While the teenage years are a time for self-discovery and risk-taking, there is a fine line between natural teenaged rebellion and destructive behavior.
There are many reasons juveniles resort to criminal activity, but because of specific cultural, economic and socioeconomic factors, some young people are more likely to offend than others. The four categories of risk include:
Brain development research suggests that stress regulation begins in utero and continues to form through 33 months of age. If not addressed early, low cognitive development, antisocial behavior, hyperactivity or emotional health challenges can contribute to poor impulse control.
There is a solid link between childhood neglect and criminal juvenile delinquency. The following environmental factors, without careful intervention, can cause teens and adolescents to spiral emotionally and behaviorally.
- Parental mental illness
3. School and community
If it takes a village to raise a child, the quality of a community impacts the polish of an individual. Growing up in disadvantaged or disorganized neighborhoods where there is easy access to drugs and weapons increases an adolescent’s likelihood of participating in violent gang activity.
During the pre-teen years, peer groups have a significant influence. Association with deviant groups can lead to criminal behavior, arrest and incarceration.
In areas where these factors overlap, the risk of juveniles committing crimes increases significantly. Therefore, it is essential for parents to understand the risks, recognize the signs of maladaptive behavior in adolescents and have a plan to intervene when necessary.