Juvenile delinquency is also known as teenage crime. It is like any crime that human beings commit but these crime differ because they are committed by young people. Before coming of age girls and boys have less understanding of the world. Parents, friends and teachers are all responsible along with the juvenile who commits a crime. This is why courts do not punish the teenagers like they punish the adults when they commit a crime. There are separate juvenile courts and the purpose of juvenile punishment is to help the teenager understand the importance of staying away from crimes.
There are various theories of juvenile delinquency and various researchers have reported different reasons of delinquency. Most of the delinquent teenagers belong from low social, economical or psychological background. Some of the most common causes and solutions of juvenile delinquency are as follows.
Family is the basic socialization agency for the children. Children learn basic concepts about good and bad from their family. They make their values and set the norms of society. Therefore, a family can make or break the personality of the children. Especially, in a family the most important role is played by the parents and siblings. Family can give firm foundation to the children to become good adults.
Broken families, single parent families, separated families, frequent parents fight, lack of trust and confidence among the parents, criminality or psychological problems are some common reasons behind juvenile delinquency. Similarly, siblings rivalry or unequal treatment between children can also make a child deviant. Therefore, parents and elder siblings have the responsibility to mold a positive personality of the child. When parents or siblings do not show moral behavior and commit crime younger siblings also get motivation to do something bad.
Economic problems in family
Often the cause of juvenile delinquency is economic problems in family. Youth belonging from poor economical status easily get involved in criminal activities. They want to improve their status and for this purpose they take negative path. In this regard, people do not support teenagers who belong from poor status and they go for criminal activities.
Psychological problems in family
Psychological problems in parents or siblings can also be a risk factor of juvenile delinquency. Mental illnesses or other psychological problems like depression, frustration, aggression or hyper behavior showed by the parents can make the child feel deprived and inferior among friends. Sometimes children adopt depression and anger from parents or elder siblings.
Social problems in family
In many families parents or elder siblings are involved in socially deviant activities. For example, gender discrimination, age discrimination, racial discrimination, child labor, law breaking or violation of animal rights. In some families parents do not feel shame in child labor and children could not understand that child labor is against society and against morality. Social problems cause stress and due to stress teens get involved in violence.
Moral problems in family
Morality is the most important concern among teens today. Teens should know how to respect themselves, and respect others. You have to inculcate moral values during early life of a child. For example, maintaining discipline in a class is important as it teaches children manners and respect. So, does in family the parents should maintain a respectful, healthy, and caring environment.
Every parent has a unique parenting style that is developed from their experiences. But, psychologists have divided these styles largely in three parenting styles. These include authoritative, liberal, and moderate parenting styles. Positive parenting during early childhood and adolescence act as a buffers, helping children stay away from delinquency.
So what is positive parenting? A positive parenting is a healthy mix of normative development, discipline and some freedom. It is really important that parents should monitor their children during their free time. They should have knowledge of their child’s friends and classmates. Particularly, during early childhood parents should keep a bond with their children. It is a wise idea to visit their schools on and off. Parents can participate in volunteer activities in their child’s school. This gives them a unique opportunity to enjoy time with their child and monitor their activities.
The family should have a positive attitude towards life and towards society. Parents and elder siblings should show the children positive values, norms and standards of society. Consequently, the children will be able to show the right behavior to the society. Family is the role model of every child and a model behavior by the family can give motivation to the child to behave positively. Government should support families that have poor economic status so that they can improve their financial condition. Parents should also teach children the importance of respecting laws of society. Parents should tell their children the consequences of breaking laws that government has made for public safety and betterment. They should make sure that they observe equality of rights, justice and condemn discrimination.
Person and society
Sometimes there are some personal or societal reasons responsible for the delinquent behavior. Although it is evident from several research on juvenile delinquency that it is difficult to segregate the various underlying reasons behind juvenile delinquency. Because, the reasons for delinquency are complex and multilayered.
Some adolescent faces hardship in life due to some physical problem. The society does not accept a person who does not have similar capacities and abilities that a so-called average person has. Society is often cruel towards a handicap and this unequal and unjust attitude of the society develops negative feelings in the person. Consequently, these negative feelings make the person commit crime. They want to take revenge from society, friends, family or peer group.
Psychological and mental concerns are also important when talking about juvenile delinquency. Mental disability is another big cause of juvenile delinquency. Mentally ill boys or girls can commit any crime without knowing the consequences of it. Statistics show that mental illnesses are one of the biggest reason behind juvenile delinquency in America and other developed countries.
There are several research done in the recent years that show significant relationship between learning disabilities and juvenile delinquency. It is very important to know the type of relationship that exist between the two as it will help the education policy makers. Because, this will enable educational policy makers to understand the needs of students with learning disabilities.
Keilitz and Dunivant (1986) in their study on the relationship of learning disabilities and juvenile delinquency reported that “adolescents with learning disabilities had significantly higher rates of general delinquent behavior; they engaged in more violence, substance abuse, and school disruption than non-learning-disabled adolescents. The likelihood of arrest and adjudication was also substantially higher for adolescents handicapped by learning disabilities”.
In modern society racial differences are also a very strong reason behind juvenile delinquency. It can cause crimes by the adolescents as they become aggressive and want to take revenge from the society. S
The use and sale of drugs is a criminal activity that is often the reason for other crimes. Drugs use and sale is prohibited and punishable by law in every society. Sadly, many school and college campuses are the place for drug culture. The Juvenile Justice department is making sure that every school and college is a drug free environment.
We should not forget that every child is unique. Especially, kids with disability should have equal inclusion in schools and colleges. In case of any disability parents and teachers should talk to the teens about their problems and they should try to solve their problems. From early childhood parents should ensure that their children meet people of their age and know how to behave in the society.
The educational policy makers and juvenile justice should work together to understand the needs of students with learning disabilities. This can bring a lot of positive impact on the individuals with learning disabilities and on the society. A lot of studies in recent years have focused on the improvement of academic treatment programs for students with learning disabilities. These studies suggest that remedial instruction is effective in improving the learning ability of the youth and thereby preventing delinquent behaviors.
Peer group is a very strong force that can cause delinquent behavior in the adolescent. Adolescents want to get peer group acceptance and they are afraid that if they will not participate in similar activities they will get rejected. There is a growing concern that parents should know about their children’s peer group. They should have a good friendly relationship with their children’s friends. As a result, they will know any negative influence on their kids.
Youth can easily become part of a gang or clique during their age they think it appropriate to be powerful and to be part of a large group. Often strong groups and gangs are ones that are indulged in negative actions. These gangs and cliques exist everywhere in society. You should make your child well aware of the problems they can face if they become part of any such group. For instance, tell them about the punishment fro different law breaking or deviant activities. As a result, of this awareness they will stay away from becoming part of these groups.
Peer group rejection
Sometimes youth do not get acceptance in their peer group for some reason. For instance, kids with disability, financial problems, behavior issues, and moral misconduct can get very few friends than other kids. Consequently, negative groups take an opportunity to take them as a part of their group. Coupled with, negative groups they engage in deviant activities. Of course, this gives them a satisfaction to be part of a strong group than to stay alone.
Peer group influence is very strong on teens and parents should see the friends of their children. They should create a healthy and friendly relationship with their children. In this way children feel free to share anything and everything with their parents. Likewise, parents should know about the problems children are facing in getting accepted in a group.
Society itself sometimes become very negative and create difficulties for the youth. As it is a strong force in developing personality of the teens. Developing negative feelings from society can become a reason behind juvenile delinquency.
It can destroy the personality of the youth and make the teen a criminal forever. Labeling means that society labels a teen criminal once he commits a crime. Although, this is the first time but due to the tagging the adolescent will perceive himself a criminal. He will repeat similar crime or other crimes in future. Moreover the adolescent will no longer feel any embarrassment in committing crimes.
Community and society as a whole can play a big role in the prevention of the juvenile delinquency. According to Wright 1977, there is an increased need of community partnership in the prevention of the juvenile delinquency. Wright and his fellow Dixon did a research on the community prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency and they concluded that the policies and the prevention plans from different communities have yet not proved to be effective. There need to be new policies that have better chances of delinquency prevention and high utility in the society.
- Keilitz, I., and Noel Dunivant. (May, 1986). “The Relationship Between Learning Disability and Juvenile Delinquency: Current State of Knowledge”. Sage Journals. Vol. 7. Issue(3). Pp 18-26
- Lane, A. B. (Oct, 1980). “The Relationship of Learning Disabilities to Juvenile Delinquency: Current Status”. (Article). Journal of Learning Disabilities. Vol. 13, Issue (8) pp. 425-434.
https://doi.org/10.1177/002221948001300803 Retrieved on 2019/2/26.
- Wright, W. E., and Micheal C. D. “Community Prevention and Treatment of Juvenile Delinquency: A Review of Evaluation Studies 1”. Sage Journals. Vol. 14, issue (1). Pp 35-67. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F002242787701400104