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Juvenile Delinquency and Parenting Styles Essay

There are four different techniques to parent a child; authoritarian, permissive, neglectful, and authoritative. Juvenile delinquency has been found to be closely related to the type of parenting and support a child receives and is most critical in the earlier years of one’s adolescence. Authoritarian is a very strict, controlling, punitive, and cold parenting style. This particular style follows with high control and mature demands, and low nurturance, as well as communication.

The child of an authoritarian parent turns out to be subdued, highly aggressive, out of control; they also typically have lower grades including a low self-concept. The second parenting style is a permissive parent. Permissive parents tend to be very lax and inconsistent allowing for a zero-limit approach. Permissive parents display high nurturance, and low maturity demands, control and communication. Children of a permissive parent tend to be more aggressive, immature with peers, and less responsible/independent.

Neglectful parenting is the third parenting style and one of the most negative and dangerous. Neglectful parents show no interest in their children, and emotionally as well as physically reject their children. Parents of neglect tend to show low control; if any, and the negative results show up in lack of social relationships, impulsiveness, and sociopathic tendencies. Juveniles who are especially young (under age seven in most jurisdictions) are often placed within the control of community agencies such as departments of human services or social welfare.

In many cases parents themselves may have psychological problems, or suffer from drug or alcohol dependencies (Champion, 2009). On the contrary to the three previous parenting styles, the best and most recommended parenting style is to be an authoritative parent. Authoritative parents are firm but fair with consistent boundaries. Authoritarian parents are high on all aspects of nurturance, maturity demands, control and communication.

Authoritative parents tend to have children that are more altruistic, have higher independence, and are more achievement oriented. However, not included with the four commonly know parenting styles, African-American families practice a style known as no-nonsense parenting, which is a style in between authoritarian and authoritative (Ewing, 2006). Research shows that the least amount of communication and structure the parents instill in the child, the more likely the child is to be active in delinquent activities.

Also a major factor is the income of the family, usually when a dual income family has to work an immense amount of hours just to maintain a lifestyle just suitable to stay afloat, the parents are not home often enough to develop a relationship with their children and neglect them without even realizing it. Just as easily the same is a result of a single-parent dwelling as well (Black, 2010). Parents are more often times than not, the first disciplinary aspect we experience before anything else. According to Black, parents shape and shift children’s lives by the time they hit the age of 5.

Jacob Ind a subject and victim of neglectful parenting along with abuse killed his parents as “the only way out” (PBS, 2007). Now as Jacob Ind is one story of many, he is just an example of how unjust parenting can result in juvenile delinquency and possibly even criminal behavior. Jacob Ind’s parents were neglectful and abusive parents which led Jacob into a path of wrong doing. Jacob was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder (PBS, 2007). Juvenile crime often goes undetected in homes with the permissive and neglectful parenting styles because of the low control, demands, and communication.

The parent is often uninvolved and distant in the relationship with the child, if there is any at all. Authoritative parents tend to overcrowd their children and can create high amounts of stress and aggressiveness because they feel little to no room to relax without the constant worry of how their parent will react. As a parenting style plays a major role in the developing of a child and the prevention of crime and delinquency, a main area that is over-looked is the behavior in school. According to Dr. Eric Lewkowiez, lack of positive role models aid in violent behavior because of an undetected disorder; for example, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and/or social ineptness.

Other factors that would go undetected because of lack of interest shown by a parent or teacher could be bullying by peers, low grades because they simply do not understand the material in the same manor the rest of the classroom does, and the lack of ability to simply focus (Mirshak, 2011). In conclusion, parents are the shape-shifters of their children, as well as their child’s peers.

If any activity seems unusual for a child, the most important thing is to not let it go unnoticed. Children need attention; however, they need the right attention. The best and most effective style of parenting for positive behavior is authoritative. No one parent is perfect nor does one parent always know what to do in a situation when their child is acting out or misbehaving, but approaching it at the best angle (authoritative) is the best deterrent for delinquent and criminal behavior.


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