Adolescence and Juvenile Delinquency Essay

Adolescence and Juvenile Delinquency Essay

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I couldn't begin to cover all the possible reasons that may cause an
adolescent to become a "juvenile delinquent." During my research, I found
that the term juvenile delinquency is defined a number of ways. Mosby's
Medical Nursing, and Allied Health Dictionary summed up juvenile delinquency
best with this definition; "resistant antisocial, illegal, or criminal
behavior by children or adolescents to the degree that it cannot be
controlled or corrected by the parents, endangers others in the community,
and becomes the concern of a law enforcement agency"(1994).

I found that most theories about what causes delinquency in children and
adolescents originate with families and parenting. Many statistics and
studies have been conducted comparing the number of youths that had chosen a
delinquent life style, with single parent households, or parents who were
drug and alcohol dependant. It is my belief that three out of four parenting
styles that we have studied in our text, when taken to extremes, can be just
as damaging to an adolescent as a parent suffering from drug or alcohol
addiction. Parents who exhibit an indifferent parenting style send the worst
possible message to their children. "When permissiveness is accompanied by
high hostility, the child feels free to give rein to his most destructive
impulses"(Craig, 1996, p.316). And where exactly in the question of
causation does nature Vs nurture fit in. What about the child who seemingly
has balanced, consistent authoritative parents, and still chooses a
delinquent lifestyle.

I'm going to address some of these issues in the pages to follow, beginning
with an external factor that may influence some of our younger children; TV.
The impact of television violence has been debated since TV first arrived
in America. According to a study highlighted in US News and World Report,
the more violent TV programs children watch, the more likely they are to
commit violent crimes. "The greatest impact is on pre-adolescent children
who do not yet have the capacity to gauge what is real and what is not"
(Zuckerman, Aug. 2,1993). The theory states, that combined with a lack of
parenting by "plugging" children into the TV, these children later in life
will be conditioned to violence, regarding it as exciting, charismatic, and
effective. Opponents of this theory argue...


... middle of paper ...


...est in their role as a parent, and combine this with a
low level of affection. This indifferent parenting style offers absolutely
no guidance to an adolescent, leaving plenty of room for those environmental
factors to take over. A clearly more effective parenting style models the authoritative style highlighted in our
text. Children brought up under this framework have a much better chance of
avoiding the pit falls of delinquency. There has also been legislation
introduced to use public funds to empower religious institutions to act as
safe havens for at risk children.

Many deterrents have been tried to reduce the effects of juvenile
delinquency. More youths are being tried as adults in certain cases, and
curfews are being enforced now more than ever. Law enforcement agiencies
aggressivly enforce truency laws, and most officers I talk to are very
intollerent of the slightest sign of disrespect when approaching suspect
youths. Child and family counseling techniques have changed to fit more
complex and extreme situations. The fact is that we live in an imperfect
world, and final solutions to this problem will probably not be found by men,
but by God.

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