The Evolution of Juvenile Delinquency

Topics: Crime, Juvenile delinquency, Criminology Pages: 6 (1905 words) Published: June 22, 2011
The Evolution of Juvenile Delinquency

Crissey Arsenault

The issue of juvenile delinquency is one of major concerns to schools and society as a whole. There has been an increase of juvenile delinquents in today’s society, ranging from school violence, to gangs. Juvenile crime has increased in numbers and severity and there is no doubt that various experts can give us many theories as to the causes of it; individual backgrounds, peer groups, drug use, etc. I feel however, that the number one cause of juvenile delinquency is the breakdown of family life, including lack of supervision and parental involvement in children’s lives. It happens all too often that children are left to their own devices as parents leave the home to work, or are just too involved in their personal lives to take interest in what’s going on in the lives of their children. Changes in Family Structure and Social Environment

There are many reasons for this widespread crisis in families today. There have been many changes in the social environment, particularly over the last 20-30 years. Added to the social environment are the changes in family structure and functioning; the prevalence of divorce and the quantity and quality of adults who provide interactions, structure and supervision in a child’s life. Gone are the days of Dad going to work and Mom managing the household; Dad being the bread winner and disciplinarian, and Mom the caregiver and soothsayer; the traditions, morals and values in the days of old. One could also say that the days of traditional Mom and Dad households are gone as well. At the very least they are certainly a minority now. These changes have made for a risky environment for today’s youth. Children and teenagers spend more time with peers than ever before. Factor in the time spent observing/participating in media feeds of illicit and explicit sexual and violent nature, and you have the new traditions, morals and values of today’s youth. Children learn what they live after all. Confusion Surrounding Parental Roles and Controls

When children reach adolescence, conflict between parents and teens normally increases as teens need to distance themselves from parental identity in order to establish their own. (Berk, 2010) There are many parenting styles, but generally three styles that conflict during adolescence:

The authoritarian parent tends to emphasize rules with very harsh consequences. There is little to no room for discussion or negotiation.
The indulgent parent tends to spoil the child and expects little or no responsibility at home, choosing to clean up after the child both at home and in his social misbehaviour.
The indifferent parent is so preoccupied with his or her own life and activities that little time and energy is given to either involvement or structure. The style of parenting that is believed to work best is simply known as authoritative parenting. This type of parent assumes a role of authority in a child’s life, but the rules and structure are sensible and flexible to accommodate the child’s growth towards adolescence and young adulthood. The parent’s intelligent explanations of rules plus reasonable enforcement help to maintain a steady reduction of control as the child matures. There have been many studies made to determine the underlying causes of juvenile delinquency. Majority have focused on the family relationships. In one, comparing delinquent and non-delinquent youths, by Lotz in 1985, showed that over ninety percent of delinquents had unhappy lives and felt discontented with their life circumstances. Only 13% of the non-delinquent youths felt the same. School Violence

The issue of school violence is not a new phenomenon. Traces of school violence can be dated back as far as the 1950’s when the problem was not discipline. During the 50’s a disagreement between 2 students most likely would have been settles the old-fashion way, with a fist fight. Today it is more likely...
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