Causes of Juvenile Delinquency. The Impact of parental Attitudes and educational Practices


Bachelor Thesis, 2019

35 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Excerpt

INDEX

I. INTRODUCTION
A. DEDUCTION OF THE PROBLEM
B. PREVIOUS RESEARCH
C. FORMULATION OF THE RESEARCH QUESTION & METHODOLOGY

II. THEORETICAL PART
A. DEFINITIONS
1. (JUVENILE-) DELINQUENCY
B. ANAPPROACH TO EXPLAIN JUVENILE DELINQUENCY
1. SOCIALIZATION THEORETICAL APPROACH
2. LEARNING THEORY ACCORDING TO BANDURA
3. BINDING THEORY ACCORDING TO SPANGLER & ZIMMERMANN
4. CRITICAL APPRECIATION
C. HYPOTHESES

III. EMPIRICAL FINDINGS
A. DEVELOPMENT OF THE FACTUAL ( PHYSICAL ) VIOLENCE
1. PRESENTATION OF THE STUDY BY PETER WETZEL (1997)
2. PRESENTATION OF THE STUDY KFN - STUDENT SURVEY (1998)
3. PRESENTATION OF THE STUDY DIRK BAIERS' ET AL. (2009)
B. DEVELOPMENT OF ATTITUDES TOWARDS PARENT - CHILD VIOLENCE
1. PRESENTATION OF THE STUDY BY KAI D. BUSSMANN (1996 & 2001)
2. PRESENTATION OF THE STUDY BY PLENER ET AL. (2016)
C. DEVELOPMENT OF THE JUVENILE DELINQUENCY OF VIOLENCE
1. RESULTS OF THE STUDY BY THE PKS AND THE KFN SCHOOL SURVEY (2018)
D. PRELIMINARY SUMMARY
E. VIOLENT DELINQUENCY - A UNI - OR MULTIVARIABLE PHENOMENON?

IV. CONCLUSION

V. LITERATURE INDEX

VI. INDEPENDENCE DECLARATION

I. Introduction

A. Deduction of the problem

„Because children, like other human beings, are not only good, they cannot simply be left to their own devices, untouched by society, and bloom into perfection“1

Since 1954, World Children's Day has been celebrated every year on 20 September. This serves to draw attention to the special needs of children. However, children are not only special, Thomas Hobbes' Menschenbild2 also uses the term egoistically as an appropriate description. Children enter this world and insist on making their wishes come true without taking their fellow human beings into consideration. Just think of the example of a crying toddler who is not allowed to watch TV or does not get his parents' smartphone or tablet. In practically every civilized society, this behavior is initially regarded as normal. However, this changes when the child grows older and does not make his or her behaviour socially acceptable. For this reason, parents in particular are called upon to teach their child prosocial behaviour as the primary socialisation instance.

"The man whom education must realize in us is not the man whom nature has made, but the man as society wants him to be, and society wants him as its inner economy needs him to be.” (Durkheim 1903, p.44)

This highlights the importance of a healthy upbringing and the associated learning of social skills at the individual level in the form of interpersonal interaction. Such an education also has an indirect effect on the societal level, with institutions such as kindergartens and schools now also having a secondary role alongside parents. socialization instances play a formative role. As a rule, this ensures that children and adolescents are steered in the right direction and behave in accordance with society.

However, not every young person is brought up well or healthily and this can have extensive consequences. Perhaps the worst consequence could be that they do not accept prosocial attitudes and values. Prosocial behaviour is desired by society and is in line with social and legal norms. Conversely, this leads to the assumption that antisocial behaviour could increase the likelihood of delinquent behaviour. Émile Durkheim regards delinquent behaviour as normal, since in the case of violations of norms by single individuals, depending on their severity, society reacts with envy or punishment. This in turn leads to a stronger solidarity between the members of a society and can therefore also be regarded as functional (cf. Durkheim 1984). Supporters of this view are accordingly of the opinion that delinquent behaviour is not necessarily in need of explanation.

Fortunately, sociology is a scientific discipline that makes it possible to look at empirical facts from several perspectives, and although Durkheim's argumentation sounds promising and logical, I do not share this view. Delinquent behaviour can have fatal consequences which can have extremely negative effects within society. This in turn leads to the question of which factors are responsible for criminal behaviour (among young people). Various areas of research are dealing with this question. Usually delinquency or crime is considered from a criminological perspective since it is an interdisciplinary field of research that is made up of various scientific disciplines (law, sociology, psychology, biology, etc.) and usually serves optimally to explain deviant behavior. This elaboration is also influenced by criminology. It should be noted, however, that due to the special nature of the question, sociological arguments are mainly used and only isolated findings from other disciplines are added.

B. Previous research

In the public scientific discussion it is often assumed that family socialization, the respective parenting style of the parents and the associated conditions within a family have a formative influence on the development of young people. This influence is also seen as a risk factor for the likelihood of delinquent behaviour (cf. Meinert 2016, p.133; Boers & Pöge 2003; Naplava 2011). Parental parenting style is often denounced (cf. Horn 1996), as it is considered that the family has a formative influence on the emergence and development of juvenile delinquency. The criminological branch of research increasingly cites in particular intra-family violence and abuse of one's own children (cf. Wetzels et al. 2001). It is assumed that the use of violence by parents leads to increasing damage to the emotional parent-child relationship. This in turn should lead to the emotional, cognitive and social development of the child being damaged (cf. Thomas et al. 1998), which manifests itself in the later course of life in the form of delinquent behaviour on the part of the adolescents.

These assumptions will be examined in my study, where I explicitly address the relationship between parental upbringing behavior and the likelihood of delinquency.

C. Formulation of the research question & methodology

Now that the reader has been roughly informed about the background and the problems of this elaboration, the research question is formulated in this section, the goal of the work is named and the procedure is explained.

In general, I would like to deal with the causes of violent, delinquent behaviour in adolescents. However, since this topic is extremely complex and multiple factors can be used to explain it, I will deal specifically with the connection between the family and juvenile violent crime. Accordingly, the following research question will be pursued in the following:

What impact do parental attitudes and educational practices have on the development of violent delinquency in adolescents?

The object of the analysis is therefore the juvenile delinquency of violence, with Germany serving as the geographical reference unit. In this paper, relevant terms are first determined and defined. Subsequently, theoretical approaches to explain delinquent behaviour in adolescents are presented in order to derive certain hypotheses.

Then the question will be investigated whether and to what extent empirical studies provide evidence for the theories. To this end, various coherent dark-field studies will be presented that describe the change in parental attitudes and educational practices over a period of about thirty years. In addition, the development of juvenile delinquency is briefly outlined using police crime statistics (PKS) over a similar period. The purpose of this long-term analysis is therefore first to examine whether there is a connection between the potentially explanatory variables "parental upbringing practices", "parental attitudes" and the variable "youth delinquency" to be explained.

Subsequently, a study will be presented which compares the above-mentioned influencing factors with other possible factors in order to clarify the explanatory power of the explanantia considered and discussed here . This work will conclude with a short summary, a critical reflection of the topic and the answer to the main investigation question. It should be noted that normally other variables can also be subsumed under the term "family". However, these are not dealt with here, since the author assumes that parental upbringing practices and attitudes play a decisive role.

II. Theoretical part

A. Definitions

It has already been mentioned in the previous chapter of the analysis that important terms for this work are defined from the outset. From the author's point of view, this seems to be indispensable, since terms such as "crime", "delinquency", "deviance", etc. are likely to evoke similar associations among many readers. In fact, they are very similar. However, this essay would not do justice to the claim of a scientific work if fundamental terms were not specified from the outset in order to prevent misunderstandings.

In order to keep the roten Faden, this section will be kept as short as possible, so that there will be no deeper critical discussion of the individual terms. The primary focus is on the derivation of the term "juvenile delinquency".

1. (Juvenile-) Delinquency

Delinquency in the original sense means wrongdoing, but there is no agreement in the literature on a common definition. In the American linguistic area, the term encompasses any type of act that contravenes public order. It is irrelevant whether the conduct is punishable by law or not (cf. Kühne 1989, p.117). In German-speaking countries such actions are not referred to as delinquency. Instead, the term deviance is used. Here the term delinquency is used when the criminal law is violated. The term is therefore more of a legal term here and is correspondingly narrower. Both views have advantages and disadvantages but these are not continued here. It is important to note, however, that the usual German definition is used for the further course of the elaboration.

Now one could argue that delinquency does not differ from crime and is therefore superfluous. In fact, both terms refer to acts that are punishable by law. However, there is a subtle difference. Delinquency occurs when a person does not appear to violate laws more than once3. Criminals are the ones who they repeatedly commit crimes. This means that delinquent behaviour leads to crime as soon as a person comes into conflict with the law more than once. One could also speak of a precursor of crime This work is primarily about young people. From a legal perspective, this term covers persons who are between 14 and 18 years old (§ 1 Paragraph 2 Halbs. 1 JGG4 ). This definition is adopted as far as possible with the small addition that also adolescents who have not yet reached the age of 21 are included. This should increase the significance of the findings to be worked out here.

Juvenile delinquency is thus understood to mean all persons who are between 14 and 21 years old and who have at least once performed an act punishable by law.

B. An approach to explain juvenile delinquency

There is a wealth of theoretical approaches that describe and explain the phenomenon to be explained. One could, for example, look at this phenomenon from the personality-oriented perspective (cf. Steele & Pollock 1978) or sociostructural perspective (cf. Gil 1975; Gil 1979). However, the approach for this investigation is different

1. Socialization theoretical approach

From the point of view of socialization theory, it is claimed that reality is actively captured and processed. This means that at the individual level the outer world is processed by certain mechanisms, resulting in either conformal or non-conformal behavior. It is assumed that non-conformity arises when insufficient coping strategies or social support potentials (e.g. parents) are available. Here delinquent behaviour is seen as the result of a problematic processing of reality (cf. Hurrelmann 1994).

Such an approach now serves as a basis for the following theories, since it is assumed that inadequate socialization must above all be viewed from the point of view of binding and learning theory, in order to explain the cause-and-effect relationship accurately.

Since this paper will generally examine the relationship between the family and delinquency of violence in juveniles, only approaches that identify the family ( or member of a family) as a direct or indirect cause are cited here. In particular, the question is addressed why and to what extent parental attitudes and/or educational practices could lead to violent delinquency in young people. Here, learning & binding - theoretical approaches are particularly suitable, the basic ideas of which are now explained in the following. Individual hypotheses are then derived from these theories.

2. Learning theory according to Bandura

In scientific discourse, Albert Bandura's social-cognitive learning theory is still frequently used as a model for explaining aggression and violence (Bandura 1979). The basic assumption is that much of an individual's action is learned through observation, cognitive processing, and imitation. In our case, it means that children and adolescents must either have seen or experienced violence in order to be more vulnerable to it later.

Media influence has long been considered a risk factor of great importance. Since the 1990s, people have become more attentive in this respect, as since then they no longer use media influences only to explain violence amongst children and young people (Kammerer 1993). Rather, the view that parents are regarded as models for violent behaviour - especially in the case of more extreme forms of violence - is now increasingly adopted.

Bandura also believes that it is extremely relevant to have a model that is accepted. This view stems from the assumption that parental behaviors - parents as close caregivers - that inflict injuries on children, multiply the likelihood of children themselves becoming violent. One also speaks here of the so-called cycle of violence.

This assumption is confirmed by Hilpert & Eckert (1996). Here, too, the authors are of the opinion that acts of violence in young people tend to be based on experience and the associated learning of certain patterns.

In this respect, it is also important that a functional value is attached to the experienced behaviour. In an environment marked by violence, children and adolescents increasingly learn that aggressive behaviour in the form of violence is an extremely promising practice - perhaps even the only method - for asserting and securing their own interests. Accordingly, violence is subjectively seen on an individual level as an adequate way of coping with life, resolving conflicts and asserting one's interests.

3. Binding theory according to Spangler & Zimmermann

This socio-psychological approach is also based on the assumption that interindividual differences with regard to cognitive, social and affective characteristics arise mainly from the social experiences and insights of the child (cf. Spangler & Zimmermann 1995). Heitmeyer et al. (1995) show that young people who were victims of violence in their childhood tend to tolerate violence themselves. From the perspective of the theory of attachment, it is argued that a lack of emotional attachment between the parents and the child represents a risk factor for juvenile delinquency (cf. Langner & Sturzbecher 1997; Raithel 2002). Thus, deficits in socialisation - which arise from parental violence - can lead to certain situations being interpreted in a hostile way.

4. Critical appreciation

The approaches listed here have their raison d'être, as they can present logically conclusive arguments and well describe the phenomenon of the vicious circle of violence.

Nevertheless, it gives the impression that the approaches are rather deterministic. As a result, one sees a direct connection between the experience of violence and one's own use of violence, which leads to the view that experienced violence leads to one's own acts of violence. This assumption is not supported here; rather, I assume that the experience of violence merely increases the probability that one will later become violent oneself. Other risk factors must be taken into account in such a comprehensive phenomenon in order to fully explain it.

C. Hypotheses

Based on the above theoretical findings, the main hypothesis is derived as follows:

If an individual has fallen victim to physical violence by their parents during childhood, then the likelihood of the child becoming violent later in life increases.

The further course of this work is based on this assertion. Accordingly, the long-term analysis first examines how parental parenting practices and attitudes have developed over the last 30 years. It is believed that the use of physical violence within the parent-child relationship has declined.

It then examines how violent delinquency rates among juveniles have developed over the past 25 years. The sub hypothesis here is that violence delinquency rates among adolescents have also experienced a steady decline.

The influence of the variables studied is then examined. It is claimed that explanantia are a risk factor for later violent tendencies in adolescents. However, the explanatory power is not sufficient to fully explain the phenomenon.

III. Empirical findings

This chapter is given the greatest importance in the study, as it is intended to make it possible to answer the research question. First, it is analysed whether and to what extent parental attitudes and educational practices have developed over the decades. The indicators for this are, on the one hand, the phenomenon of parental violence against children and, on the other hand, studies on the development of attitudes towards child upbringing. It then examines how crime rates among young people have developed over the same period. To this end, different studies will be presented that build on each other. The aim is to ensure the comparability of the individual studies in order to enable a retrospective examination of the developments.

The spatial reference is limited to Germany, but a period of almost 30 years is considered more intensively. This should serve as a sufficient foundation. Finally, it is analysed how strong the supposed relationship between the two variables can be. To this end, the influencing factors will be set in relation to other possible factors in order to filter out the explanatory power of the variables discussed here.

A. Development of the factual (physical) violence

Until the 1960s, fundamental, representative studies of parent-child violence were rather rare. In Germany, however, this issue experienced an upswing from the 1990s onwards. Nevertheless, brightfield data (according to my research) are not available, therefore studies are presented here, which were carried out for the purpose of brightening the darkfield. For a better understanding, two retrospective prevalence studies will be briefly discussed first, which are partly followed up by the actual study by Peter Wetzel (1997). In 1985, the Munich Youth Institute conducted a representative survey of 2600 people aged 16-69 (election 1990). And even if severe physical abuse was not recorded, the results are shocking from today's point of view. Nearly 50% of those questioned stated that they had used physical violence (blows or slaps) against their children at least once. Lighter acts of violence (slapping or light shaking) were reported by 75% of the parents. Since the survey took place before the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is unclear whether this study is representative for the whole of Germany.

[...]


1 Quote from the book "12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos" by Jordan B. Peterson (p.120).

2 Representatives of Thomas Hobbes' conception of man are of the opinion that human action is driven by self-interest, which stems from the instinct of self-preservation.

3 https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delinquent

4 Jugendgerichtsgesetz

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Details

Title
Causes of Juvenile Delinquency. The Impact of parental Attitudes and educational Practices
College
University of Tubingen  (Soziologie)
Grade
1,7
Author
Year
2019
Pages
35
Catalog Number
V950894
ISBN (eBook)
9783346293695
ISBN (Book)
9783346293701
Language
English
Tags
Delinquency, Delinquenz, Ursachen, Jugend, Jugendlich, Juvenile, education, parental, elterliche, Erziehung, Entwicklung, Werte, Attitudes, sociology, Soziologie, Criminology, Kriminologie, Einfluss, Learningtheory, Bandura, Lerntheorie, Gewalt, Violence, PKS, KFN, Theorie, Empirie, Durkheim, Causes
Quote paper
A. Siddiqui (Author), 2019, Causes of Juvenile Delinquency. The Impact of parental Attitudes and educational Practices, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/950894

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