Families Delinquency and Crime Thesis

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Families, Delinquency & Crime

Describe the labeling theory and the consequences that labeling can have on a child.

Labeling theory is defined as "deviance [created] by making rules whose infractions constitute deviance, and by applying those rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders… deviance is not a quality of the act a person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an "offender." The deviant is one to whom the label has successfully been applied, deviant behavior is behavior that peopleso label" (Flowers, 2001: 65).

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This definition of labeling theory, as applied in its possible effects on children, especially when 'successfully applied.' Labeling theory gives emphasis on the label that norms in the society consider as acceptable or deviant. To label an individual as deviant means that for the person or society labeling him/her as deviant, his/her actions do not conform with or are not acceptable to the another person's or the society's norms. To a child, the act of labeling is critical because this label could define what would s/he become later in life. Considering a child as an "outsider" in school could have a lasting effect, wherein the label would stick to the child and perpetuate. Labels are also powerful enough to elicit reactions, both from the individual being labeled and the society labeling him/her: as a result of labeling, a child could remain an 'outsider' by turning against himself/herself and avoiding social contact/interaction as much as possible. Consequently, society could be reinforcing the label on the child as it reacts to his/her actions negatively (i.e., social isolation).

2. Explain Hagan's Power Control Theory and its relationship to how girls and boys are parented.

Thesis on Families Delinquency and Crime Assignment

Proposed and developed by John Hagan, power-control theory "(argues) that parental positions in the workforce affect patriarchal attitudes in the household. Patriarchal attitudes, in turn, result in different levels of control placed on boys and girls in these households…differing levels of control affect the likelihood of the children taking risks and ultimately engaging in deviance… because of the greater levels of control placed on girls in patriarchal households, there are greater gender differences in delinquency in such households in that boys are more delinquent than girls" (Bates et. al., 2003:170).

The power-control theory focuses on the family structure and the kind of relationship that exists among its members, specifically between the parents and their children. From Hagan's proposition on the theory, it assumes that the family's nature is patriarchal, where the male or father dominates and ultimately controls other members of the family. This nature of the family, according to Hagan, results to different kinds of parenting towards male and female children. Girls tend to be controlled by the family, especially the father, since the patriarchal family puts more emphasis on the fact that girls (and women) need to be controlled. Conversely, boys are given lesser parental control, and are therefore given limitless opportunities to explore and develop different behaviors from different influencers. This lack or lesser degree of control given to boys actually leads to a greater risk of assuming a deviant behavior.

3. Explain the Population Heterogeneity Theory

Theories of population heterogeneity, according to Tremblay et. al. (2005), "suggest 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… An individual with numerous risk factors before birth, in toddlerhood, or in childhood would be more likely to act with violence during adolescence and adulthood" (208).

The theory of population heterogeneity reflects the inevitability of certain people to develop deviant behavior. This inevitability and natural propensity and tendency to assume a violent behavior or commit violence emphasize the role that both nature and nurture play in the development of deviant behavior among individuals. Nature plays a strong role in determining one's propensity to assume deviant behavior, and nurture or the social environment reinforces the individual's tendency to act as a deviant. However, ultimately, this theory uses the 'nature' component as its primary basis in determining how an individual becomes a deviant in the society, and how this deviant behavior could escalate and lead to the individual's commitment of a crime. While this theory puts biology as the determinant of deviant behavior and personality, there are numerous factors that could influence the escalation of a person's deviance, such as, as pointed out earlier, the individual's social environment -- kind of parenting and caring given, for example.

4. Identify and explain two different perspectives on the causes of marital violence.

Two perspectives that can help explain the causes of marital violence are the social learning and social exchange theories of marital violence/spousal abuse. Under the social learning theory, marital violence is interpreted as the "abusive parent's reliance upon coercive patterns of family interaction will likely to also be emulated by children in later relationships. For children, being a victim of abuse does not turn them against violence, but instead teaches it as avalue…a child's peer relations may function either as a deterrent or a causal pathway in carrying out those behaviours [sic] observed at home" (Sommer, 1994).

Social learning theory of marital violence puts emphasis on the influence that the pattern of abuse can have on both the abuser and abused, as well as other individuals who may have witnessed or seen too frequently these acts of abuse. This can have serious effects on the psyche of a child who witnesses, for example, his mother being abused by his father. As an all too common illustration of this episode, the child could channel this "learning" either positively or negatively: s/he could imitate the abusive act to another person, thinking the abuse is 'correct behavior,' or the child may recognize the wrongness of the abusive act that s/he could withdraw from other people, feeling ashamed of the fact that his father is an abusive husband, or maybe fear that his father or other people would abuse him/her.

Social exchange theory of marital violence, meanwhile, posits that "the family is viewed as a power system in which its members rely upon some degree of force to ensure that others serve their ends… Violence is seen as an outcome of the inequity of the exchange… (it was) also found that women seeking divorces…described their husbands as having meagre [sic] psychological resources. For many, having limited social and psychological resources also translate into violent behaviour [sic]" (ibid.).

This second perspective on marital violence looks at the 'economy' of marriages, and the dysfunction that can result when the resources needed to maintain the relationship are not available. Marital violence could be a result of different kinds of inequities; however, ultimately, these perceived psychological and/or physical inequalities trigger individuals who may have experienced this inequity (from the individual himself/herself or from his/her partner), especially if these individuals have a predisposition towards violence or deviant behavior.

5. Explain the "double jeopardy" risk regarding women being victims of marital violence.

The double jeopardy that abused women experience is the exposure and possibly, experience of being abused as a child, and experiencing this abuse again from her husband (or wife, in the case of men). Studies on marital violence highlighted this salient characteristic among the victims, wherein "abuse during childhood has been shown to elevate the probability of women being the victims of domestic assault" (Simons et. al., 1993:713). This finding is further dimensionalized by the authors, stating that possible reasons for the occurrence and perpetuation of double jeopardy among marital violence victims is that it is "mediated" by several influencers or factors, namely, "victim's perceptions of helplessness, commitment to traditional gender beliefs, level of education, and involvement in aggressive/deviant behavior" (ibid.). The victims' perceptions of helplessness, in fact, has been a very influential mediator that perpetuated the occurrence of double jeopardy among victims, as they tend to gravitate towards individuals who are more dominant than them, an individual who, enabled through the victim's learned helplessness, take advantage of the victim's psychological and/or physical weakness (es).

6. What is your reaction to the statement from the text saying that females who are "physically abused as children tend to have relationships with males who will also abuse them." Discuss.

As explained earlier through the concept and phenomenon that is double jeopardy, victims of abuse during their childhood years tend to experience abuse again as an adult, commonly through marital violence. The claim that 'physically abused children tend to have relationships with males who will also abuse them' is sound, but only demonstrates half of the truth that can be learned from studying marital violence. It is indeed possible and most probable that victims of abuse as a child will experience abuse again during his/her adult years, since their perceptions of learned helplessness as the victims or the abused have, more often than not, enabled their partners to take advantage of their weakness.

However, an argument against this claim or finding is also the development of physically abused children to being… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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