Term Paper: Family Deliquency and Crime Nowadays Society

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Family Deliquency and Crime

Nowadays society has to deal with all sorts of social issues in different contexts and with different social actors. A social problem is mostly a matter of perception, and it becomes a social problem when those around us consider it so.

Delinquency is known to be part of the social problems that nowadays society is confronted with. It is an issue that raises questions and highlights doubts and we should be aware of what is going on around us, so that we can figure out a way of responding to it and doing our best to understand its context.

The social control theory "seeks to understand the ways in which it is possible to reduce the likelihood of criminality developing in individuals" (http://www.homestead.com/rouncefield/files/a_soc_dev_6.htm).

Self-control theory argues that a lack of self-control is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for crime to occur, because other properties of the individual, or of the situation may counteract one's likelihood of committing deviant acts" (Hirschi and Gottfredson, 1993:53). The theorists have implicitly stated that "their perspective, unlike many others, is not meant to predict any single type of activity since most deviant behavior, by its very nature, is impulsive and opportunistic. Therefore, everything else being equal, low self-control and a weak bond to society should positively and significantly predict a variety of deviant and criminal conduct" (Polakowski, 1994:62). Gottfredson and Hirschi say there are differences among racial and ethnic groups, as there are between the sexes, in levels of direct supervision by the family. Thus, there is a crime component to racial differences in crime rates, but, as with gender, differences in self-control probably far outweigh differences in supervision in accounting for racial or ethnic variations (Gottfredson and Hirschi, 1990:149). It is not the gender, race, or age of an individual that directly influences his criminality, but these factors indirectly affect the amount of socialization by parents. An evaluation of the age-crime relationship, however, has shown that for certain crimes, the variable of age may actually be a direct result of lack of self-control (Greenberg, 1994:372). This is a more refined control theory than originally presented over twenty years earlier by Hirschi. This utilitarian theory evolved to propose that self-control is the general concept around which all of the known facts about crime can be organized (Gottfredson and Hirschi, 1990:85). It should be noted that, "classical theory and the concept of self-control are remarkably compatible" (Brownfield and Sorenson, 1993:244), therefore I would consider both as being appropriate in explaining why people engage in criminal behaviors and there is no striking contrast between them, but if I really were to choose between the two theories, I would go for the self-control theory because it is more "personal," more related to the social actor and the social behavior and I consider that it is one's choice of acting in a certain way in one context or another.

The social learning theory follows the principle that "learning occurs within a social context," and "it considers that people learn from one another" through "observational learning, imitation and modelling...Learning can occur without a change in behavior. Social learning theorists say that... because people can learn through observation alone, their learning may not necessarily be shown in their performance. Learning may or may not result in a behavior change" (http://teachnet.edb.utexas.edu/~lynda_abbott/Social.html) and people are often reinforced for modeling the behavior of others. Some theorists suggested that the environment also reinforces modeling.

Social learning theory has been applied extensively to the understanding of aggression (Bandura, 1973) and psychological disorders, particularly in the context of behavior modification (Bandura, 1969). It is also the theoretical foundation for the technique of behavior modeling which is widely used in training programs.

Considering the social learning theory, it is understandable why some people might engage in criminal behaviors and it can also be argued by the fact that some social actors do not have a very well structured personality and might consider appropriate and right what others do and how others solve their "problems," doesn't really matter whether these ways are orthodox or not. It is easier to copy something than taking the time to think about it yourself.

Corporal punishment of children breaches their fundamental human rights to respect for human dignity and physical integrity. Its legality in almost every state worldwide - in contrast to other forms of inter-personal violence - challenges the universal right to equal protection under the law." (http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/intro/intro.html).As members of our future society, children who bear the scars of physical and psychological abuse will cause abnormal situations on a general level.

As an example, we can take Alice Miller's words about three big political leaders of this century: "Hitler, Stalin, Mao and other dictators were exposed to severe physical mistreatment in childhood and refused to face up to the fact later. Instead of seeing and feeling what had happened to them, they avenged themselves vicariously by killing millions of people. And millions of others helped them to do so. If the legislation we are advocating had existed the time, those millions would simply have refused to perpetrate acts of cruelty at the command of crazed political leaders." (http://eqi.org/amiller.htm)

As Alice Miller further says, we must keep in mind that "if we do not become aware of it and if we do not face the painful feelings which have been repressed, we are likely to turn into violent or self-injuring adults." (http://eqi.org/amiller.htm)

It is well-known that "adolescence is a time of expanding vulnerabilities and opportunities that accompany the widening social and geographic exposure to life beyond school or family, but it starts with the family." (http://facstaff.elon.edu/ajones5/Anika's%20paper.htm)

Families are one of the strongest socializing forces in life. They teach children to control unacceptable behavior, to delay gratification, and to respect the rights of others. Conversely, families can teach children aggressive, antisocial, and violent behavior (Wright & Wright 1994). This statement alone could easily explain how the juvenile may end up becoming a delinquent. Wright and Wright (1994) suggest positive parenting practices during the early years and later in adolescence appear to act as buffers preventing delinquent behavior and assisting adolescents involved in such behavior to desist from delinquency.

Research indicates that various exposures to violence are important sources of early adolescent role exits, which means that not only can a juvenile witness violence within the family but on the outside as well (Hagan & Foster 2001). If violence encompasses all emotionally environmental aspects of the juvenile's life, he or she is more likely to engage in delinquent activities.

A substantial number of children engage in delinquency. Antisocial and/or aggressive behaviors may begin as early as preschool or in the first few grades of elementary school. Such childhood misconduct tends to be resistant to change; for example, the parents disciplining more harshly, often predicts continuing problems during adolescence, as well as adult criminality (Prochnow & DeFronzo 1997).

For family disruption and delinquency, the composition of families is one aspect of family life that is consistently associated with delinquency. Children who live in homes with only one parent or in which marital relationships have been disrupted by divorce or separation are more likely to display a range of behavioral problems including delinquency, than children who are from two parent families (Thornberry, et al. 1999). Children who witness marital discord are at greater risk of becoming delinquents.

Communication also plays a big role in how the family functions. Clark and Shields (1997) state that the importance of positive communication for optimal family functioning has major implications for delinquent behavior. They also discovered that communication is indeed related to the commission of delinquent behavior and differences are shown within categories of age, sex, and family marital status.

A multitude of factors exist that contribute to the understanding of what leads someone to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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