Raising sons and daughters to be a good person and law abiding citizens is among the greatest challenges of parenthood. One needs to be keen on the harmonious familial relationship at home and the environment outside to assure good influences to our sons and daughters. Juvenile delinquency is one of the issues that confront the families, societies, and nations. Data from the National Institute of Justice revealed that the youth with cases in the juvenile court in the United States reached 1.3 million in 2010 (National Institute of Justice, 2014). The government attributes the high number of juvenile delinquency cases to the high rate of violence exposure among children, maltreatment and abuse at home, school, and communities.
Given the statistics and facts that the government provided, it is important families, societies and governments work hand in hand to combat juvenile delinquency, and the most effective ways early intervention and education. The authorities will be able to reduce the cases of juvenile delinquency through creation of programs that will address the very challenging issues confronting the families, educating the youth about the consequences of the delinquent behaviour, and educating the parents on how to foster a happy and healthy environment and relationship at home.
Understanding the causes of juvenile delinquency will help the concerned entities and institutions formulate programs to address juvenile delinquency. Research shows that the cause of the juvenile delinquency are social, economic, family, and school factors. Amruta Ghanekar and Sarah Taveras in their article entitled “MIMIC: Tackling the Causes of Juvenile Delinquency" noted that the key factors to increasing cases of juvenile delinquency are exposure to violence, low educational levels, poverty and lack of social support (Ghanekar et. al., 2010)
An article from Reading Craze entitled Causes and Solutions of Juvenile Delinquency states that the social factors that help drive delinquency is discrimination in many forms. Such includes gender, racial, and age discrimination, child labour and any other forms of oppression. Negative influences of the delinquent peers and more time spent with them helps increase the said cases (Reading Craze, 2014).
The economic condition of the families can also affect juvenile’s behaviour. Ghanekar and Tavares implied that the lower the income of the family, the less likely the can achieve higher educational level, and hence the more prone they are to commit crimes. Such has a ripple effect to an increase in juvenile delinquency (Ghanekar et. al. Kane et. al.2010).
The family plays an important role in shaping the character of an individual. A delinquent behaviour in the child or the teenager can be developed depending on the parenting style and existing problems in the family. Reading Craze website noted that broken homes, single parenting, and criminal parents can be the causes of delinquent behaviour among the children and teens. The lack of respect and care of the parents to the elderly shows bad example to the children and hence develop disobedience. Very harsh, punishing, and abusive parenting style and unfair treatment to parents can push the sons and daughters commit delinquent actions (Reading Craze, 2014).
Existence of youth gangs or violence oriented youth organization can be a major cause of juvenile crimes. The school organizations should monitor the schools in such a way that all student groups and organizations have wholesome or positive developmental purposes. The school and its environment have a huge influence to the children and teens as they spend up to eight hours a day in it. Bullying that causes emotional and psychological trauma can cause criminal behaviour to both the offender and the victim. Hence, it is important for the school administrators have policies that will monitor and prevent delinquent behaviour and bullying.
Why is it important to prevent and eradicate juvenile delinquency? The National Crime Justice Reference Service revealed that the death or the loss of life is among gravest impact, effect and consequences of juvenile delinquency. The victims also suffer from psychological and economic damages. Medical and other treatment causes a financial burden both to victims and offenders (Nationl Crime Justice Reference Service, 2000).
The offenders, in many, cases are imprisoned, and such brings litigation expenses and psychological trauma. The reputation of the offender and his/her family suffers as they are often condemned or ostracized by relatives and friends. The family of the delinquent juvenile has to contribute financially and has to endure social embarrassment. Juvenile delinquency also contributes to social and economic burden of the nation. The governments need to allot a budget for the incarceration and rehabilitation of the delinquent juveniles or offenders (Nationl Crime Justice Reference Service, 2000).
The juvenile delinquency behaviour can be perceived and understood through relevant social and psychological theories. An education website states that the Behavioural Theory emphasizes that learning can be achieved through the presentation of facts of the authorities such as school, parents, etc (Viking, 2014). In the context of juvenile delinquency, children or teens can learn violence and crimes if they see it in their parents and peer leaders.
The Attachment Theory explains the emotional connectedness among people (Battacharia, 2013 and Bretherton 2014). A care of the parent to the children or a nanny to a child brings emotional security. Therefore, if a child is deprived of love and care and oftentimes experience harsh punishment and abuse, child loses his or her emotional security which can result to depression and misbehaviour. As such, the condition triggers delinquent behaviour.
The Psychodynamic Theory refers to the behaviour and feelings of individuals in relation to their earlier experiences which maybe conscious or unconscious (West College, 2002). Westmont. Influences of parents, peer gangs, and school administrators have impact on the behaviour of individual especially if the influences/actions, be it good or bad, satisfy one conscious and unconscious motivation.
With the clear understanding of causes, effects, and theories relating to juvenile delinquency, we can now propose programs that can effectively prevent juvenile delinquency. The intervention during childhood and the vocational training programs are among the important ways that can address juvenile delinquency. There is a need to help individuals overcome their addictions and self-defeating behaviours. Education programs that will help develop a child’s life rather than focusing or giving emphasis on the crime. However, it will be important if authorities will explain the consequences of crimes. We can name such program as Early Intervention Program.
The provision of Vocational Training Programs to the juveniles that are at risk to committing crimes will help them prevent engaging in it as such programs will develop their skills that can uplift their economic condition. The juvenile delinquents, on the other hand, can undergo seminars and rehabilitation to correct their behaviour, learn to hate discrimination and crimes, and develop positive and perspective in life. Such program can be called Juvenile Hate Crimes Prevention and Rehabilitation.
There should also be community programs that will encourage families to engage and develop harmonious relationships at home. Authorities can have a Family Day programs in a community provided tips and information on how to maintain a loving and supportive relationship at home to the families. The can also provide tips on raising and proper way of disciplining and motivating children and they can also educate them on the the consequences of parental negligence.
On the other hand, there should also be community programs that will educate the youth on the consequences of the crimes, promote youth activities that will divert their attention from crimes and delinquency behaviour to fruitful activities such as sports, community services, and voluntary works. Such programs can be called Crime Consequence Awareness and Youth Sports Fest. Schools and administrators should also encourage purposeful organizations that will further enhance the skills of the youth and provide strict policies and guidance counselling of bullies and gang-prone students. Such school programs can be called Holistic Skills and Behavioural development.
It will also be very helpful if media organizations will also develop content and broadcasting programs that will teach the value of understanding, hate discrimination, and demonize labelling and social judgement to groups of people to foster healthy emotions and help citizens develop a positive perspective in life.
Delinquency is a perceived social problem, a symptom of deeper social issues. Juvenile delinquency cases may increase or decrease depending on the efforts and initiatives of the concerned institutions such as the government, communities, schools, and families. Education, prevention, and rehabilitation are the keys to eradicate if not, minimize the number of delinquency cases and address the issues affecting the juveniles’ negative behaviour.
A deeper understanding of the parents, schools, and the government on the causes of juvenile delinquency will help them to be cautious on their actions and policies concerning the juveniles. A mutual vision and cooperation on developing productive, law abiding, purposeful, economically progressive, and successful citizens will focus each institution’s efforts on the proper development of the youth towards a Godly, responsible, and a good adult life.
It is important to note that the family is the smallest unit of society. If each family is founded and established to achieve a well meaning life, we will be building a better community. If each community cooperate to achieve peace and progress, we will be creating a good city and a province. If each city and province aims for the well being of its constituents, we will be building a good nation. If each nation strives to provide services for the well being of its constituents, we will be living in a much better world. Having said this, juvenile delinquency is an issue that needs immediate and high attention as such concerns the youth who will be the future of the nations and of the earth. The role of the parents and families in child raising and the cooperation of the schools and the governments for a successful parenthood are very important in combating and prevention of juvenile delinquency. With the high number of juvenile delinquency cases, the proposed programs may not abruptly reduce the number but it may significantly diminish or even eradicate it in the longer term. Continuous development of ways to prevent juvenile delinquency cases are encouraged as juvenile conditions and cases changes as time passes by.
Ghanekar et. al. February 2010. MIMIC: Tackling the Root Causes of Juvenile Delinquency. Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal. Retrieved from http://www.philasocialinnovations.org/site/index.php?option=com_content&id=116%3Amimic-tackling-the-root-causes-of-juvenile-delinquency&Itemid=35&limitstart=1%20b.%20http://readingcraze.com/index.php/cause-and-solution-of-juvenile-delinquency/
2014. Causes and Solutions of Juvenile Delinquency. Reading Craze. Retrieved from http://readingcraze.com/index.php/cause-and-solution-of-juvenile-delinquency/
2002. Theories of Personality. Westmont College. Retrieved from http://www.westmont.edu/~bsmith/general/lectureoutlines/15personality/psychodynamic.html
2014. Behavioral Theory. Vikings.edu. Retrieved from http://viking.coe.uh.edu/~ichen/ebook/et-it/behavior.htm
Battacharia et. al. 2013. Theory of Attachment- John Bowlby. Slideshare. Retrived from http://www.slideshare.net/preethibalan9/bowlbys-theory-of-attachment
2014. Juveniles. Crimes Solutions, National Institute of Justice Reference Service. Retrieved from http://www.crimesolutions.gov/TopicDetails.aspx?ID=5
2000. Consequences of Juvenile Delinquency and Violence. Nationl Crime Justice. http://viking.coe.uh.edu/~ichen/ebook/et-it/behavior.htm
Inge Bretherton. 2014. The Origins of Attachment Theory. Sunsyb.edu. Retrieved from http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/online/inge_origins.pdf