The American family today is undoubtedly faced with many challenges and problems than any American family at any point in time. There are numerous external and internal problems that threaten the stability of the family, influencing the development of juvenile delinquent behaviour. It is of outmost importance that we understand the various challenges and problems facing the American family today and how these problems influence the development and prevalence of juvenile delinquent behaviour.
I believe divorce to be the biggest threat to the American family. Divorce rates have been rising since the 70s. Statistics has it that one-third of all American children will be affected by divorce. This is further compounded by the fact that 74.5% of all juvenile arrests involve children from a one-parent home, mainly through divorce. Lack of a suitable family, social and support structure, a child seeks to find direction from their peers. Most of this influence is not in the child’s best interest.
I think the media is one of the most influential tools in the world. The media has the ability of shaping and influencing perceptions, fashion trends and ideals of individuals. This can also be used to create negative impacts on children. This is done through media creations that erode fundamental family values and promote promiscuity, alcoholism, organized crime, killing and materialism. All these undermine basic family values and in-turn creates unorthodox ideals and behaviour in children, almost always resulting to delinquent behaviour. The media is a very powerful tool that has promoted juvenile delinquent behaviour.
In conclusion, there are many facets of the day-to-day life in the 21st century that have affected the American family and directly leading to the development and prevalence of juvenile delinquent behaviour.
Bartollas, C., & Schmalleger, F. (2011). Juvenile Delinquency (8th ed.). Prentice Hall.
National Center for Juvenile Justice. (2012). Juvenile Arrest Rates by Offense, Sex, and Race (1980 - 2010). National Center for Juvenile Justice. Retrieved July 15, 2013, from http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/excel/JAR_2010.xls