Juvenile Delinquency

During the last few decades, the cases of juvenile delinquency have been on the rise. As it affects the society greatly, it is important for people to know what it is exactly, and how to control it. This article will give you some information on the theories as well as preventive programs for this problem.
Juvenile delinquency refers to antisocial or criminal acts carried out by young children. Although the average age till which most states consider a person as a juvenile is usually 18, this age limit can be different for each state. The cases are tried at a special court, different from that of adults, and if a child is found guilty, he is sent to a juvenile detention center. Here, delinquents go through rehabilitation programs, so that they do not commit crimes in the future. Although this situation has existed since several years, it has increased considerably as of late. Delinquency statistics show that the rate of juvenile crimes has increased by almost 50% from the year 1990. Apart from drug and alcohol abuse, cases of homicide, rape, burglary, assault, vandalism, prostitution, weapons possession, etc., are some of the charges against young children and teenagers. Since it has become a big problem around the world, it is important for people to know about it, so that they can take proper precautionary measures against it.

Some Theories
There are many articles on this subject, that have tried to explain the causes of this problem through theories given by experts. Although there are many theories, it is only a few that provide rational or logical explanations or reasoning for this problem in young children. Here, you can gain some useful information on behavior disorders.

The Social Learning Theory by Albert Bandura is one of the main theories that tries to explain the cause of this problem. Through research, he found that human beings learn by imitating things that they see around themselves. In other words, children first observe how people around them behave, and then imitate them. For instance, if the child's parents show delinquent behavior like taking drugs, or exhibiting violent behavior, the child is likely to observe this, and imitate the same behavior, without realizing that it is incorrect. Sometimes, peers are also responsible for a child to learn delinquent behavior. During the teenage years, children spend more time with their friends rather than their family. In such circumstances, if the children are not given proper guidance, the influence of the peer group can give rise to adversities. It is also said that observing shows and films, which are very violent, can also give rise to such behavior.

Another theory is Social Strain Theory by Robert Merton. Merton explains that children turn to criminal behavior when they are not able to reach goals through legitimate means. He is of the opinion that children born to poor families do not have the adequate means to achieve their goals like status, wealth, employment, etc. Hence, due to frustration, they try to achieve the same things through ways which are not approved by the society. Although this theory is logical to some extent, it cannot be accepted completely, because juvenile crimes cannot be restricted to children of the poor community. Rather, even those children, who come from well-off families, indulge in criminal behavior. Moreover, this theory does not explain the causes of violence and abuse committed by young children and teenagers.

Preventive Programs
By looking at the theories given above, it can be said that the main cause of juvenile delinquency could be poor parenting. Also, with the degradation of family structure in today's times, children go through a lot of negative experiences at a very early age, which can lead to criminal behavior. Many children are raised by single parents who do not have time to know what the child does during the day. Lack of parental love, care, and guidance can be said to be the main reason for the rise in juvenile crimes.

As this problem affects the future of the youth and society, it is important to come up with programs which can help in preventing these problems. Although there are various programs which have been started to prevent the occurrence of juvenile crimes, the results have not been very effective. However, some of the programs have been successful in helping children to avoid indulging in antisocial behavior. Most of these are targeted not only towards the children, but also towards their parents. In certain educational programs, while the children are given information about the ill effects of gangs, drugs, weapons, violence, sex, etc., parents are trained on how to bring up healthy children. Another way of preventing this problem is to start recreational activities at school, after school hours. It has been observed that children whose parents are away at work, come to an empty home after school. As there is no one to monitor their movements, they are likely to indulge in activities that are not right. On the other hand, recreational activities after school hours will help children to indulge in activities like sports, drama, music, dancing, art, etc. This will not only ensure that they learn something new, but will also see to it that they are away from any kind of delinquent behavior.

Parents must understand that it is a serious problem which can ruin a child's life substantially. Hence, it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that the children get adequate love and affection at home so that they do not turn to delinquent behavior. Moreover, if you suspect your child of any such thing, consulting a counselor would certainly help you.
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