Juvenile delinquency: Causes and remedies

In the light of increasing juvenile crimes in our country and the reaction of the society against such incidents, makes us to think about the topic seriously, and suggest remedies to the problems we face today. Be it in the case of an International School in Haryana, or in Tinsukia, the issue needs to be looked at seriously and find remedies by all educationists. There are incidents that are happening in the society, at home, and even in the schools which must open our eyes and think collectively to find out the root causes of such incidents rather than having knee jerk reactions that too very often we see, misplaced and without having any relation to the actual cause of delinquency.
Who are Delinquent children?
Delinquent children belong to that category of exceptional children who exhibit considerable deviation in terms of their social adjustment. Such a child is a social deviant or socially handicapped. A delinquent is essentially a maladjusted person who creates difficulties for others and who is himself blocked in his own wholesome growth. In other word a delinquent is a child or minor who deviates seriously from the norms of their culture or society by committing murder, robbery and other offences. Recent crime chart in our country reveals that criminal behaviour is not only restricted to adults but also seen in minor children and adolescents.
These children are active, restless, hyperactive, energetic and uninhibited with a strong spirit of adventure and a lways “on the go”. They tend to seek excitement. There is another category, which is shy, quite, vindictive and highly selfish. They lack feelings of shame and guilt. They have no care for thoughts of others.
Age Group of offenders:
14–16 (Largest), 11 - 13 (Next largest).
Factors leading to delinquency:
There are many factors among them the following are the main. Heredity factors, physiological factors, Intelligence factors , environmental and social factors, uncongenial environment outside the home, maladjustment in school and to a large extent a defective and deficient family environment is a fertile ground for the germination of delinquency. The mass media like news papers, books , magazines and cinema that acquaint children with immoral and anti-social acts provides temptation to become delinquent. In fact, delinquency is a revolt against parents, teachers or social organizations which do not provide a congenial environment to satisfy their basic needs.
How should we look at this issue?
We must look at it as a psycho-social problem. A child becomes a delinquent in his environment. There could be individualistic causes to this too. For example, if a child is suffering from some physical defect then he begins to feel something is lacking in him. Incase his physical defect like stammering or such reasons are laughed at, there is every possibility that he may adopt anti-social behavior as a reaction against society. He wants to destroy the society because he considers society responsible for his defect or disability. Low intelligence too can lead a child to anti-social behavior. However, social and environmental reasons are the major causes for delinquency.
Causes pertaining to Bad Home Environment:
1. The presence of step-father or step mother

2. Quarrels among parents

3. Lack of parental affection

4. Over-indulgence by either of the parents

5. Poverty, so that the basic needs of the child are not satisfied

6. High ambitions of the parents

7. Quarrels about the achievements of their children

8. Comparing the child with another in the family and branding him inferior.

9. Loose (permissiveness) or very strict atmosphere at home.

10. Sexual defects in the mother or being low character

11. Mental abnormality in the mother or father

12. Divorce between the parents

13. No care by both the parents.

Causes pertaining Outside Home Environment:

1. Defective environment around home

2. Witnessing films depicting sex and violence

3. Company of peer-group delinquents or mal-adjusted children

4. Child labour

5. Bad treatment of the teachers

6. Unattractive methods of teaching

7. Bad discipline in the schools

8. Lack of recreation facilities

How can we prevent Delinquency problem:

As parents and as teachers we need to know the ways and means to tackle the problem arises from delinquency.
1. There must be a good family atmosphere for every child to grow. If family is bad the child too will grow in badness.

2. Parents must adopt right attitude towards their wards. They should not be too harsh or loose.

3. Cultivate good habits and avoid bad habits.

4. Parents must have some knowledge about guidance.

5. Permissiveness will spoil the child.

6. Parents should not be over-protective.

7. Parent s should keep an eye on the friends of their children, and keep a track on where they are going and doing.

8. Parents should have some time to spend with their children every day.

Schools have a lot to do in tackling the issues of delinquency. Very often parents blame the school for all the badness of their children. Teachers are the best lot in helping the children in the school. There should be trained teachers who can be a guide and counselor to each child, keeping with the interest and aptitude a child must be given education, teachers must teach well and interestingly with lots of creativity, students should have proper material to study, there should be healthy recreational activities in the school, co-ordination between schools and homes should be there. Proper guidance should be given to the students. If all these are done by the parents and the school we can prevent and remedy the pressing problems of juvenile delinquency. Otherwise, stress and tension in the family and the society make more of our children prey to delinquency. Jesuit schools in South Asia is paying much attention to the issue by training teachers and parents about delinquency.

Sunny Jacob, S.J.