The newspapers are full of shocking news items of juveniles taking law into their own hands and perpetrating the most heinous crimes you could imagine. Who is a juvenile delinquent and what makes him take up crimes at such a young age?
Defining a juvenile delinquent
The law states that anyone under the age of 18, who goes against the federal or state law by perpetrating a crime, is termed a juvenile delinquent. There are special laws for dealing with such delinquents, since these teens have not attained maturity to think like adults and, therefore, are not tried as adult criminals.
The focus is on rehabilitating them, rather than punishing them for the crime they have committed. However, in recent years, the heinousness of the crimes committed by such juveniles is forcing the judiciary of some countries into lowering the age of juvenile delinquency to 16 years.
Factors leading to juvenile delinquency
The environment that a teen grows up in is one of the major contributing factors of his becoming a delinquent.
Let us see what these are:
#1 Single parents
Cases of women being abandoned or divorced by their husbands, after having children, puts the onus on the mother to bring up her kids single-handedly. And, most often than not, she fails to give moral and ethical guidance to them or even spend quality time with them due to her job, since she is the only earning member of the family.
This disturbing development affects the children psychologically and also deprives them, especially the sons, of a father’s guidance in what is right and what is wrong. Evidently, such children of broken families become susceptible to outside negative influences that may compel them to take up crime or indulge in other vices.
#2 Parents’ indifferent attitude
Children have many questions they want answered, as they step into their teens. If their parents are too busy in their jobs and fail to address their queries, the children are bound to find solace in the company of people who may misguide them.
This lack of communication among the family members make the children lose trust in their parents and elder siblings, thereby undermining the family unity. This also adversely affects their self-esteem and self-confidence, laying them open to adverse outside influences, leading to delinquency.
#3 Peer pressure
With lack of support and guidance from parents, a child seeks acceptance from his peers and social groups. This leads him to do things under peer pressure that he should not be doing. Peer pressure may make the child indulge in alcohol, smoking, drug abuse, unprotected sex, dangerous driving, gang activity and crime.
If this peer contagion is not arrested in time, it may turn the child into a delinquent, much before he attains maturity. It is incumbent on the parents to know the company their child keeps.
#4 Dropping out of school
Teens dropping out of school should act as a red flag to parents, because undereducated children show a propensity towards juvenile crime. Failure at school is a definite pointer towards a child’s criminal behavior in the future. Not only this, such children take up all sorts of vices, the reason why drug problems are rampant among such juveniles.
A juvenile delinquent will have to face the law for his criminal activities. Despite the laws being different for juveniles, they will still have to be sent to correction homes. And if this delinquent child happens to be in Texas, there are some good legal solutions for minors in Texas that he can avail of.
The above reasons for juvenile delinquency are in no way exhaustive, there can be many more. If you are a parent, it is your bounden duty to see that your child doesn’t go wayward. A juvenile delinquent not only tarnishes his image and that of his family, he also gets mentally and psychologically scarred for life.