Juvenile Delinquency

Topics: Family, Juvenile delinquency, Childhood Pages: 4 (1507 words) Published: April 19, 2013
Family Dysfunction and Juvenile Delinquency
Children are born with many different physical and emotional needs. It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure that these needs are met all the way through adolescence. In today’s society most of the physical needs are easily taken care of. However the emotional needs are different and sometimes difficult to manage. The behavior of the parents, emotional and otherwise, is important factors in how a child will grow and function in society. For example, a loving and stable home and family will almost always produce a level headed and law abiding child, whereas a dysfunctional, hostile home and family will more than likely produce delinquency in a child.

The relationship between children and their family life is very important because the American Family unit is changing. It is falling apart. Extended family that use to be around daily, are for the most part nonexistent. Taking the extended family’s place is daycare and video games. In her book Sins of the Father, Ruth Inglis, (1978) has named these new families “the nuclear family.” She also writes that “These new families have been described as a hot house of emotions because of the constant contact between parent and child” (p.131). Family problems are no longer relieved by the extended family that lives around the corner and because of this the nuclear family unit is falling apart.

Research suggests that “Families are the most important socializing tool in one’s life. The family teaches a child how to behave, how to talk, respect others, and to have moral values. The family also teaches them how to be negative, such as being anti-social, aggressive and violent” (Doggett, n.d. par.4). How a child behaves socially starts at home with the parent’s. Family behavior alone can explain how a child may become a juvenile delinquent.

According to Hoeve, et al. (2001), “Negative parental behaviors have been known to have an effect on children which will lead to...

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Hoeve, M., Dubas, J., Eichelsheim, V., Laan, P., Smeenk, W., & Gern, T. (2009). The relationship between parenting and delinquency:Ametta-analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 8(10), 1-52.
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Sullivan, C. (2006). Early Adolescent Delinquency: Assessing the Role of Childhood Problems, Family Environment and Peer Pressure. Youth Violence and Justice, 4(4), 291-313.
Thornberry, T. P. (1999). Juvenile Justice Bulletin-Youth Development Series: Family Disruption and Delinquency. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/178285.pdf
Wallerstien, J., Lewis, J., & Blakeslee, S. (2000). The unexpected Legacy of Divorce (Rev ed.). New York, NY: Hyperion.
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