The Concept of Delinquency

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Juvenile delinquency is defined as, “Participation in illegal behaviors by a minor who falls under a statutory age limit.” “The scientific study of delinquency requires understanding the nature, extent, and cause of youthful law violations and the methods devised for their control. We also need to study important environmental and social issues associated with delinquent behavior, including substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, education, and peer relations” (Siegel & Welsh, 2012).
How did the concept of concern for children develop? The treatment of children was not always what it is today, history shows that today’s treatment of children has only been around for the past 350 years or so. In the Middle Ages, paternalistic family practices were very popular. This paternalistic family style consisted of the father being the final authority of all family matters and he exercises complete control over his wife and children. These duties included the social, economic, and physical wellbeing of his wife and children. The relationship between parent and their children was very remote Infant mortality rates were high, this kept parents emotionally detached from their children. Newborns were almost immediately handed over to wet nurses, who fed and cared for them for the first two years of their life, causing for parents to have little contact with their children during this time. From the beginning of a child’s life, or even during pregnancy, an emotional detachment was formed, this also allowed for punishment of children to not seem so harsh. Children who didn’t obey were subject to severe physical punishment or even death. The Middle Ages were notorious for its severity of discipline. Young children of all social classes were sub...

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...ith their welfare. From then on the best interests of the child became a priority in decision making of a juvenile (Siegel & Welsh, 2012).
Today, juveniles are not just charged with criminal and civil offenses but also with status offenses, conduct that is illegal only because the child is underage. These status offenses are typically the start of delinquent behavior. Most offenders of status offences are subject to treatment as a sentence of the court, if the treatment is not completed properly the offender is highly likely to a future of criminality. Even the proper and successful competition of programs as a juvenile cannot guarantee the life of a law-abiding citizen for the future of juvenile offenders (Siegel & Welsh, 2012).

Works Cited

Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2012). Juvenile delinquency. (11th ed., pp. 2-32). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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