Families and Juvenile Delinquency

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Introduction Families serve as one of the strongest socializing forces in a person's life. They help teach children to control unacceptable behavior, to delay gratification, and to respect the rights of others. Conversely, families can also teach children aggressive, antisocial, and violent behavior. In adults' lives, family responsibilities may provide an important stabilizing force. Given these possibilities, family life may directly contribute to the development of delinquent and criminal tendencies. Parental conflict and child abuse correlate with delinquency. Though not all children who grow up in conflictive or violent homes become delinquent, however, being exposed to conflict and violence appears to increase the risk of delinquency. At this point, researchers have not pin pointed what factors exactly push some at-risk youth into delinquency. A child with criminal parents faces a greater likelihood of becoming a delinquent than children with law-abiding parents. However, the influence appears not to be directly related to criminality but possibly to poor supervision. Various Studies Studies indicate that positive parenting, including normative development, monitoring, and discipline, clearly affects whether children will become delinquent. Adequate supervision of free-time activities, whereabouts, and peers are critical to assure that children do not drift into antisocial and delinquent patterns of behavior. Surprisingly, little is known about normative and moral development with the family as they relate to delinquency. Single-parent families, and in particular mother-only families, produce more delinquent children than two-parent families. Research indicates that parenting practices account for most, but not all, of the ... ... middle of paper ... ...velopmental psychopathology: Gene-environment interplay in antisocial behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 533-554. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.4.533 Tremblay, R. E., Maasse, B., Perron, D., Leblanc, M., Schwartzman, A. E., & Ledingham, J. E. (1992). Early disruptive behavior, poor school achievement, delinquent behavior, and delinquent personality: Longitudinal analyses. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60, 64-72. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.60.1.64 Tuvblad, C., Grann, M., & Lichtenstein, P. (2006). Heritability for adolescent antisocial behaviour differs with socioeconomic status: Gene-environment interaction. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 734-743. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01552.x Cashwell, Craig S. and Niccholas A. Vacc. 1996. “Family Functioning and Risk Behaviors: Influences on adolescent delinquency.” School Counselor. 44: 105-15.
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