Juvenile Delinquency

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Juvenile Delinquency There is no doubt that various experts can give us many theories as to the causes of juvenile delinquency, including one's economic background, substance abuse, delinquent peer groups, repeated exposure to violence, increased availability of firearms and media violence. However, I feel that the number one cause of juvenile delinquency is the breakdown of families, including lack of parental control over children. It is ironic in America, today, one must have a driver's license to operate a vehicle, a permit to own a gun and even a license to own a dog, but one does not have to have training or a license in order to become a parent. Without specialized educational programs in child development and parenting, many of our future parents will not have a chance at becoming successful parents and worse, yet, many parents today are already contributing to the ever-increasing problem of juvenile delinquency simply by not knowing how to be parents. Being a parent is a lifelong commitment and new parents must learn parenting skills immediately; they do not have the luxury of internships and often times, mistakes in parenting will have drastic effects on the child. There are many reasons for the widespread crisis in families today. Below are some of those causes: Changes in the Social Environment - there have been many changes in our social environment over the last twenty-five years. These changes have made a risky environment for today's youth. Children and teenagers spend more time with peer groups than ever before. Drugs and deadly weapons are used increasingly as ways to solve problems. Illicit and explicit sexuality and violence are the main subjects of choice in the media; and the impact of media influence has widened and become more vivid with the introduction of computers, video games, portable stereos and MTV. Changes in Family Structure and Functioning - The prevalence of divorce and the increasing number of women in the workplace have reduced the number of adults who provide interaction, structure and supervision in a child's life. Along with this, institutions have not kept pace in providing alternative programs for unsupervised kids. Add to this new parenting expectations that come with single parent and step-parent families and you now have a confusing, often inconsistent and/or unreliable home base for children. Confusion... ... middle of paper ... ... Reference Page 1. Kortege, Carglyn. Parenthood Training Promoted. The Register Guard. Des Moines, IA www.os/c.org/InTheNews/parenthood 2. Child Abuse Prevention Network, "Moral Development and Boys, James Garbarino, PH.D www.child.cornell.edu/npr.violentboys 3. Conseur, Amy, Rivera, Frederick P., Baronski, Robert and Irvin, Emanuel, "Maternal and Perinatal Risk Factors for Later Delinquency." Pediatrics, June, 1997, v. 99, p 785 (6) 4. Berg, Stacie Zoe, "High Praise For Strict Parenting," Insight on the News, Sept. 1, 1997, v 13, n 32, p. 43 (1) 5. Encarta Online Deluxe, Juvenile Crime www.encarta.msn.com/encart 6. Alternatives For Parents Who Have Lost Control www.fbcbaytown.org/parents 7. Boostrom, Ron, "Enduring Issues in Criminology - Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press, Inc., P.O. Box 289009, San Diego, CA 92198-9009, p. 121-125, 173-174, 180 8. MacKenzie, D.L. 1997, Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention. In Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What Looks Promising (A Report to the United States Congress), eds. L.W. Sherman, D. Gottfredson, D.MacKenzie, J. Eck, P. Reuter and S. Bushway, Washington, D.C. - National Institute of Justice

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