Juvenile Delinquency and Single Parent Homes
Juvenile delinquency has been around as long as there have been juveniles. There seems to be some siren call that leads young men and women into acts that are frowned upon by society. There are many types of juvenile delinquency, from the benign to the life altering serious kind. I will be looking at the family dynamic and how, and if, it affects teens and their delinquent activities. Approximately 28% of our nation’s children live in one parent households (Oman, 2005). Do children from single parent homes get into more trouble than children from two parent homes? On the surface, this would appear to be a simple question to answer. If a parent only has half the time or half the resources to devote to parenting, it is natural to assume they are not doing as good a job. I think the findings will show that it is the quality of the parenting provided that matters more so than the number of parents providing it.
The proportion of children living in single-parent homes more than doubled between 1970 and 2007 from 12% to 29% (Murray, 2010). The juvenile arrest rate reached its highest point in 1996, but had declined by 30% by 2007 (Murray, 2010). This shows that even though single-parent homes have been increasing, the juvenile crime rate has been dropping. This contradicts the long held belief that single-parent homes are the main contributors to juvenile delinquency. This further supports my belief that it is the quality of parenting that matters more so than the quantity. If we teach our children right from wrong and lead by example, the majority of them will turn out ok.
Experts feel that the home environment is where children develop their morals, learn to differentiate between right and wrong, and begin to establish the support network of family and friends that will help determine the path they choose to follow for the rest of their lives (Mennemeyer, 2006). With the proliferation of single parent homes...
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