The behavior disorder of a young man is sometimes directed not only against other people, against work and one’s own position in the human community, but also against the general norms of social life, against the basic principles of morality and the rules of interpersonal relations.
When a child or young person comes into conflict with the requirements of family life, schooling or vocation, it is easily possible that they will also conflict with the legal regulations of the social community in which they live. He then becomes a juvenile offender.
Legal and Psychological Perspectives on Juvenile Delinquency
In which case it will become depends on the legal regulations of the community. That is why the American author says that juvenile delinquency is what the laws say it is.
Our legislation considers a juvenile offender (delinquent) to be a person over the age of 14 and under the age of 18, and has committed something that the law considers a criminal offense. These are most often these offenses: theft of various categories, from petty to aggravated, then motor vehicle service and minor or serious bodily injuries, all the way to murder.
Offenses such as robbery, rape, damage to someone else’s property and the like are less common among juvenile delinquents.
From a psychological-psychiatric point of view, the concept of child and juvenile delinquency should be understood much more broadly than it is understood by legal regulations.
Pre-Delinquent Behavior: Early Warning Signs of Juvenile Delinquency
Many of these crimes are also committed by children in the legal sense, ie persons under the age of 14. In addition, both children and young people often behave in a way that is close to delinquency and inevitably leads to it, although it is not yet.
It is stealing from parents, stealing various family property items, avoiding school, running away from home, vagrancy and prostitution. Such behavior, which according to our legal regulations cannot yet be called delinquent, although it is identical with it or close to it in terms of its motives and tendency to develop a young personality, we call it pre-delinquent behavior.
Factors Contributing to Juvenile Delinquency: Urbanization, Personality, and Education
It is a well-known fact that juvenile delinquency – including delinquent and pre-delinquent behavior – is growing year by year along with industrialization and urbanization in all highly civilized countries. There are probably very many different factors in the organization and lifestyle of big cities that lead young people to delinquency.
All these factors are not yet sufficiently known. However, it should not be forgotten that a relatively small number of young people embark on the path of delinquency. Therefore, the reasons for their rough deviation from the rut of socially acceptable governance should not be sought primarily in the mentality of the big city, but in the structure of their personalities, ie in the educational environment that influences their formation.
The metropolitan area is only a pathoplastic factor in the appearance of a juvenile delinquent, ie it gives a certain form to the negative reaction of a young man, but it does not cause it.
A child running away from home, a young man stealing cars, or a girl indulging in prostitution might not behave that way living in a countryside or in a small town. Only the big city gives them a chance. But that does not mean that the same personalities of juvenile delinquents are not formed in the rural or provincial environment.
The only difference is that their sick motivations are manifested in another way, perhaps no less negative than in young delinquents.
The Role of Family Background and Upbringing in Juvenile Delinquency
Delinquent behavior occurs at an increasingly young age. Such behavior is much more common in male children than in female children and adolescents. The gender ratio among the wards of Zagreb institutions for the reception and care of juvenile offenders averaged 5: 1 in favor of men in the period from 1957 to 1961.
Juvenile delinquents come from 60% of low-income families. In 80% of cases they live with both parents. This warns us that the reasons for delinquent behavior of children and youth should not be sought so much in the deficit of the family (as it often seems), but in the disordered relations within the family and in the difficult socio-economic and weak cultural circumstances of these families.
Such opportunities are partly the cause and partly the consequence of insufficient mental health of parents, who then cannot be good educators of their children. That the basic cause of delinquent behavior of young people should be sought in the completely wrong upbringing provided in the family is proved by the fact that many young offenders come from families with relatively high economic and cultural standards, but regularly with completely unhealthy relationships among their members.
Manifestation of Juvenile Delinquency by Age and Gender
Delinquent behavior in both sexes most often begins to manifest in prepubertal age and in early puberty. This is understandable given the fact that at that time all the already existing conflicts between the child and his environment become more acute, and even the negativities in his behavior enter a critical phase.
Conclusion: Understanding the Roots of Juvenile Delinquency for Effective Prevention and Intervention
Understanding the complex and multifaceted nature of juvenile delinquency is key to effectively addressing this issue.
While legal regulations play an important role in defining and addressing delinquent behavior, a broader understanding of pre-delinquent behavior and the factors contributing to juvenile delinquency is necessary to prevent and intervene in these cases.
Urbanization, personality, education, family background, and upbringing are all important factors to consider in addressing juvenile delinquency. By understanding these factors, we can work to provide better support and education to young people, and create a more just and equitable society.