Adolescence And Delinquency Essay Research Paper I — страница 2

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indicator of violent crime in a community is the proportion of fatherless families. Fathers typically offer economic stability, a role model for boys, greater household security, and reduced stress for mothers. " When compared to children from two-parent families, children from single parent homes are more prone to crime: · They use drugs more heavily and commit more crimes throughout their lives. ·They are more likely to be gang members. ·They make up 70% of juvenile delinquents in state reform institutions. ·They account for 75% of adolescent murders. ·They are 70% more likely to be expelled from school" (Bender @ Leone, p.64). Bender and Leone go on to cite a 1991 research review published in the Journal of Marriage and Family saying, "growing up in a

single-parent family is linked with increase levels of depression, stress, and aggresssion; a decrease in some indicators for physical health; higher incidence of needing the services of mental health professionals; and other emotional and behavioral problems." Of coarse, with every theory of delinquency causation, there is a counter theory. Kevin and Karen Wright contend in their Washington DC Brief on Delinquents and Crime, that "Not only is data contradictory and inconclusive, the authors contend that much of the research conducted during the 1950’s and 60’s was flawed by bias against single mothers." What a tangled web we weave. I was a single parent for ten years. I have no doubt that my sons are lacking in some ways from experiencing the fullness of a

loving two-parent household. On the other hand, Faith and God were always part of my modeling, and possibly from his grace my sons were, and are "good boys." Theories regarding causation of juvenile delinquency and violence cite biological factors ranging from inherited personality traits and genetic defects to biochemical imbalances and brain damage. Some studies indicate that biological factors, including genetics, may predispose a child to commit violent crimes. Scientists have recently been exploring the role of certain neurochemicals- particularly serotonin, a brain transmitter that regulates mood and emotion in triggering violence. Another study claims to have found a "dramatic connection between lead poisoning, which can impair brain function, and juvenile

crime" (Bender @ Leone, 1997 p.79). Other biological factors claim undiscovered brain damage early in childhood development can increase the risk of juvenile delinquency or violence. "Head injuries could damage a part of the brain that helps curb aggressive impulses, or general impairment of the brains abilities, making it harder for a child to comprehend societal rules, or to function well in school" (Bender @ Leone, 1997. p. 79). Environmental theories regarding juvenile delinquency generally support the idea that most violent behavior is learned behavior. The top three detrimental influences include violent and permissive families, unstable neighborhoods, and delinquent peer groups. I noticed that single parent families weren’t at the top of the environmental

list. All of these influences supposedly teach children delinquent behavior. Theories about learned violence often go back to family situations when the child is very young, often citing spanking as the first "no-no." Another possible cause of juvenile delinquency is a lack of moral guidance. The general foundation for this theory is, in my opinion, tragically credible. Authors Bender and Leone describe moral poverty in this quotation: "Moral poverty is the poverty of being without loving, capable, responsible adults who teach you right from wrong. It is the poverty of being without parents and other authorities who habituate you to feel joy at others’ joy, pain at others’ pain, happiness when you do right, remorse when you do wrong. It is the poverty of

growing up in the virtual absence of people who teach morality by their own everyday example and insist that you follow suit." This quotation, unfortunately says it all. In extreme moral poverty, a child may grow up surrounded by deviant, delinquent, and criminal adults. It gets worse. They may also be in abusive and violent settings. This moral vacancy is said to create children who live for the present moment, and have no concept of the future, nor do they have feelings of remorse or awareness of consequences. When you add to this equation the fact that guns are more available to our children now, than ever before, the result is meaningless random violence. According to the Journal of American Medicine Association dated June third, 1998, "Access to firearms and other