Research Paper – Juvenile


The purpose of this research is to examine and determine the level of delinquency among children, who grow up in dysfunctional families. It will also focus on their level of education, moral, as well as if their parents are providing sufficient care. In addition, this study will also try to relate juvenile delinquencies with family violence, parental partner dynamics, family financial status and effect of drug abuse among parents on their children. This paper will prove that majority of the juvenile delinquencies are committed by children who come from families that are violent, poor financial status, where parents abuse drug and alcohol, and from families where the parents lack proper parenting skills. In addition, this paper will also prove that children from single parenting are more likely to engage in crime than those from intact families, because they lack one person in their lives who is supposed to be their pillar.


Juvenile delinquency usually refers to the word given to youngsters who are yet to attain adult age; this is according to court of law.  Additionally, delinquency can be well-defined as engaging in unlawful actions as per the laws of a country. Thus, juvenile delinquency means any crime done by a minor. Many researches have proven that juvenile delinquency is more rampant among minors living in difficult economic and social conditions.  They mainly suggest that the origin of the behavior is from families which are the first agent of socialization. In addition, many researches show that the leading stressor to minors include; having parents with criminal records, semi-skilled or jobless parents, illiteracy, minors under children protection, demise of the head of the family, as well as living with parents who abuse drugs.  This paper will deal mainly with effects of dysfunctional family structures on children development that lead them to committing crimes due to nonexistence of good role models(Feld & Bishop,2012).

Juvenile delinquents is commonly evidenced in dysfunctional families

Children who grow up witnessing violence incidences among their guardians or parents, in most cases grow up tortured because most of their needs are not catered for in every stage of their childhood development.  Additionally, violence can also lead to parenting inconsistency. Children from violent backgrounds can grow up thinking and practicing their parents’ abusive ways either physically or verbally as a strategy of resolving conflicts.  For example, boys who grow up witnessing violence from their fathers are likely to turn out to be violent spouses when they grow up(Gideon, 2013). Another factor that leads to juvenile delinquency is substance abuse and alcoholism among parents.  Children grow up mimicking what they see in their surrounding thus they may end up being drugs and alcohol addicts. Moreover, children from abusive families try to escape from reality through abusing drugs; however, the effects of drugs lead them to committing crimes.

In addition, family composition is frequently associated with juvenile delinquency.  Children who grow up in homes with just one parent or where marital relationships does not exist either because of separation or divorce are most likely to depict behavioral problems such as delinquency.  This type of behavior is not displayed by children who grew up in a family with two parents. In addition, delinquency is experienced in disrupted families as a result of pre-existing dissimilarities in child rearing methods and family income(Gideon, 2013). Lastly, two parents provide increased surveillance of property and supervision, while single parenting increases chances of delinquency simply because one person is not available to monitor children behavior. 

Children who grow up with cohabiting parents greatly depict juvenile delinquency than those who grow up in intact families with both biological parents. Furthermore, children living with step-parents who are cohabiting in most cases fare worse than those living with both biological parents. In fact, children living with unmarried mothers usually depict same level of delinquency and well-being with those growing up with cohabiting step-parents. Also research proves that, children who grow up with a single father depict greater delinquency signs than those children who grow up with a single mother.  In conclusion, children from families with a single parent depict high juvenile delinquency signs, compared to those from intact families (Siegel & Welsh, 2016).

Functionalism is hindered by poor socio-economic upbringing

Family status is among the core factors that contribute greatly to juvenile delinquency.  In most cases, children’s behaviors are as the product of their families’ economic status.  Additionally, family income leads to juvenile delinquency either directly or indirectly through formation of attitudes and parental upbringing (SIEGEL, 2017).  

Children from lower class or poor families are involved in criminal activities at a higher percentage than those brought up in middle class families. The middle class is associated with being stable economically, while low class is associated with being unstable economically. The high ratio of juvenile delinquency associated with children brought up in poor families can be viewed from various dimensions.  First, economically unstable parents cannot fully satisfy their children’s basic needs, thus children become prone to depression and stress. In most cases, minors in such situations end up losing self-control thus they commit crime. Secondly, children from families with low income have a high possibility of lacking quality education.  This may lead to school drop-outs, thus increase of idleness and this may tempt the juveniles to participate in various types of criminal activities (Siegel & Welsh, 2016). While, children from middle class families are provided all their basic needs, especially education thus reducing chances of being idle. Also, poor families are likely to improvise harsh displinary methods on their teenagers’ thus cultivating aggression. This may lead to violence delinquencies among the minors. Lastly, if poor families are living in the same geographical area mainly in urban slams their children are most likely to commit crimes which are associated with areas that are poverty stricken. 

Moreover, apart from violence and alcoholism in the family, parents who lack proper skills in parenting may lead to juvenile delinquency.  This is greatly influenced by the fact that children lack good role models to emulate as they grow up. Parents are the source of moral character in families and when they do not deliver as expected children are left with the freedom of doing what they think is right (SIEGEL, 2017).

Cycle of a dysfunctional family

A common misperception concerning dysfunctional families is that people believe that the couple is almost divorcing or separating.  In most cases, this is usually true but marriage is a strong bond that does not break easily. Some of the factors that can lead to dysfunction families include; unemployment, relocation, violence, drug abuse, mental or physical illness. All these factors can cause conflicts among the parents thus affecting the development of their children. Features of dysfunctional family includes; lack of empathy, inadequate boundaries for self, denial, disrespect, unequal treatment among the children by their parents and extremes conflicts(Rawlings, 2015).


Based on the discussion above, family structure greatly influences juvenile delinquency. In other words, family structures have contributed greatly in one way or the other in the occurrence of children delinquencies. Thus, for us to be control juvenile delinquencies we should pay attention to family structures. Some behavior depicted by parents such as; violence, alcoholism and poor parenting methods usually fuels juvenile delinquency.  Therefore, parents should try to depict good behavior so as to avoid demoralizing their children, as well as show them the best way to handle domestic problems so that they can grow up to be reasonable and responsible adults.  In addition, parents should also seek help from social workers so as to know how to prevent their children from being involved in crime especially when they are of low financial class.


Feld, B. C., & Bishop, D. M. (2012). The Oxford handbook of juvenile crime and juvenile justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gideon, L. (2013). Special needs offenders in correctional institutions. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Rawlings, T. C. (2015). Georgia child welfare and juvenile justice: Policy, practice and procedure.

Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2016). Juvenile Delinquency. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

SIEGEL, L. A. R. R. Y. J. (2017). JUVENILE DELINQUENCY: Theory, practice, and law. Place of publication not identified: WADSWORTH.