Root Causes of Juvenile Delinquency in the United States

As they say, prevention is better than cure. The same applies for eradicating juvenile delinquency. Before punishing a troubled teen, it is important to identify the root causes of juvenile delinquency which include dysfunctional family, environmental risks, mental health risks, substance abuse, and peer pressure.

Dysfunctional Family A child’s behavior is mostly influenced by the kind of family that raised him/her. If a family becomes dysfunctional, so are the children from it. Parents or guardians who demonstrate lack of respect for others and the law are most like going to have offspring who  may follow their footsteps. Signs of dysfunctions in the families include lack of parental supervision, frequent episodes of arguments, parental abuse, and others.

Environmental Risks No matter how functional the family of the child is, there would still be a possibility for delinquencies if the child is raised in an environment that is very conducive for committing delinquent acts. Environmental risks also involve the influence of media which can affect a child’s perception of the real world. Whatever a child sees in the television or reads in the magazines may be construed as a correct way of dealing with people and the authority. Environmental risks become more influential in the absence of guardian or family.

Mental Health Risks A troubled teen may also suffer from a certain mental condition such as bipolar disorder, depression or conduct disorder. These mental conditions can be caused by genetics or substance abuse. Juvenile delinquents who are diagnosed with hereditary mental disorders are sent to a mental health facility, instead of jail. Keep in mind, however, that not all mental conditions can cause delinquent behavior.

Substance Abuse Aside from family and environment, substance abuse can also influence a child’s behavior. Children who are high in drugs or intoxicated with alcohol are likely to commit crimes such as murder and theft. A child who has a…

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