Family factors often play into juvenile crime rates. This isn't to blame the family. If your son or daughter was just arrested, this doesn't mean it's all on you as a parent. You're already probably trying to think about what you could have done to prevent it.
The reality is simple: You may not have been able to do anything. Children don't always listen to their parents at any age.
That said, it is important to know how the family unit can influence a young person to engage in criminal activities. There may be steps that you can take in the future to prevent a relapse or a repeat situation.
Remember, much of the youth offender program focuses on rehabilitation. Except for the most major crimes, the courts want to help children understand what they should have done and get their lives on track. They don't want to just throw kids behind bars. Understanding the factors can help make this a reality.
Per educators at the prestigious Yale University, here are three family factors to consider:
1. Discipline that is too strict or erratic.
Children need discipline. It helps them form a basic understanding of right and wrong, and it shows them that there are consequences to their actions. However, children may rebel against discipline that is too strict, when they honestly don't feel like it's fair.
Erratic discipline is also problematic. If a child gets punished for an action one time and not punished the next, he or she may have trouble understanding how to act in the future. Parents must be consistent.
2. Inadequate supervision.
This isn't a reason why children commit crimes, per se, but certain factors tend to increase the statistical likelihood. Kids who are not watched very closely have more time on their own and more chances to commit crimes. While kids need proper supervision, it's certainly worth noting that you cannot watch the child 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Still, those whose parents supervised them more diligently tended to break the law less often.
3. A family unit that lacks cohesiveness.
The family unit is incredibly important to children. It needs to be cohesive. It needs to be connected. Children need to feel like they're part of it and that they're valued.
In this way, a dysfunctional family unit can make crime rates rise. Some parents may accidentally create this unhealthy atmosphere without realizing it. To prevent a repeat situation, more stress on the family unit could help moving forward.
By no means are these the only factors that contribute to crime rates. Again, this is also not to blame parents solely for the actions of their children. However, an understanding of the situation and the factors involved may prove beneficial as your child's criminal case moves forward.