Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Family, Juvenile, Juvenile Delinquency, Children, Psychology, Youth, Teenagers, Parents

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/18

Juvenile delinquency is a by-product of negative influences in the life of a youth. There are many reasons why juvenile delinquency occurs. It can be because of peer pressure, in reaction to a situation, or a combination of many different factors. In order to understand fully why it occurs, the root cause(s) must be addressed. It is the view of this writer that juvenile delinquency is caused by two significant factors that are the catalyst by which all other factors evolve that create and cause juvenile delinquency and one main factor. The significant factors are environment and socioeconomic status. Both have a significant impact in the lives of youth and are the foundation upon which everything else rests in terms of the domino effect that it creates. The primary factor is psychological in nature. How a youth perceives himself can potentially contribute to juvenile delinquency. Youth who carry out violent, disorderly actions have underlying anger management and psychological issues that can be a derived from abuse, genetic makeup, socioeconomic factors and dysfunctional environments. Often these youth will present an attitude of indifference when in essence they are hurting inside and juvenile delinquency is a cause to justify a means to an end for them.
The environment that a youth is surrounded by can have a tremendous impact in what a youth is exposed to. Areas that are laden with drugs and high-crimes can be factors. A youth’s home life can also be a determinant. If they grow up in an abusive home or are abused, youths may resort to juvenile delinquency as a means to lash out or to repeat the cycle of violence that they have been exposed to. Another determinant could be social or the need to fit in. If a youth is already exposed to negative behaviors within his home or environment, psychologically he may feel inadequate and yearn to fulfill the inner need of self-satisfaction. Some youth will engage in delinquent behaviors to try and feel included by a particular group. It is human nature to want to feel accepted by one’s peers. In some cases, youths will resort to juvenile delinquency to assuage this need even if they know it is wrong behavior.
According to Art Alvarado (1999), juvenile crime is at an all-time high. Preventative and disciplinary measures have had little to minimal impact in curbing offender behaviors. The more jails that are built, the more they are becoming filled with juvenile delinquents who are being tried as adults for committing adult crimes. Research has shown that the bulk of juvenile delinquents come broken homes or homes with single parents at the helm. As Alvarado (1999) notes, “possible biproducts of single parent families are children with emotional and psychological disorders, abusive parents and poverty”.
Many negative factors can lead to psychological problems that trigger delinquent behaviors, but none are more telling than the dynamics of the home environment. In one study, it was concluded that “the foundation for our self-image is grounded in the first three years of life” (Alvarado, 1999). The absence of a parent within the home either through divorce or some other factor can play a role in the development of a child’s self-esteem. Children have a tendency to learn what they live and will mirror what they see their parents doing. If adult behaviors prove unhealthy, this can impact a child’s self-worth. Additionally, if one or both parents grew up in a dysfunctional environment, they are incapable of promoting positive behaviors and being the proper role model that children need. This in itself has a trickle-down effect that can work like a domino that repeats itself over and over.
According to McCurdy and Sherman (1996), children are often more attached to the male parent because of his dominant role in the home. This carries much weight in terms of influence and children mirroring what they see. The level of self-esteem is also tied to the father. Research shows that “families with fathers had higher self-esteem, less guilt, anxiety and mistrust” (McCurdy & Sherman, 1996).
Research has shown that a child’s poor environment can produce long-standing psychological and traumatic issues as a result of post-divorce. According to Wallerstein, “in the case of future violent criminals these tasks, in the absence of the love, affection and dedication of both parents” (Wallerstein, 1991), are the greatest contributing factor in juvenile delinquency above all others. It is the primary root cause behind where juvenile delinquency is derived from.
When a child has low self-esteem and self-worth there is the inherent belief within that they are unloved and they do not matter. It is difficult to be motivated to do the right thing when all a child has ever been exposed to are negative experiences that have served as a catalyst for their behaviors. If they are not getting love and acceptance by their parents at home, they will seek it elsewhere. This is without a doubt the primary reason juvenile delinquency is rampant among youth everywhere. Broken homes, the absence of a parent, poor role models, and improper rearing are all mechanisms that tear down youth and lead them into lives of juvenile delinquency, which can later lead to an adult life of crime. Children are the future. The home environment in which they live is the determinant of what their future will hold. No amount of interventions and corrective measures will be effective if the root causes of juvenile delinquency are not addressed.


Alvarado, A. (1999). Variables influencing juvenile delinquency and crime. Journal of California Law Enforcement, 33(1), 14-20. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/199208989?accountid=12085
McCurdy, S. and Scherman, A. (1996). Effects of family structure on the adolescence separations individuation process. Adolescence, 31(1), 307.
Wallerstein, J. (1991). The long term effects of divorce on children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 30(1), 349.

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WePapers. (2021, February, 18) Juvenile Delinquency Essay Example. Retrieved August 12, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/juvenile-delinquency-essay-example/
"Juvenile Delinquency Essay Example." WePapers, 18 Feb. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/juvenile-delinquency-essay-example/. Accessed 12 August 2022.
WePapers. 2021. Juvenile Delinquency Essay Example., viewed August 12 2022, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/juvenile-delinquency-essay-example/>
WePapers. Juvenile Delinquency Essay Example. [Internet]. February 2021. [Accessed August 12, 2022]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/juvenile-delinquency-essay-example/
"Juvenile Delinquency Essay Example." WePapers, Feb 18, 2021. Accessed August 12, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/juvenile-delinquency-essay-example/
WePapers. 2021. "Juvenile Delinquency Essay Example." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved August 12, 2022. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/juvenile-delinquency-essay-example/).
"Juvenile Delinquency Essay Example," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 18-Feb-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/juvenile-delinquency-essay-example/. [Accessed: 12-Aug-2022].
Juvenile Delinquency Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/juvenile-delinquency-essay-example/. Published Feb 18, 2021. Accessed August 12, 2022.

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