This criminal justice research paper is an analysis of the family dynamics affecting juvenile delinquency. This paper will analyze the most pressing problems facing teenagers today. It will show the correlation of traditional opposite sex parents and non-traditional same-sex parents and what role or influence it has on or in the lives of adolescents. The difference between child abuse and child discipline will be examined and how it affects juvenile delinquency. A Biblical worldview will be encompassed into and contained into the examination of the family dynamics affecting juvenile delinquency. References will be given in this paper to fully support the assertions made concerning the family dynamics affecting juvenile delinquency.
This research paper will establish that there is overwhelming evidence that family dynamics affect and or contribute to juvenile delinquency. It will inform society that the most pressing problems facing teenagers today is separation, divorce and or blended families. This research paper will analyze the effects of traditional and non-traditional parents associated with the development of juveniles. It will educate on the differences between child abuse and child discipline and how they positively and negatively affect the development of youth. Many sources conclude that family dynamics affect juvenile delinquency and there is overwhelming evidence that it contributes to juvenile delinquency.
Separation, Divorce and Blended Families
The most pressing problems facing teenagers today is parental separation and divorce. “Family dissolution has become a common occurrence in the United States” (Siegel & Welsh, 2017). This is the most significant problem because the structure and dynamics of the family have changed over time. “The divorce rates in America are at an all-time high, and “about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce” (American Psychological Association, 2005). There has been an increase in mothers and fathers who are raising children by themselves with no help and are co-parenting children in separate homes. The increase in blended families is becoming a common practice as well.
According to the American Psychological Association (2005), subsequent marriage divorce rates are even higher than those of first-time marriages. Studies suggest an increase of men in women having children out of wedlock and many families who are now living in cohabitation together. Fox (2014), contends that over the last 50 years that cohabitation has increased by nearly 900 percent. It is imperative for children to be raised in homes consisting of men and women who are married to each other. The American Psychological Association (2005) says that healthy marriages are good for the mental and physical health of couples as well as for children who grow up in a happy home, because it helps to protect them from mental, physical, educational and social problems.
Parents today are often raising a society of entitled children that have no respect for their parents, themselves, and or society due to the erosion of the traditional family and marriage values. Due to the changes of traditional families and marriages, often parents are not raising their children anymore, the children are raising their parents as we see younger and younger teenagers are having children out of wedlock. There is a correlation with juveniles having no family structure, guidance and or support at home from their parents and the development of juvenile delinquency. “All too often children in the United States spend their early lives in homes racked by tension and conflict, absentee parents, separation, and divorce” (Siegel & Welsh, 2017).
Parental separation and divorce are contributors to juvenile delinquency due to no stability in the home and the lack of discipline due to single parents raising children on their own and are often absent in the home due to having to work to provide for their children. This often consists of teenagers being left alone at home while their parents or parent goes to work, which often contributes to a lack of discipline and leaves the teenager vulnerable to outside influences, and to experimentation that will ultimately may lead to juvenile delinquency. This is not to say; however, that a juvenile that has parents that have separated and or divorced or those living in blended families will turn out to be a juvenile delinquent; however, these are just some factors that play a role and or contribute to such.
Traditional vs. Non-Traditional Parents. The family, marriage and traditions of the Biblical requirements of the family has transitioned and or evolved overtime into different dynamics altogether. Marriage was once thought of in society as a holy covenant ordained by God to create what is known as family; however, over time this has shifted and or changed significantly. A traditional marriage monogamous relationship consisting of one man and one woman is the most widely accepted type of marriage and or family today. It is important that children are raised in homes of men and women who are married to each other for a variety of different reasons. Many suggest that stern discipline and guidance of a father along with the loving and nourishing nature of a mother is needed in the lives of children to incorporate a balanced parenting style.
Overtime there has been a shift in traditional marriages and people have often leaned on their own understanding and or reasoning of what they thought made up or consisted of a family and marriage, without adhering to or considering the Biblical values, beliefs and or traditions of a traditional marriage within the family dynamic. A major shift in the traditional family structure consisting of one man and one woman married to each other changed drastically in the landmark civil rights case of Obergefell V. Hodges. This United States Supreme Court Case that ruled that same-sex couples have a right to be married to each other just as opposite-sex couples do. It established the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. The reasoning given was based upon both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This decision defiled the very word of God in every sense.
With the increase in Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender (LGBT) movements in America there is starting to be an increase in same-sex couples getting married and or being more widely accepted. These moves are gaining popularity; however, it remains a sin and is not right in God’s eye. There has become a shift to same-sex parents parenting children either through adoption or through other methods, which eventually leaves children confused, because they may not understand why they have two mothers or two fathers that are married or in a relationship being their parents as this was once unheard of. “These changes also enabled same-sex couples to come out of the closet” (Coontz, 2007). It is not uncommon to see two men or two women in a married homosexual relationship parenting children now, which changed the entire dynamics of the family when they could be married as opposite-sex couples were and adopt children and or have children. This goes against God as it relates to homosexuality and desecrates the sacrament of the traditional marriage and Word of God.
Child Abuse vs. Discipline. There are distinct differences between child abuse and child discipline. “The difference between child abuse and child discipline may seem obvious to most” (All About Parenting, 2005). “However, to an inexperienced parent who isn’t sure where to draw the line, there may be some confusion” (All About Parenting, 2005). Many parents today seem to be unable to fathom and or comprehend the difference between actual discipline of children and what is actual abuse of children. “Or to extremists on both sides of the child-rearing fence, there may seem to be no difference” (All About Parenting, 2005). “Child abuse is just what the words imply. . .abusing a child, sometimes resulting in death” (All About Parenting, 2005). “Child abuse consists of anything that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional well being and development” (All About Parenting, 2005). Many individuals, entity’s, and or movements seem to be unable to fathom and or comprehend the difference between what constitutes child abuse and what encompasses child discipline.
“Or to extremists on both sides of the child-rearing fence, there may seem to be no difference” (All About Parenting.org, 2005). “Child abuse is just what the words imply. . .abusing a child, sometimes resulting in death” (All About Parenting.org, 2005). “Child abuse consists of anything that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional well being and development” (All About Parenting.org, 2005). We are raising a society of entitled children that have no respect for their parents, themselves and society, in which process psychology has eroded the traditional family and marriage. Some parents are not raising their children, the children are raising their parents as we see younger and younger teenagers are having children out of wedlock.
Throughout the nation enacted legislation varying among different sates, counties and towns, which frowns upon parents disciplining their children, and not being inclusive of acceptable forms of biblical discipline. Child discipline is also referred to as corporal punishment. “Corporal punishment remains a common child rearing practice in the United States” (Gershoff and Bitensky, 2007). It is defined “as the use of physical force, no matter how light, with the intention of causing the child to experience bodily pain so as to correct or punish the child’s behavior” (Gershoff and Bitensky, 2007). Discipline of children is considered a sign of love from parents toward children, that they care enough about them and love them to punish them when they do wrong to steer them in the right direction.
“Parents use corporal punishment primarily to reduce undesirable child behavior in the present and to increase desirable child behavior in the future” (Gershoff and Bitensky, 2007). “At its most basic, the association of a negative stimulus with a behavior should make the behavior less likely in the future” (Gershoff and Bitensky, 2007). A traditional opposite-sex marriage with a father and mother helps to create the balance in the family home, a balance of a stern hand and a soft and or nurturing heart. This helps create a balance of acceptable healthy corporal punishment within the home. “The Bible offers many guidelines and lessons that help to clarify the difference” (All About Parenting, 2005). The scriptures give insight on how children are to be disciplined within the family dynamic. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24, KJV). It gives further insight that Biblical discipline gives wisdom. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15, KJV).
A Biblical Worldview. Since the beginning of time, God’s guidance of what the traditional family was to be constructed of is found in the Bible through the scriptures. God instructed how men and women where to raise, love and provide for their children. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, KJV). We see that God’s plan was to have a balance of man and woman as parents to guide children. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, KJV). God has specific instruction to parents who do not provide for their children.
“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8, KJV). This consisted of God creating male and female. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27, KJV). God created woman for man, so that man would not be lonely and would have a help mate. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18, KJV). God instructed that man was to marry a woman and leave his parents household and cling to his wife and they were to become one thereafter. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 1:27, KJV).
God ordained marriage to be one that honors him and keeps his commandments. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4, KJV). Man and woman were not to commit adultery according to God’s commandments. “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2, KJV). “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:9, KJV). It was instructed by God for man and woman to procreate and to replenish the earth. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28, KJV).
The family dynamics through the scriptures will be examined once man and woman were married and bare children and what God instructed the family household to be governed by thereafter. “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3, KJV). We see that God’s plan was to have a balance of man and woman as parents to guide children. God instructed how men and women where to raise, love and provide for their children. Here we see what God had to say about parents who did not provide for their children. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8, KJV).
The scriptures give insight onto how the children were to be disciplined within the family dynamic. The scriptures cover everything even how, children are to act toward their parents. “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:20, KJV). From the early foundations of creation, God intended for marriage and family to be governed by opposite-sex parents in holy marriage according to his word. He did not intend for it to be governed by same-sex parents or un-married parents and this is evident in his word. “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, KJV).
Our nation has blatantly disregarded the scripture and migrated to man’s view of equal rights; however, he instructed what the consequences would be for not obeying his commandments. “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7:7, KJV). What is right has become wrong and what is wrong has become right in our nation as it relates to family and marriage. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:28, KJV).
If Americans were to follow the establishment of the family and marriage as God intended for it to be, rather than through process philosophy, then divorce rates would decline rapidly, sin would decrease, and crime would cease. God never does anything without warning his people about the consequences of not being a Godly nation. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” ;” (2 Timothy 3:1 – KJV). We must ensure the purity of family and marriage is upheld in the tradition sense as designed by our God and make sure that we are not promoting and or advocating for sin when trying to be inclusive of all in civil rights through process philosophy.
Conclusion. There is overwhelming evidence that family dynamics affect juvenile delinquency. That the most pressing problems facing teenagers today is separation, divorce and or blended families, traditional vs. non-traditional families, the differences between child abuse and child discipline with a Biblical Worldview incorporated herein.
- All About Parenting. (2005). Child Abuse vs. Discipline. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutparenting.org/child-abuse-vs-discipline-faq.htm
- American Psychological Association. (2005). Marriage and Divorce. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/
- Coontz, S. (2007). The Family Revolution. Greater Good Magazine. Berkeley, CA: The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_family_revolution
- Fox, L. (2014). The Science of Cohabitation: A Step Toward Marriage, Not a Rebellion. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/03/the-science-of-cohabitation-a-step-toward-marriage-not-a-rebellion/284512/
- Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2017). Juvenile Delinquency: The Core (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
- Gershoff, E. T., & Bitensky, S. H. (2007). The case against corporal punishment of children: Converging evidence from social science research and international human rights law and implications for U.S. public policy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 13(4), 231-272. doi:10.1037/1076-8922.214.171.124