Juvenile delinquency refers to criminal activities done by a child mostly below 16 years of age for boys and 18 years for girls which violate the law such as rape, burglary, stealing, and prostitution, among others.
However, it’s the early stage gateway to adult crime due to the large percentage of criminal activities during the stages of childhood. Also, this causes juvenile delinquency which is usually found in every nook and cranny of society ranging from organisations, social groups/institutions, and interpersonal relations, among others.
Moreover, the family, as a learning and socialization environment, is a key protective factor in the development of children and adolescents. When the bond is weak, it is also regarded as a risk factor for juvenile delinquency.
Besides, the family is the basic socialization agency for the children. Children learn basic concepts about good and bad from their families, they make their values and set the norms of society. Family can make or break the personality of the children. In the family, the most important role is played by the parents and siblings. Thus, most of the adolescents who show delinquent behaviour in any form belong to families that could not give a firm foundation to the children.
Research has it that, a situation where parents are divorced or separated leaves the children in the family to themselves and prone to influence through peer pressure. When death or marital conflicts deprive children of affection, security, social opportunities, and physical necessities, they may turn to delinquent gangs for support. This indicated that broken homes have a greater influence on female than male delinquents. This is basically because the female gender requires and also attracts more attention.
Unarguably, a girl has both financial and emotional needs which when the parents are unable to meet leave them looking in the streets and may cause them to engage in illegal behavioural acts. This is the reason behind the rape and other forms of sexual harassment among girls.
On the other hand, boys are usually at a risk of drug intake which is mostly enforced by peer influence, pickpockets due to the unavailability of the basic needs of life, and street rape among other irregularities.
Notwithstanding, bad parenting practices, such as a lack of supervision, over-permissiveness, too much or too little strict discipline, a weak bond of affection, and the inability to set clear limits, represent significant risk factors for delinquency.
Therefore, parents should keep a very close eye on their children and try to make the children’s needs available even when they are separated. They should try to keep track of where they go, who they associate with as friends, and the kind of activities they carry out . This will go a long way in putting society at a lesser risk of harbouring young criminals and creating less room for greater crimes in the future.
Jalingo, Taraba state.