Limited scholarships and seats for admission in schools and colleges imply a rise in the competition level. Overcrowded schools lead to indiscipline and a lack of control. Teachers are unable to cater for the individual needs of children. This issue has been further discussed under the heading entitled School.
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According to Pearson (1983), intervention of social welfare services have a big role in crime prevention. They detect and help abused and ill-treated children. However, in disorganized areas social welfare officers have many families to look after. The cry for help of many children and parents in these areas remain unheard. It is only when the issue has become serious that the authorities intervene. It is often too late. Some end up being traumatized for life or victims of un-repairable damage do.
Since there is much insecurity in these localities, businesses to move away and investors refrain from putting their money in developments occurring. This increases problems of unemployment.
It is hard in itself to live in suburbs and when employers see that a job applicant comes from a badly reputed region, the chances of the later getting the job diminishes considerably. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, most youngsters coming from these areas already have police records, poor academic knowledge and without legitimate means of obtaining success, they feel social and psychological strain (Merton;1920s). Furthermore, as French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu said: “Parent’s occupation and level of education have significant effects on the life chances of their children.” From an economic perspective, these youths breach the law for their financial well being. This rational choice seems acceptable from the youngster’s point of view when we consider the lack of proper educational system, equal and legal job opportunities. It is his survival strategy just like it had been for his family members and neighbors. (See School failure)
Aggressive and violent youth
Another problem which arises when there is a high rate of teenage population is a demographic area is that of violent crimes. Their poor problem-solving skills, overly sensitive or emotional personality and explosive temperament combined with their biological and physical predisposition of being violent and aggressive because of their age; make them apt of committing aggressive assaults and crimes. Small discussions and debates can end up into bloody attacks. Indeed, disorganized neighborhoods suffer from social incivility. It is common to hear swearing words and see people fighting on the streets, to see graffiti, broken window panes, young children roaming till late on the road, and sex workers almost everywhere.
Community fear, lack of social facilities, unemployment and bad quality of education for the children create a lot of fuss and stress on parents. Also families, in these areas of high violence rate, have disrupted social relationships. It is common to find families which have financial problems, depressive and stressed parents who adopt drinking and other bad habits and who have problems in growing up their children. This has been further discussed in Family.
Residents of these areas try to get used such disorder and atrocious crimes that occur on the streets around them. They lose trust in authorities and feel abandoned. They rarely report offences they witness or are victims of. On the contrary, fearing for their life and security they join gangs and peer groups which will protect them in case of difficulty. This leads to the development of criminal areas and generations of criminals. Many families want leave these deteriorated communities and look for a better place to grow their children into better adults. This social mobility leads to limited collective efficacy. There is weakened social control. Neighbors might not know and trust each other. This is constant fear and insecurity and no cohesiveness among inhabitants. Government policies and initiatives taken up by NGOs do not work since residents do not stay for long to implement them.
Indiscipline in schools, the lack of individual care for needy students, availability of drugs and arms and a troublesome family life can result tragic incidents. On December 14, 2012 Adam Lanza shot 20 children and 6 staff members in a school in Connecticut. Growing up in a disorganized and less privileged society is tough enough without having to be worried about being killed while going to class. Unfortunately, events like these occur because of a multitude of factors which are not always controllable.
Duncan and Murnane’s book, ‘Neighborhood and Family Impacts on Schools’, examines “â€¦how factors as family functioning, neighborhood conditions, school quality, and local labor markets impact school’s ability to improve academic and educational attainment of disadvantaged students.”
We have seen how the education system favors academic learning and neglects personality development. Where a class is supposed to be a team of young learners, with each and every member being valuable, it has now become competitive environment in itself where making others lose seem to be synonym of victory. Some students find this sort of system challenging and do their best to be toppers in exams but on the other hand students who have, since their very young age, been exposed to severe and prolonged stress, are likely to have developed learning disabilities and emotional and behavioral problems which make is difficult for them to successfully go through the educational system. These students have to undergo a lot of pressure from members of their family, school and society. They may have attention deficit disorder, a lot of anxiety and can be depressive. However, instead of being spotted as care-needing students, teachers and also other students often labeled as ‘stupid’ and ‘lazy’ and ‘antisocial’. Teachers do not actively listen to their problems. They simply lecture and maintain peace and order in classrooms. Teaching techniques are not adapted to the needs of children. There is no individualized care and support. Teachers who do not encourage students to succeed and condemn them because of their learning disabilities fail in their traditional role as gurus, guides and role models and add on to the distrust that children and youths have in adults.
‘Children tend to do what we do rather than what we say to do.’
To understand how a violent community affects teenagers and how it is related to youth crime we to take the social learning theory developed by Bandura, the differential learning theory developed by Matza, Sutherland, Cressy and others, and theories on subcultures.
According to Gottfredson and Hirschi, family environment is the most important institution which has to foster self-control, good values and manners in a child. However as demonstrated by Bandura in the Bobo Doll experiment, there are different ways through which a child learns how to be aggressive but the main one is through observation and interaction with others. Parents living in a violent society cannot fully restrain and protect their children from all negative influences. Children can do both good and bad and discipline should be appropriately used for the former to prevail (Anderson; 1980). Parents cannot be held sole responsible for the social and moral education of their children. Other institutions have a crucial role to play. As seen earlier, the failure of one institution can lead to the failure of all the other institutions.
Children who are abused and neglected by parents, experience school failure, rejection from society and have a low self-esteem are more likely to join gangs. We have seen under School failure and Indiscipline in schools how gangs form and function in schools. In a violent community, there are considerable numbers of gangs which operate. Sutherland and Cressy suggest that criminal behavior is learnt through criminal association. Criminal motives, techniques, attitudes and rationalizations are developed through interaction with others. Moreover, as Cohen suggests crime is collective in nature.
Moreover, in most subcultures the violation of institutionalized and traditional behaviors is seen as normal as they have their own street rules and regulations.
It is true that protective factors like social bonding and self-control mitigate the risk of offending but studies have proved that it is highly probable for children who grow up in violent environments to learn deviant behavior at home or at school or on the streets.
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In the longitudinal study of 400 London school boys, West and Farrington (1970) suggested that delinquency arises from a complex interaction between individual home atmosphere, the personal qualities of the boy and the circumstances in which the family lives. Hutchings
We have also observed that inner controls can be a strong protective factor but it has to be fostered by not only parents but also teachers and society, who have to act like role models.
Social controls, like attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief (Hirschi; 1970) are also protective factors which stop youth from acting delinquently.
To conclude we can say that young children in violent communities are most likely to grow up as aggressive adults.
The period of adolescence is characterized by physical changes, cognitive development, mood swings and social reorganization having as aim to grow into maturity and help fulfilling social and cultural expectation of becoming a responsible adult. Love, support, care and right education are more than essential for adolescents. A cozy environment can make all the difference.
Unfortunately, for children who are in stressful environment, their life experiences will affect their personality, perspective and the type of adult they end up being. If parents, schools, peer networks, neighbors and other social welfare services are work in strong coordination and collaboration the duty of rearing children into responsible adults, not deviant ones, is like to be fulfilled.
Since long, the responsibility of growing up a child into a responsible citizen has been bowled from the shoulders of parents and families to that of the government. Their transition from puberty to an age of maturity should be eased with love, support and care.
Nowadays, the concept of childhood is being slowly wiped out. The transition period between childhood and adolescence and adolescence to adulthood seems to be shortening as years go by. Children and adolescents are partaking in adult activities at very early ages.
Fashion brands, celebrity magazines, tv serials, advertisings and other bla bla are marketedly directly to them.
Where media can be used to sensitize children, it is being used to ‘provoke’ certain behaviors. Tv serials like Gossip Girls and Teen Mom, among among many others, promote dangerous sexual behaviors and pregnancies.
Cognitive development- less reasoning ability
Despair of parents/ cry for help should be heard by authorities + social welfare services
appropriate actions should be taken each family has its own concerns and problems- tailor-made programs
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