The family is considered the basic unit of society and the strongest social force in a person’s life. It is commonly believed that practicing good values starts at home and that parenting plays a significant role in encouraging morals and responsible thinking. In fact, a research revealed the relationship between parenting style and the child’s engagement in violent or delinquent behaviour.
Parents, generally, want their children to grow into responsible individuals. However, bad parenting may get in the way of instilling desirable behaviour in a child. Bad parenting can ultimately spell disaster and can increase instances of juvenile delinquency.
An Overview on Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile delinquency, also known as juvenile offending, is characterised by negative behaviour (the violation of the law, persistent mischievousness, disobedience, antisocial behaviour, and intractability) committed by a child or young adult under the age of 18. Although subjected to legal action, juvenile delinquency is not punishable by death or life imprisonment.
Found below are some risk factors that contribute to juvenile crimes:
- Personal factors (intellectual capacity, impulsiveness, aggression, empathy, anxiety)
- Environmental factors (poverty, exposure to violence, unemployment)
- Peer (association with delinquent friends, gang membership, peer rejection)
- Education (poor academic performance, frequent suspension and detention)
- Family (physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, child neglect, low socioeconomic status, lack of parental support and supervision, parental conflict, family members with criminal records, family size)
Good Parenting Solves Juvenile Crimes
The largest risk factor behind juvenile delinquency is family. However, it is also the family that can help eliminate the root of the problem. Establishing good and open communication between parents and children helps ensure healthy child development. There are sufficient evidences that the quality of the family environment can directly impact the child’s state of mind and behaviour.
At the early stage of childhood, parents need to teach their children how to distinguish what is right from wrong. In the absence of parental guidance, children may experience “moral poverty”. According to A.E Sadler (author of Juvenile Crime), “Moral poverty begets juvenile super-predators whose behaviour is driven by two developmental defects. First, they are radically present-oriented; they live entirely in and for the present moment. Secondly, the super-predators are radically self-regarding; they place no value on the lives of their victims, whom they dehumanise as worthless.”
At the end of the day, both children and young adults require good role models in order to grow into conscientious and productive individuals. It is a parent’s responsibility to take control and discipline their children so that they may learn how to:
- Celebrate another person’s happiness and success
- Understand and sympathise with someone’s pain and sadness
- Feel sorry for doing wrong
- Feel good when doing right
- Respect other people
- Control impulse
- Control aggressive behaviour
While prevention of juvenile delinquency is broad, the family still remains the greatest solution in forestalling the possibilities of delinquency and raising a child to be a law-abiding citizen in the future.