Today more than ever, juvenile delinquency has become one of the most important social issues as juvenile crimes, especially murder, has risen in such crime redden cities as Oakland, Chicago, and Los Angeles (Los Angeles County). There are many factors and sources which can be put to blame for what seems to be an increase in juvenile delinquency. Ultimately juvenile delinquency is a product of the privatized, overpopulated, and the institutionalized racial disparity of the criminal justice system and prison system, but this essay will focus on some mirco factors of juvenile delinquency such as family/household relationships and environment. Family and household relationships are key factors to juvenile delinquency and child behavior. The family is the first and largest source of socialization for a child as the family is where a child learns of the norms and rules for functioning in society. Not only does a child learn what is right from wrong and socialization skills from the family, but a child also test and imitate acquired behaviors to trial what type of reaction the behavior causes.
There are many factors of family and home relationships which may contribute to juvenile delinquency. A child who lives in an abusive household where he/she is constantly is physically and/or psychologically abused may begin displaying unruly behavior towards authority which could lead to further misbehavior and a contempt attitude towards authority as the child gets older. A child who lives with a family or in a household and does not get enough attention from family members (parents or siblings) may begin to exhibit rebellious behavior. For example, a child apart of a working class family where the mother and/or father both work more than 40 hours a week may not get the required attention and supervision needed for the child or a child who is emotionally and psychologically neglected by parents and siblings may lead to misbehavior and child delinquency as a scream for attention. Another factor of family and household relationships which contribute to juvenile delinquency is the child cloning inappropriate behavior of a parent or sibling.
A child may become a delinquent and misbehave because he/she is emulating the inapt behavior of their brother, sister, cousin, uncle, aunt, grandparent, or parent. For example, if a child grows up in a household where siblings and/or parents are constantly in trouble with or rebelling against authority, the child may emulate this rebellious attitude against authority and therefore be considered a delinquent to society. What a child learns and acquires from his family and/or household interactions as a juvenile plays a large factor to juvenile delinquency. The environment in which a juvenile is raised and grows up in is a significant factor to juvenile delinquency. A child gets a better understanding of society and what’s expected from him by society through his/her interactions and observations with their environment. There are many issues within an environment which can contribute to juvenile delinquency. Children living in urban inner city, working class neighborhoods are affected the most when it comes to juvenile delinquency because of the disadvantages they face and disadvantages that comes with living in an inner city environment.
Growing up in an environment with high crime rates, drugs sales, violence, murder, gangs, and poverty a juvenile may have to adapt to a different set of rules and set of norms than society’s norms. Though these different set of rules and norms are put in place for subsistence in a rough environment, society may see them as criminal and wrong. The child living in this area may not have or display what is considered ill or delinquent behavior in their environment, but society may see the behavior as unacceptable and delinquent. For example, a straight A high school juvenile student who lives in a rough neighborhood walks to school with a gun in his backpack every day. It was given to him by one of his older adult friends in his neighborhood as protection as the juvenile witnesses murders and robberies every day and fears he could be next. He never has any intention of using it nor does he show it off to friends at school.
He only has the gun for protection from neighborhood thugs. One day at school his locker is searched and his gun is found. Not only is he expelled from school, but he is sent to a juvenile center and he now becomes labeled as a delinquent juvenile by society. Though the juvenile was following the norms and rules of protection in his environment, those same actions and behaviors are seen as criminal and delinquent to society. Juveniles living in urban area environments are more likely than children living in suburban area neighborhoods to be put into situations where they must challenge society’s norms with the consequence of getting labeled delinquent and criminal by society.