Juvenile Delinquency and the Role of Family

Juvenile delinquency is the activities that are done by young people, who are considered to be under age, which are of criminal nature (Schmalleger 2007). This group of people is excluded from the penal codes that are followed in many states while administering justice. Instead, special procedures are followed when punishing them. In most of the states, juveniles are defined to be those people who age between 16 to 21 years although in some the age is limited is 14 years (Siegel 2002). There are many reasons as to why these young people, considered as the youth, happen to commit crimes which are mostly petty in nature. The youth is important for it constitutes the highest world population. Therefore, if proper measures are not taken to control and monitor their activities, they would definitely transform into an uncontrollable force once they get into their adulthood thereby graduating into committing more serious crimes which would be a threat to the society (Bynum and William 1996).

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The family is the basic foundation over which a child is brought up. The parents act as the best teachers and administers of discipline in the house hold. It is therefore necessary for parents to ensure that their children grow up in a safe environment and also ensure that they teach lessons on moral issues. Parents also determine the behavior of their children by setting examples on the manner in which they solve their personal differences. In families that have parents who keep on quarrelling and fighting, the children are most likely to indulge in delinquent activities due to the bad example set by their parents as compared to those that have limited conflicts (Bynum and William 1996). This is because, violent parents have little time for their children and the level of communication is also poor. Parents who are disciplined do not show their disagreements in the presence of their children. As a result the children accord them respect and are more likely to prevent juvenile delinquency.

The family’s social class is also a key variable that influences the possibility of child delinquency. Children who come from poor families are more affected than those from rich back grounds (Schmalleger 2007). This is due to the fact that they tend to be discriminated by the society which makes them feel misplaced and unwanted. Poverty makes the parents desperate and sometimes, they forget their role of offering guidance and instead concentrate on searching for basic necessities. In these cases, educating their children may become difficult and it may result to loss of direction for the children who end up committing petty crimes due to frustration and lack of better thing to do. Large families with limited resources are a contributing factor towards juvenile delinquency. This is because the attention given to the children is minimal as it has to be shared between them all. This leaves space for influence from other sources like the peer groups that may expose the child to bad behavior.

Juvenile delinquency is a problem that is facing many nations which are reporting considerable numbers of cases related to it. It is important to note that families with weak foundations support this vice and therefore, parents should ensure that they offer the best environment for their children to grow up. They should also monitor their children’s activities and advise them on issues concerning their lives and give them hope in life.


Bynum J. E. and William E. (1996). Juvenile Delinquency: A Sociological Approach (7th Edition), Pearson – Allyn and Bacon

Schmalleger F. (2007). Juvenile Delinquency, Allyn and Bacon.

Siegel L. (2002). Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice and Law, Wadsworth Publishing.


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