Family Delinquency Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 28 September 2016

Family Delinquency

There are several factors that might lead to inept parenting in single parent households. Among these factors are the available economic and parental resources to children and the stressful conditions that characterize such families. Majority of single parents are economically disadvantaged. As such, they often lack the material resources that they can offer their children.

The result is that their children remain uncompetitive especially in school. Their children thus lack status among their peers owing to the inability of the parent to provide things that they may need. Due to the fact that majority of single parents suffer from various economic difficulties, they are likely to live in run down neighborhoods characterized by high crime rates, low quality schools and few community services.

The majority of single parents also find it difficult to function effectively as parents. They are in most cases less emotionally supportive of their children, are less restrictive, dispense harsher discipline, are more inconsistent in dispensing discipline, offer less supervision and engage in more conflict with their children (Simmons and Simmons, 2005).

These deficits in parenting emanate from the struggle to provide for the family with limited financial resources and attempting to raise children in the absence of the other biological parent. Various studies associate inept parenting by resident single parents with a variety of negative consequences among children.

Relationship between informal and formal labeling to adolescent delinquency

According to labeling theory, perceived negative reactions result in the development of negative self conceptions and greater delinquent involvement (Glueck, 1962). The proponents of this theory emphasize on the importance of both formal and informal labeling. Formal labels are those acquired through contact with social control agencies while informal labeling are those that parents, peers and teachers generate. Juveniles become stigmatized through contact with social control agencies. Involvement in delinquent behavior is one of the possible responses to being negatively labeled or stigmatized. Negative parental reactions may also lead to a juvenile becoming delinquent.

In their routine activities, juveniles encounter different cues and clues on how members of the community they live perceive them. Juveniles can interpret accurately the meaning of symbols and gestures employed to project labels upon them through role taking and defining situations. Human beings cannot be said to be passive receptors of negative labels since they possess the capacity to take part in cooperative interaction through significant symbols. Some juveniles negotiate labels and at times attempt to repudiate their deviant imputations (Simmons and Simmons, 2005).

Naming or defining something is never an idealistic procedure but rather a consequence of an action. As such, social groups establish deviance by their response to known acts. A label therefore designates something that is a consequence of successful conversation of gestures. It is this successful conversation of gestures that makes the process of labeling the self possible.

Labeling theorists assume that individuals project themselves into the role of significant others during real or imagined interactions and make assessments or self appraisals. The self becomes an object for which the person attaches labels which can either be positive or negative. This assumption is guided by the conception that human have the capacity to choose among competing labels for their self conception.

Discuss the factors relating to the possibilities of the family structure being a major contribution to a juvenile becoming involved in delinquent behaviors.

Family structure influences to a large extent the behavior of children. Research findings indicate that children growing up with single parents have an increased risk of becoming delinquents (Glueck, 1962). The structure of the family influences economic and parental resources that are available to children. Single parents, being financially constrained, are less likely to take care of their children’s need. The result is that the children experience low self esteem as they lack the majority of things that other children possess. Children who are growing up in a family where both parents are present are unlikely to experience behavioral problems.

Research also indicates that children from single parent families that receive support from non-resident fathers also exhibit fewer behavioral problems than those without support. With this regard, economic factors influence the possibilities of a child becoming deviant and this mainly depends on the structure of the family. If both the parents are present, the economic conditions are likely to be better as both parents may take the responsibility in providing for the children. As such, the children may not feel deprived thereby reducing the possibilities of becoming deviant.

Children become conformists when their parents possess cooperative co-parental relationship. When parents support each others decisions and agree on the rules of the family, the children learn that the parent’s authority is not arbitrary. Parental agreement therefore means that the children are not exposed to inconsistent discipline when they misbehave. This consistency between parents encourages children to learn and internalize moral values and social norms.

Causes of marital violence

Social theories see marital violence to be the product of the society. As such, they see marital violence as emanating from the social structures and the cultural values and norms that accommodate the use of violence among partners. Furthermore, the causes of marital violence have been attributed by some sociologists to be rooted in the structure of the family; the interaction between the members of the family and their social interactions. For instance, family systems theory relates the cause of marital violence to communication flaws and conflict in intimate relationships.

Psychological theories on the other hand attribute the causes to individual experiences and predispositions. Marital violence may be linked to biological inclination to violence and personality disorder, or as suggested by social learning theories, to the offender’s social environment during his early stages of development.

Attachment theory emphasizes on the relationship between parents or caregivers with their children and the consequences of such attachments on the ability of an individual to develop safe and healthy relationships later in life. Psychological perspectives hold that individuals may be predisposed to violence by personality disorders or early experiences of trauma. As such, being abusive physically is seen as a manifestation of an underlying emotional problem. Childhood experiences such as parental abuse, rejection and the inability to satisfy the dependence needs of a child may provide a source of later violence.

Double Jeopardy

Statistics show that women are at a higher risk of being victims of marital violence than males. Quite a number of reasons have been postulated to explain this phenomenon. Among the widely held theories is that women are inherently weak. With regard to physical strength, it is widely known that males far much out-weigh females in strength.

Many female victims often find themselves in difficult situation when they are taking the decision to report their partner for abusing them physically. This is because they are likely to do something worse when they come out. As such, female victims of marital violence are always at the risk of double jeopardy. Even though violation of protection order may lead to federal criminal prosecution, advocates may develop procedures to avert double jeopardy.

Population heterogeneity theory

These theories postulate that there is an initial proneness to commit violent offenses and that this early difference in the development of an individual remains quite stable over time (Glueck, 1962)). People with numerous risk factors before birth, during toddler hood and during childhood are more likely to develop violent tendencies during adolescence and adulthood. In other words, there is a correlation between past and current criminal behavior. Population heterogeneity process attributes stability in offending over time to differences in anti-social characteristics across individuals that is established early in life.

One of the implications of a population heterogeneity explanation for continuity in crime over time is that the antisocial feature is likely to have reverberations throughout life, adopting many manifestations later in life. Any observed correspondence between later life events and criminality is spurious due to the fact that they are all the consequence of a common cause.

Concepts and principles of social learning theory

The fundamental assumption of social learning theory is that the same learning process that operates within the context of social structure, interaction and situation produces both conforming and deviant behavior. The direction of the process in which these mechanisms operate is the basis of their difference. What is involved is the balance of influences on behavior.

In most cases, that balance exudes some form of stability over time but it can also become unstable and change with circumstances and time. Conformity and deviant behavior is learned by the mechanisms in this process even though the theory proposes that the principle mechanism are part of the process in which differential reinforcement and imitation produce both overt behavior and cognitive definitions that function as discriminative stimuli for the behavior.

Parenting skills

The success of any family is dependent upon effective parenting. As such, it is important for every parent to establish healthy methods of raising their children. New parents should know that the future of their children lie in their hands. The first step to parenting is developing clear expectations of what both parents want. Depending on the background of what is being considered right or wrong, parents should plan and communicate their expectation to each other.

Establishing a list of social, academic, religious and family oriented expectations for different settings and activities will enable parents to be very particular and concrete in teaching their children. They must however take into consideration the ability and age of the child, developmental status and the available resources. After setting the appropriate rules and expectations, the second most important thing is to unambiguously communicate these expectations in word and in deed.


Glueck, E. (1962). Family environment and delinquency. Houghton Mifflin

Simmons, R. & Simmons L. (2005). Families, delinquency, and crime: Linking Society’s Most     Basic Institution to Antisocial Behavior. Oxford University Press

Free Family Delinquency Essay Sample


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