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Why do some children become criminals in later life?

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Why do some children become criminals in later life? Innocence used to be related to childhood; according to home office statistics in 1996 the UK witnessed 177,000 of youths aged 10-17 cautioned or convicted, which was a staggering 25% of the total amount for the UK. Juvenile delinquency is a worldwide complex issue where delinquency is the deviation of social morals and values in that particular society and the violation of criminal or 'youthful' codes. There are no definite answers to the causes and development of delinquency but there are numerous explanations that attempt to account for this. In this essay I intend to focus on three theories: Psychoanalytical, social-cognitive and behavioural, and finally suggest ways in which it could be prevented in the future. One of the main explanations is the behaviourist theory, Ivan Pavlov (1890) is renown for the learning theory, which adopts the extreme 'nurture' approach to explanations and denies the probability of any genetically characterised contributions, which forms the basis of this theory. Other psychologists have since developed the theory - Sutherland (1924) proposed the Differential Association Theory where delinquency can be explained through learning behaviour from other people, this supports current ongoing research into family and peer groups and child upbringing where McCord (1979) ...read more.


Which motivates the juvenile to imitate and repeat it in the future this suggests that juveniles who are exposed to criminal behaviour both through parental influences or even violent films at an early age would imitate it and repeat it in the future. One criticism of this is that for it to be solely on the environment and social observation it is weak, which is where the ' nature-nurture' debate is emphasised, Walmseley et al. (1992) suggests that genetics play an important part, he found that 1/3 of UK prisoners also had a family member in prison, which shows genetics and social environments are both important and the behaviourist psychologists don't consider, however much progress has been made in child behaviour from these findings. This leads to Social-Cognitive theories, which refers to the way people are thinking, Glueck and Glueck (1950) found that impulsive and concrete are typical styles of thinking for young offenders. Impulsive is the failure to learn; other characteristics include failure of effective thinking and lack of reflection. Which explains why young offenders have no remorse for there offences and can progress to become a criminal. ...read more.


Schooling and learning should be more controlled and fun for children, it would encourage them to go to school regularly and learn, consequently learning moral values and increasing their own intelligence, as low IQ's is associated with delinquency according to Hollin. Freud, who said that criminals "have manifesting disturbances of the ego", forwards other psychoanalytical theories. Which implies there be an imbalance between the ID-EGO-SUPEREGO, the ego being overdeveloped which resulted in repressed criminal instincts, which we all have at the first stage of development breaking through. This supports why some children become delinquents and some don't as some have this imbalance. Freud's theories are seen as outdated and old fashioned, as he never studied criminals. There are a multitude of factors that cause some children to develop into criminals; the three theories I have outlined are a select few. They all appear to suggest that influences from other people play a bit part in a child's life either through upbringing or just simple observation. Which shows that in order to effectively deal with the issues, social workers and other support groups need to focus more on helping family bonds and structure in stabilising a child's life and deter them from any potential criminality. ...read more.

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