Accountability: Do you take responsibility for what happened or do you blame others? Do you acknowledge some of the hard truths about your drinking, about how you handle stress, about your choices? This may be a significantly helpful question to ask yourself as you navigate through the legal process with an attorney and complete other steps that may follow after a DUI arrest.
  • Consequences: Do you take steps to remedy any harm you’ve done or do you ignore the impact of your choices? Do you follow through with the consequences of your choices so you can move past this?
  • Growth: Do you learn from what happened, even grow into something better than you were before the mistake? Do you take the steps you need to so you never have to be in this position again?


Our Final Bit of Advice

These are all things to think about when you consider how your child is learning from you. It is perfectly understandable that some parents may never tell their children about their DUI arrest. That is a decision only you, as a parent, can make. And if you do decide to tell them, or if they find out some other way, you have a choice in how you use this as an opportunity to teach them some very valuable life lessons. There are also various programs, such as Window of Clarity, that are designed to help you And that’s what we, as parents, are here for, right? So take a moment and think about what you want your child to see in you. What do you want them to learn to do with their own mistakes? Parenting is often about finding those teachable moments and giving your children every lesson you can to prepare them for the big world out there.

Our team at Reynolds Defense Firm understands that a DUI arrest can have an impact on your whole family, and we are here to help you succeed inside the courtroom and in your everyday life. If you or someone you care about is facing DUI charges in Oregon and needs our help, call us today (503)223-3422.


Written By Derica Waller, MSW, LCSW, LICSW


Derica Wallers Parenting Advice IIDDerica Waller has been a coach and therapist for over 20 years.  She is a master level therapist, and is one of Reynolds Defense Firm’s Window of Clarity Coaches.  Derica is also our Window of Clarity Coordinator.  She sees her role as helping clients to manage life’s challenges with her clinical expertise and compassionate support.  Window of Clarity is a scientifically validated program and helps others take charge of their lives by making positive, lasting changes.  For more about Derica and the Window of Clarity Program, visit www.windowofclarity.com.

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