Juvenile Delinquency and Family Structures

Initially I will discussing juvenile delinquency and how family structures have an affect on their lifestyle. Juveniles need the attention of both parents when their growing up and transitioning to adolescence. With little attention and structure the family provides for the juvenile, the more likely he will be to engage in criminal behaviors or surround himself with bad peers.

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This happens a lot in our society today, because most parents have to work and sometimes they have two jobs and don’t have time to spend time with their child. Most of the time parents who have two jobs are always at work and that leaves the child with a lot of free time on their own. Family structures provide discipline for juveniles and guides them to be successful by following the social norms of our society. Many studies have been done on this topic, specially in low income areas. we have to ask ourselves what gets a juvenile to engage in a delinquent act and what makes him want choose this lifestyle. There are several influential variables that can influence a juvenile to choose this lifestyle. The three main variables that I will be focusing on are family functioning, impact of family disruption, and two parent versus single parent household. These functions are very important to the success of a juvenile and their future. These functions usually lead to juvenile delinquency and criminal peers when a family function isn’t working properly and there’s no proper communication in the family home. Proper communication is very crucial to the development of a juvenile and without it, juveniles can choose many paths that do not help them grow and live a normal life. Family is the function to our society and it’s what keeps us either on good behavior or bad, depending on whether there’s support. It gives us support when we need it and without a family function properly it can be difficult.

Juveniles who grow up in foster homes have a different perspective on life because they don’t have a proper family structure that allows them to be guided and have the support that most families give to their children. Not having a proper family function can be problematic because it can lead to criminal behaviors and not following social norms because of it. The children who have troubled homes and are rejected by their parents grow up with a lot of conflict. These children can be put at greater risk because of the improper family functioning, and most of the time these are the reasons to why juveniles are choosing to participate in criminal behaviors.

Furthermore families are important in a juveniles life, because they teach a child to control unacceptable acts and behaviors. Proper family functioning can also teach a juvenile to respect the rights of other people by following the social norms and staying out of trouble. Juveniles who don’t have a family based home, can struggle to stay focused and stay out of trouble. The reason for this is usually because these individuals don’t have a role model to look up to and be properly educated. Improper family functioning can also teach juveniles antisocial and aggressive behaviors that lead to delinquent acts. Adolescence can be a time of opportunities and freedom but if there is little parental control over the juvenile it can become problematic depending on how the juvenile behaves. Research on this topic indicates that juveniles witness violence in families and in their daily lives as well.

Moreover the effect of family disruption on a juvenile can be difficult for them, specially if the juvenile is being raised by a single parent or if the parents have been divorced it can lead to greater risk of rage and behavioral problems. Delinquency can also be a part of this problem. Juveniles who are raised by two parents don’t usually have this issue unless if their families don’t have much support for them. Being raised in a single parent household can lead to many risks such as crime behaviors. The outcomes of a juveniles life is much different and at greater risk , because they don;t have both parents guiding them and providing them with an environment to succeed. Juveniles who grow up having a stable family structure dont go through these issues and they are less likely to engage in criminal acts or have criminal peers. A juveniles who only has one parent only receives half the guidance that another juvenile with two parents. With only half the guidance juveniles are exposed to problems in schools and sometimes dropping out of schools. Studies have found that when parents are divorced and there is only one parent to take care of a child it can be challenging and the person may sometimes feel halfway there with little support. If the only parent raising the child is a mother worst because she has to work to care for her family and that means there is nobody to watch out for her kids and that can lead to little family support and bad peers when the mother is gone.

The risks for juveniles are joining a gang, doing drugs, commiting crime and this can lead them getting trouble with the law. Once having a criminal record, that can stay on their record for a long time. There’s too many risk factors that juveniles face while transitioning into adolescence. Communication is also very important from parents. If there is little communication in a family then the a juvenile is at higher risk of making bad decisions. I believe that there needs to be positive communication between parents in order to help juveniles at that age understand the risks and the importance of following the social norms of our society. When parents communicate with their children in a positive way, it can help them avoid risky behaviors and not engage into criminal behaviors. Whether it’s a single parent or two parent household, communication makes a big difference to a juvenile and positive feedback helps them understand the right from the wrongs.

Lastly I believe that social disorganization theory can be linked to juvenile delinquency because of where juveniles start to engage in criminal acts. The places where juveniles are more likely to get into trouble with the law is in low income communities and in families of little guidance and support. Criminal cultures emerge because there isn’t enough resources to help children stay away from crime behaviors. If there were resources available for people to keep their children active in schools, sports or clubs it would help decrease the crime rates in certain places that struggle with this problem. Since there is no collective efficacy in certain low income communities, crime is much higher because of it. If there was more groups of people involved in the communities with juveniles they wouldn’t be getting themselves into trouble.Being part of clubs or sports is one way to keep these people from engaging in crime behaviors. I think that this is very important for all communities to address. Juveniles are the future of tomorrow for our society and if we don’t guide them in the right path then it will be very difficult for them to someday make a change for our society.

I believe that when you are a juvenile it is easy to fall into the wrong footsteps, especially if you’re living in a family household that does not guide you and helps you see the good from the wrong. Sometimes it can be hard for parents to be there for their children, when they work two jobs in order to make a living for their families. Social disorganization is important in communities, because it helps decrease crime. School resources are also important, such as after school programs for children who need these resources in order to be successful. By having a strong collective efficacy in a community, we can eliminate crime and disorder. This allows communities to grow and to send student towards successful paths. Collective efficacy starts with a community who wants children to stay focused and in schools and in order to do that they must provide resources for the people living in their communities. Juveniles can be at higher risks when they are left alone to make decisions while their parents are at work. When I was younger I was always coming home to my mom since she only worked while we were at school. This was important for me because I felt like I had someone guiding me and asking me about my day. If my day wasn’t the best I would have her to talk to. She made sure to guide me with my education and the decisions I made. She always wanted me to sign up for sports and I believe that it’s important to do this in order to create friendships. It’s difficult for some parents to raise their children considering people now sometimes have to work two jobs to barely make it in our society. Some family households don’t impact their children in positive ways and this creates, a negative image for them. These children search for guidance at other places such as joining a gang or surrounding themselves with bad peers who they think are people who care about them. This can create a child to fall into criminal acts and end up in juvenile detention centers. Juvenile detention centers help children rehabilitate and provide them with the tools to succeed and not commit future crimes. When a juvenile is sent into juvenile detention centers it allows juveniles to continue their education and experience what it’s like to be put away from society.

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