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Determining the Role of Gender and Family in Juvenile Delinquency Patterns, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 970

Essay

Researchers have been long interested to know in what ways one’s gender affects his or her predisposition to commit crimes. For a long time, women were considered incapable to commit crimes for pleasure, or pure evilness and contextual explanations were always found whenever ‘the angel of the house’ turned out to be quite evil. Today, scientists have advanced in their theories but they do however consider that gender influences delinquency patterns, and so does one’s upbringing. Below, the manner in which gender and family influence delinquency patterns is analyzed.

Biological factors are first considered when trying to discover the reasons behind the differences between male and female delinquency rates. Scientists believe that female aggressiveness is somewhat related to sexuality and female reproductive system, but also to hormones, while masculine aggression is natural. This relation is not direct, as it was considered in the past, but rather, it is mediated by social factors. Girls who reach puberty too soon are more likely to become involved in illicit activities due to their older boyfriends, while women who have their PMS are likely to be more aggressive. Also, researchers today do believe that women who are born with too many male hormones are more likely to become aggressive. On the other hand, biologists found that masculine aggression is a natural trait that increased males’ chances to reproduce. In what contemporary psychological reasons are concerned, specialists believe that certain psychiatric disorders do influence females to commit violent acts so psychological factors as a way of differentiating male and female delinquency patterns are not excluded.

Socialization factors are also considered important by specialists when trying o assesses the reasons for the differences between male and female delinquency rates. Women are traditionally raised to be pacifist, and to solve problems by communication, whereas boys are encouraged to fight back when attacked and to behave aggressively. Children games alone are a proof in this regard: girls’ tea party and boys’ shooting games are a simple example of these differences. Girls also are supervised more closely, are expected to come home earlier and to drink less and have nicer friends. Boys’ transgressions are tolerated more than girls, which is summarized by the expression “boys will be boys”. On the other hand, feminist views consider that it is only due to the fact that women have reached the same status in the society s men that the female delinquency rates have increased and that women and men are influenced by the same factors as men to become criminals.

One influence that is shared by both males and females is that of the family. With the increasing rates of divorces and unstable home environment, children who become delinquents as a direct result of having had only one parent, are increasing. Usually, the one who disappears from the lives of children are the fathers, whereas the mother, who becomes sole bread-winner and disciplinarian, is unable to impose strict control upon the children, particularly if they are boys. In what girls are concerned, the conflict between parents after divorce is very hard to cope with, whereas not having a competent mother also affects their behavior.

Also, other family problems have been reported to cause youngsters to misbehave. Children who experience family conflict are affected by it to a great extent and growing up in a hostile environment predisposes children to become offenders in their youth. Having a good family life, with responsible parents that establish a close and warm relationship with their children, but also control their actions, supervise and discipline them according to their needs decreases the chances of children misbehaving.

Finally, child abuse is an extremely important factor which has been proved to affect the delinquency rates of both boys and girls. Physical punishments are still widely accepted in the society, even though their negative impact on children is demonstrated. Other forms of abuse are sexual and emotional. Abused children re traumatized for long periods of time and particularly in the case of sexual abuse, the psychological effects are devastating. Some of the children who experience abuse in the family will abuse their own children, or unrelated individuals as adults. Studies also showed that children from families with low income, poor education, of divorced parents and with a history of drug abuse are more likely to become victims of child abuse. Therefore, the same lack of stability that encourages children to transgress also encourages parents to transgress and this creates a vicious circle.

The juvenile justice system is likely to treat females differently than males, and women are often disadvantaged, and even victimized by agents of the justice system. Studies showed in this regard that girls are more likely to be treated unfairly by the police when they are guilty of illegal sexual activity than boys. Not only is their punishment harsher, but they are also more likely to be sent to jail than boys for the same offenses. Their harsh treatment in the case of immoral activities and sexual transgression is based on stereotypical beliefs in regards feminine sexuality and the norms of feminine behavior. Because girls are expected to behave better and preserve their chastity, they are punished more severely when they transgressed. The justice system is concerned with punishing them more than with discovering what caused them to transgress.

On the other hand, as soon as they enter correctional facilities, girls receive poorer services than boys and benefit from less readjustment programs then boys. Since there are much more male delinquents, the majority of resources are directed towards them, whereas female offenders are left with fewer resources and less space. Therefore, females have no benefit from being a female once they enter the juvenile justice system. On the contrary, they are not treated fairly and are often the victims of a patriarchal, stereotyping and traditional system that still discriminates between male and female offenders.

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