Juvenile Delinquency essay


Parentsshould be punished for their children’s delinquencies

Juveniledelinquency is a violation of the law committed by a minor (usuallybetween ages 10 and 18). With all of the growing technology in oursociety today, parents and parental guardians are becoming detachedfrom their children. As a result, children under the age of 18 arebeing caught on the wrong side of the law because parents are notfulfilling their jobs to guide their children and teach them rightfrom wrong. Furthermore, children under the age of eighteen areusually in an education program, thus putting other kids at harm whenthese crimes are committed by children who lack the proper upbringingfrom their parents. Things would dramatically change for the betterif parents were held equally responsible for delinquent activitiescommitted by their juveniles. A few reasons why there should beparental punishment for children’s delinquencies are that parentsare responsible for their children until they’re eighteen years ofage, parents would more carefully and thoughtfully raise theirchildren if there were punishments involved and crime rates woulddiminish.

Delinquencyin children is commonly brought about by family breakups, conflict oreven deviances (Siegel &amp Welsh, 186). The book by Siegel &ampWelsh (2013), discusses in detail the role of parents in theupbringing of their children and their contribution to delinquentbehavior. According to the authors, parents are supposed to instilldiscipline in their children from the initial stages of childhood.The discipline instilled should be able to make them better teenagersand adults as they grow up without getting into delinquent behavior.The authors agree with the action, of parents being punished for thebehavior of their children. They justify this with the argument, ifparents took the responsibility to raise their children better, theywould not have engaged in crime or other socially and legallyunethical behaviors. There is also the aspect of parents failing todiscipline the children from the start, and hence, they grow upwithout differentiating right from wrong and then end up being on thewrong side of the law. Children cannot simply be regarded as havingbad behavior without the parents having played a role in it directlyor indirectly. Factors such as poverty and neighborhoods have beenmentioned by the authors to contribute to children engaging inlegally and morally incorrect actions. However, these factors areminimal compared to the role of parents.

Parentsmay have a complex relationship with their children but they alwaysremain to be responsible for them, and this includes their actions aswell. According to the authors, when a parent is punished for thebehavior of their children, they tend to pay closer attention totheir actions and their discipline (Siegel &amp Welsh, 192). Thisacts as a way to avoid future punishments by the laws.

Thejournal article by Geis and Binder (309) supports the topic in thediscussion on parents being punished for the actions of theirchildren specifically about crime. The article points out the laws inthe United States as well as in England that punish parents for theirdelinquent children (Geis &amp Binder 309). The punishments, in thiscase, range from financial limitations and fines to serving jail termin some cases. The argument for the support of parents being punishedis that children that are legally underage are the responsibility ofthe parents. They should be responsible not only for providing basicneeds but also for their discipline as well. When these children,therefore, engage in crime, it is an indication that their parentshave neglected their responsibility of being parents. By punishingthem, they hope to end the delinquent behavior or at least reduce thestatistics.

Theparent is supposed to guide the child and take care of them to avoidbeing entangled on the wrong side of the law. Therefore, it is theresponsible of the parent to ensure that their kids do not break thelaw. Some parents may disagree with this argument for one reason oranother. They may claim that sometimes they lack the time to look outfor their children due to work or their busy schedule. They thinkthat they should not be held responsible in case their child commitsa crime. Others claim that they did not take part in the crimecommitted by their children. They defend themselves by claiming thatthey could only be liable when found guilty of participating in thedelinquency acts together with their children (S 28). However, thesejustifications are not enough to hold them not accountable.

Parentsare always the first people to be answerable as a result of anycriminal act done by their children. Since they decided to want achild, they should be ready to exercise a parental role to theirkids. They take care of almost all the needs of their childrenincluding the necessary wants. Hence, in the case of any law brokenby the child, they should be answerable and punished by the law iffound guilty. A good parent always guides and advice their childrenin making the right choices and decisions in life. They teach themwhat is good and evil so that the child can identify the right thingsto follow and avoid the bad deeds. It helps them to follow the lawand avoid making offenses.

Althoughfinancial constraints and marital conflicts contribute toirresponsible parents, that doesn’t hold them unaccountable to thedelinquency acts of their children. As long as they are legallyrecognized as parents to the kids, they are punishable by the law.The law regards that parents are the main influence on the actions oftheir children compared to other people or factors. Peer pressurealso plays a role in controlling the child’s behavior, but it isupon the parents to guide their children in making informeddecisions. In spite of the peer influence, as long as the child isguided properly by their parents, the chances of committing crimebecome rare (Ryan 86).

Mostviolent crimes that are reported nowadays are claimed to be committedby juveniles. In the United States, the number of such offensesincreases annually. Most teenagers are involved in the main violentcrimes compared to adults of the age twenty-five. The property crimesthat are reported are committed by one-third of the juvenileoffenders. Therefore, such youth behavior involving property crimeand status offenses holds parents legally accountable for the actionsof their kids (Matt 63).

Itis essential for parents to build a good relationship with theirchildren. Due to the advancement of technology, we live in a societywhereby our exposure to technology has transformed our culture. Ithas carried along positive and negative impacts on the society. Amongthe negative impacts, is that the new culture has promoted youthcrimes. The producers of video games and movies have influenced theyoung people in promoting violence in some way. Movies with violentscenes have greatly affected the younger generation (Marvin 26). Theyhave contributed to the abuse of drugs and alcohol by the youth whichhas led to the rise of deliquescent behaviors. Therefore, it is therole of the parents to ensure that their children are not caught upin these brutal crimes. Maintaining good relations with their kidswould enable parents to study and identify unusual behaviors of theirchildren. Proper guidance by the parents can assist children inavoiding forming bad habits. The strategy helps parents to avoidbeing punishable by the law.

Childrensometimes can be accountable for their own actions. However, theyonly become accountable to their parents and not the law. Parentsshould always be close to their children to guide them to the rightpath. Since the children may not be capable of being morallyresponsible for some undertakings, they should consult their parents(Marvin 34). The society has pressures that the children may fail tobear with and needs the presence of caretakers to guide them.Therefore, when parents neglect their duty to watch out for theirkids, they may end up being involved in violent acts that are againstthe law. Although the parents did not commit such offenses, whichevertheir children committed crimes would be answerable to them.

Itis recognized by the law that parents have the right andresponsibility to rear their children with minimal interference bythe government. The state only stipulates that it is mandatory forthe parents to take their children to school to seek education. It isbecause education is one of the basic needs of a person in life(Marvin 57). Besides, the state also holds the parents or the legalguardians as legally responsible for criminal acts of the minors ofwhich they are in charge. The law takes into assumption that thecrimes committed by the juveniles are due to the fact the parentshave failed to administer proper control and oversight. Parents orguardians would be punishable by the law when charged guilty. Thelaws hold the parents criminally liable because they have notexercised their parental duty to guide their children from breakingthe law.

Thepunishment to the parents by the law varies from place to place. Inmost jurisdictions that have the parental responsibility laws, anyviolation of the law that proclaims one guilty as charged leads toone year in prison and a fine of a particular range. For the parentswho are sentenced to prison, they are supposed to enroll in aneducational program. It is intended to teach such parents theparental skills through training. The educational program ismandatory for the parents who have been jailed for their children’sconduct (S 50).

Inconclusion, juvenile delinquency has resulted in the punishment tothe parents for their negligence as the care providers. They areaccountable for failing to observe their duties and responsibility asparents in taking care of their children.


Marvin, Wolfgang. Deliquency in a Birth Cohort. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Print.

Matt, DeLsi. Career Criminals in Society. United Kingdom: Sage Publications, 2005. Print.

Ryan, G. Juvenile Sexual Offending: Causes consequences and correction. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass, 2006. Print.

S, Righthand. &quotCharacteristics of yoth who seually offend.&quot Journal of Child Sexual Abuse (2004): 15-32. Print.

Geis,Gilbert &amp Arnold Binder. Sins of Their Children: ParentalResponsibility for Juvenile Delinquency. Notre Dame Journal of Law,Ethics &amp Public Policy 5.2 (2012): 303- 322. Web 28 January 2016.

Siegel,Larry &amp Brandon Welsh. : The Core. New York:Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.