Juvenile delinquency

Evelyn Lee *

Juvenile delinquency, also known as juvenile offending, or youth crime, is particularly in illegal behavior by minors—individuals younger than the statutory of majority.

A juvenile delinquency is a person who is typically under the age of 18 and commits an act that otherwise would have been charged as a crime if they were an adult. Depending on the type and severity of the offense committed, it is possible of a person under 18 to be charged and tried as adult. The crime ranges from status offenses to property crime and violent crime. Most teens tends to offend by committing a non-violent crimes only once or few times and only during adolensence. It is when adolensents offend pepeatedly or violently that their offending continues and become increasingly violent. They began offending and displaying anti-social behavior at a young age.

Juvenile delinquency, or offending, can be separated into three categories:

1. Delinquency, crime committed by minor which are dealt with by the juvenile court and justice system
2. Criminal behaviour, crimes dealt with by the criminal justice system
3. Status offenses, offenses which are only classified as such because one is a minor, such as truancy, also dealt with by the juvenile factor

According to development research of Moffit (2006), there are two different types of offenders that emerge in adolescence. One is the repeat offender, referred to as the life course-persistent offenders, who begins offending or showing anti-social or aggressive behavior in adolescence and continues into adulthood, and the age specific offender, referred to as the adolescence-limited offender, for whom juvenile offending or delinquency begins and ends during their period of adolescence.

Because most teenage tend to show some form of anti-social aggressive or delinquent behavior during adolescence, it important to account for this behavior in childhood, in order to determine whether they will be life-course-persistent offenders, or adolescents-limited offenders. Although adolescent-limeted offenders tend to drop all criminal activity once they enter adulthood, and show less pathology than life-course-persistent offenders, they will still show more mental health, substance abuse and finance problems both in adolescence and adulthood, than those who were never delinquent.

Factors affecting juvenile delinquency:

The two largest predictors of juvenile delinquency are:-

> Parenting style, with the two styles most likely to predict delinquency being
> "permissive" parenting characterized by a lack of consequence-base discipline and encompassing two subtypes known as
> "neglectful" parenting characterized by a lack of monitoring and thus of knowledge of the child's activities and
> "Indulgent" parenting , characterized by affirmative enablement of misbehavior.
> "Authorised" parenting characterized by harsh discipline and refusal to justify discipline on any basis other that "because I said so".
> Peer group association, particularly with anti-social peer groups, as is more likely when adolescents are left unsupervised.

Other factors dat may lead to teenager juvenile delinquency are:

1) Poor socio-economic status,
2) Poor schooling
3) High level of serotonim, influence by a mix of both genetic and environmental factor is also a biological factor of juvenile delinquency

Individual psychological or behavior risk factors that may make offending more likely include low intelligence, impulsiveness or the ability to delay gratification, aggression, empathy, and restlessness often lead to individual factors. Families also play a major role in juvenile delinquency. There are several factors that results in juvenile delinquency, such as:

- The way parents discipline a child, particularly harsh punishment
- Parental conflict or separation
- Criminal parents or siblings
- Parental abuse or neglect
- Parent child relationship

A child brought up by lone parents are more likely to start offending than those who live with two natural parents. Still if the attachment of the child feels towards their parents, than children in single parent families are no more likely to offend than others. Conflict between a child's parents is also much more closely linked to offending than being raised by a lone parent.

A lack of supervision is also connected to poor relationships between children and parents. Children who are often in conflict wiyh their parents may be less willing to discuss their activities with them.

An aggressive, non-loving siblings is less likely to influence a younger siblings in the direction of delinquency, if anything, the more strained the relationship between the siblings, the less they will want to be like, or influence each other.

Peer rejection in childhood is also a large predictor of juvenile delinquency. This rejection usually affects the child's ability to be socialized properly, which can reduce their aggressive tendencies, and often leads them to gravitate towards anti-social peer groups. Such as, promotion of violent, aggressive and deviant behaviour. Children resulting from unintended pregnancies are more likely to exhibit delinquent behavior.

They also lower mother-child relationship quality, which is also a factor of juvenile delinquency. Unintended pregnancies may be due to lack of awareness, lack of education upon contraceptives and parenting care.

Such a delinquency can be prevented. Delinquency prevention aims at preventing from becoming involved in criminal, or other anti-social activities. Prevention services may consist activities such as substance abuse education and treatment, family counseling, youth mentoring, parenting education, educational support and youth sheltering.

Giving awareness on family planning services, which includes education and contraceptives helps to reduce unintended pregnancy and unwanted births, that may also be a risk factor for delinquency.

'Bad' teens get together in groups and talk about 'bad' misdeeds they've done, which in turn is receive by their peers in a positive reinforcing light, promoting the behavior among them. Peer groups is one of the biggest predictors of delinquency.

The most efficient interventions are those that not only separate at-risk teens from anti-social ones, but also to improve or standardized their homely environment by training parents with appropriate parenting style which being one of the most important predictor of juvenile delinquency.

* Evelyn Lee wrote this article for The Sangai Express

This article was posted on August 08, 2013.

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