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The Influence of Parent-child Relationships on The Criminal Behavior Among Adolescents Essays

            Individuals have different characteristics as a person and these behaviors are affected by several factors. Such factors that affect one’s behavior include the influences brought by families, neighbors and the environment. If family relations, specifically with parents, could influence the behavior of a person, how could criminal behavior within adolescents be explained with this fact? What could be the reasons why teenagers commit serious crimes and delinquencies?
            Giving comfort, love and guidance are some of the different roles of parents in taking care of their children. However, if a child attempts to hurt someone or commits a crime, will it be their parents’ faults? How do individuals weigh such instances? Is their any way to reduce this kind of abnormal behavior in children? Parents are certainly liable if their child commits a crime. Their children are their responsibilities, so whatever happens, they are always accountable for any circumstances. Their responsibility is to teach their children what is right or what is wrong. If this would be the case, are teenagers who commit crimes never taught of such things? Do their parents lack the knowledge of parenting? Or are their children the ones who are out of control?
“Children who are neglected or abused commit substantially more crimes later in life than others”. – Roy Morsch/Corbis
            This paper will study factors that could influence the abnormal social behaviors of teenagers, including crime. The paper will also examine the probability that interactions with friends and parents could reduce the risk of delinquency in adolescents. The study includes conducting interviews, surveys and observations with the participants. In this case, this study will discuss mostly about child and parent relationships and will find out ways on how to lessen criminal behaviors of teenagers.

            Every problem has a corresponding solution, no matter how big of a matter it is. The participants will be of great help in finding out the real conflicts that happen between child-parent relationships within a certain area.
            This study will use research methodologies such as interviews and survey to increase the credibility of the hypothesis. Their will be 100 participants for the study whose ages range from fifteen to seventeen years. The location of the study is still to be decided upon. There will be certain limitations for the study. It will be more specific with a certain factor that influences adolescents to act anti-socially.
            In the end of this discussion, the study will prove that reductions in delinquency between the ages of fifteen and seventeen years appear to be related to friendly interaction between teenagers and their parents coupled with programs that aid youth who reside in areas of high risk delinquency.
            Results may vary depending on the situations that may occur during the research period. However, keep in mind that their may be other factors that could affect the adolescents’ way of thinking. The results of the study will discuss the gender relations, individual preferences, and most especially the family relations of the participants and how these factors could affect the behavior of individuals, specifically the teenagers.
            Hopefully, this research will contribute to further studies on understanding the minds or actions of young individuals especially now that a new generation has outgrown other generations.

The influence of parent-child relationship on the criminal behavior among adolescents
The role of family discord with regard to child outcomes is quite important. According to Rhee and Weldman (2002) for children and adolescents the environment is the most significant factor influencing their behavior. Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) noted that adolescents who become offenders appear to have little control over their desires, and that this lack is largely rooted in family child rearing practices. A statistics shows that children are fifty percents greater risk of engaging in criminal acts if neglected or abused (Holmes, Slaughter & Kashani, 2001).
Families with poor communication and weak family bonds have been shown to have a correlation with children’s development of aggressive/criminal behavior (Garnefski & Okma, 1996). Loukas, Fitzgerald, Zucker and von Eye (2001) reported anti social behaviors during preschool years in children of alcoholics were linked to later problem behaviors, supporting the continuity of anti social behavior across childhood. These researches show the influence of parent-child relationship on the criminal behavior among adolescents.
A common theme during childhood is that the way in which parents are able to sensitively regulate their parenting behavior based on the development needs of their children. Good parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the child emotionally, physically, socially and intellectually. In many cases, orphaned children receive parental care from foster parents or orphanage.
The single family parents have escalated to 15 million in the United States; most of the single family parents face an array of risks such as-from mild cognitive delays in preschooler to withdrawal and depression in older kids. In addition, a higher percentage of single mothers than single fathers are below poverty line. In such cases, economic disadvantage linked with residential instability, which further contributes to children’s behavioral difficulties.
Parents are the first line of control for when children misbehave. The immediate behavior of child might be influenced by how parents discipline children. Spanking seems counterproductive for children preparing to enter school. Parents who are themselves aggressive and anti social are the most likely to use harsh punishments and they are also at a greater risk to have aggressive and anti social children. The similar tendencies of these individuals create an environment of criminal or violent behavior.
Adolescents and children whose parents are uninvolved perform most poorly in all domains, as a result they also tend to have poor social skills ,low self esteem and high levels of depression. Children who are rejected by their parents, are inadequately supervised, and grow up in homes with considerable conflict are at greatest risk of becoming delinquents. The presence of any of the family circumstances factors increases the chances of raising a delinquent child .Family conflict is particularly likely to promote criminal behavior, and the choice to divorce must be typically of parents who do not get along.
Single parents find hard to get assistance. Children raised in single parent families are likely to have been exposed to such crime promoting influences such as parental conflict and alcoholism. Single parents concentrate more on work, in order to support themselves and their families; they are likely to have difficulty providing supervision for their children. Poor supervision stirs up chronic stress in early stages and later it may generate delinquency.
Reductions in delinquency between the ages of fifteen and seventeen years appear to be related to friendly interaction between teenagers and their parents, which seems to promote stronger family bonds, school attachment and a dip in delinquency. Also, programs that aid youth who reside in areas of high risk delinquency or for juvenile offenders must be undertaken simultaneously.
This study is to test the hypothesis that reductions in delinquency between the ages of fifteen and seventeen years appear to be related to friendly interaction between teenagers and their parents coupled with programs that aid youth who reside in areas of high risk delinquency.
This study requires one hundred participants between the ages of fifteen and seventeen years old who are identified to be living in areas of high risk delinquency. The selected participants will be provided with a survey that will be analyzed to determine correctness of the hypothesis.
Research Design
The first step in locating these teenagers is to develop a criteria for determining whether an area is at high risk for delinquency. One criterion that can be used is the average number of students absent per day. This can be assumed because students that do not attend school regularly can not be excelling in their academic life. Another criterion could be to examine arrest records and find the area with highest number of juvenile arrests. This could be done by inquiring at a municipal hall of records.
            The first part of the survey will consist of fact-based questions including: Participant’s age, sex, and grade in school. Participants will be self-reporting this information. This section will also include questions regarding family structure: participant’s birth order, number of siblings, single or two-parent home, and identification of household members, e.g. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, parents and children. It is thought that children of divorced parents or single parents are more likely to be delinquent. Also in this section of the survey there will be questions on household income, sources of income and the use of public assistance, this will help to determine whether income/poverty level has an effect on delinquency.
            It is also important to survey the participant’s educational history. This study will question the survey-takers grade level, current enrollment status, current grade point average and general attitude towards education, teachers and their school. The survey will also question whether or not the taker is involved with sports or extracurricular activities and whether or not the taker’s family/parent(s) are involved. This study seeks to affirm the idea that teenagers involved with regular, structured activities are less likely to get into trouble. Parent(s) that support these activities provide even more value to their children.
Participants will be asked about the psychological, medical and criminal history of themselves and their parent(s). This next section will also rely on the participants self-reporting their history. It is thought that children who are exposed to violent or out of control behavior will be more likely to participate in this kind of behavior themselves. This will be achieved as follows:
1. Does the participant have, or have had in the past, a psychological history of:
The participant will then check any and all appropriate choices, such as eating disorder, schizophrenia, depression, bi-polar disorder, attention deficit disorder, et cetera.
2. Do either or both of the participant’s parents have, or have had in the past, a psychological history of:
This question will be followed with same choices as above.
The following two questions will be similar in format:
1. Does the participant have, or have had in the past, a medical history of:
The participant will then check any and all appropriate choices, such as autism, diabetes, obesity, et cetera.
2. Do either or both of the participant’s parents have, or have had in the past, a medical history of:
This question will be followed with same choices as above.
Following these medical/psychological history questions, the participants will be asked about any criminal history either on their own parts or on the part of the parent(s). These questions will also have to be broken down to give choices on type of crime committed, violent, non-violent, robbery, assault, rape, et cetera.
The next part of the survey will be in regards to participant’s relationship with parental units/family and their feelings regarding these relationships. Participants will be asked to identify the discipline style of the house, for example, lecturing, yelling, spanking or extended punishments. This study believes that the use of corporal punishment contributes to incidences of delinquency.
Participants will be asked if they feel close to anyone in their family and to identify this person. Participants will be asked to identify any and all activities they participate in with their parent(s). They will be asked to provide an average number of hours per week spent talking with their parents and how many hours are spent together in general. This study hypothesizes that juveniles with strong, meaningful connections with their parents are less likely to be delinquent. The study will try to measure this closeness using participants’ own views as well as the factual information as to how this relationship is cultivated.
            After compiling the data, one should be able to draw certain conclusions. The data may show no correlation between absentee-ism, juvenile records and history with delinquency. On the other hand, the data may prove this study’s hypothesis: Reductions in delinquency between the ages of fifteen and seventeen years appear to be related to friendly interaction between teenagers and their parents coupled with programs that aid youth who reside in areas of high risk delinquency.
What is your age?
Are you:         Male  or    Female                                          (circle)
What is your grade in school?                                                           (circle)
Freshman        Sophomore     Junior    Senior
List all of the members of your household and identify their relationship to you.
What is your household income?
Does anyone in your household receive public assistance benefits?
What is your enrollment status in school?                                         (circle)

            After conducting such methodologies, the results will most likely be able to hypothesize the probability that reductions in delinquency between the ages of fifteen and seventeen years appear to be related to friendly interaction between teenagers and their parents coupled with programs that aid youth who reside in areas of high risk delinquency.
            The interviews will most probably become the bases of the study. This will gather data about the status and way of living of the participiants living in an environment with high risk of delinquency. The interviewee should maintain a good relationship with the participants in order to collect significant data that would be useful for the study.
            The results of the interviews would contain information about the participants and will probably determine the flow of the study. These data will provide proofs that parent relations could, in fact, influence the criminal behaviors of adolescence. This method of interviewing participants will also be useful in understanding the situations of these teenagers and how they are able to commit such offenses. Several strengths and weaknesses of the participants could be seen in the interviews that will be conducted. Their strengths could be enhanced and their weaknesses could be used to lessen their increasing criminal behavior.
            The survey will show significant statistics regarding the gathered data. The results will render specific information about the participants and will show the levels of delinquency in their environment. This will determine the quantity male and female adolescents who are prone to criminal behaviors or who have been already exposed to such offenses. Most likely, this will result to higher rates of delinquency within male teenagers compared to females. These results will also justify the influences of parents to their children. The survey also aims to determine the role of poverty regarding the abnormal social behaviors of these adolescents. What could be triggering these young ones to commit such actions? This question will be answered once the results of the study are released. The questions included in the survey are focused on the relationship of the adolescents with their families. With this, the factors affecting such circumstances will be determined. This will lead to ways on reducing criminal rates on teenagers.
            The results will also determine if conducting beneficial programs for the adolescents would help them and would reduce the level of delinquency in their place. If this hypothesis will be proven, then such programs will be specified and be further discussed in the succeeding researches. These aiding programs will then be given framework as to how they could be used to decrease the level of teenagers’ delinquencies and other abnormal social behaviors. Such programs need objectives, so the results will be helpful with this purpose.
            Parents could also engage themselves into counseling, parenting seminars or the like. In this way, they could be oriented and be reminded of their roles as parents of their children. They would be able to realize their faults as parents and hopefully, they could change for the benefit of their children.
            The study regarding the influences of child-parent relationships on the criminal behaviors of adolescents aims to discuss certain issues about the matter. If this could be proven within the results, then it will be somehow easier to conduct ways for reduction.
            However, if the hypothesis would not be able to result to what the study is expecting, certain actions should be done. There could be other factors to be considered. In order to maintain the consistency of the study, one should focus on the purpose of it.

            The study about the influences of child-parent relationship on criminal behaviors among adolescents could therefore conclude that reductions in delinquency between the ages of fifteen and seventeen years appear to be related to friendly interaction between teenagers and their parents coupled with programs that aid youth who reside in areas of high risk delinquency. If this hypothesis was supported by the data gathered during the research procedures, then the participants, as well as their parents could be given the help that they needed. Such aiding programs could be conducted to help prevent the rate of delinquency to increase within their area.
            When the results fit the hypothesis given, then the information will be proven reliable and could still be used with other similar studies. Understanding how adolescents perceive reality could also be a part of the results. The results of the study will be the bases of the aiding programs to be conducted after the research.
            However, the study is only limited to one factor that influences adolescents in engaging to criminal behaviors. Only 100 participants are involved and with only an area to be studied. These are the only ones who could benefit with the programs that can be made. Only small quantity of the population of adolescents is given consideration. In order to reach to larger population, this study should be able to discuss more factors and more participants residing in larger areas.
            If there are complications in the research, refer to other factors and rely on the interviews conducted. The interviews will help more with the study. The survey questionnaire could also  be changed to further discuss the study.

Garnefski, N., & Okama, S. (1996). Addiction-risk and aggressive/criminal behaviour in adolescence: Influence of family, school and peer, Journal of Adolescence, 19, 503-512.
Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Holmes, S. E., Slaughter, J. R., & Kashani, J. (2001). Risk factors in childhood that lead to the development of conduct disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 31, 183-193.
Loukas, A., Fitzgerald, H.E., Zucker, R. A., von Eye, A. (2001). Parental alcoholism and co-occurring antisocial behavior: Prospective relationships to externalizing behavior problems in their young sons. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 29, 91-106.
Rhee, S. H., & Waldman, I. D. (2002). Genetic and environmental influences on antisocial behavior: A meta-analysis of twin and adoption studies. Psychological Bulletin, 29, 490-529.


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