Gender and Family By: Sherrica Newburn CJS 230 Gender and Family As juvenile delinquency continues to be a growing problem in America, research and analysis have shown that gender and family can have a huge impact on juvenile delinquency. When it comes to gender, many differences take place during the development and socialization in the male and female causing different juvenile offending patterns. Changes in family structures will also have implications on socialization for both male and females.
In this paper, one will learn how the role of family structure and gender can be a contributing factor in juvenile delinquency. Gender differences in development begin as early as infancy. These differences begin with socialization, cognitive and personality. On a social level, males are believed to be more aggressive than females. The cause of this is believed to be because males are taught and encouraged to be tough, while females are taught to be lady like and act on emotions. Cognitive differences also start in early childhood.
Females tend to speak earlier and have more communication than males. “Males excel in tasks that assess the ability to manipulate visual images in working memory, whereas females do better in tasks that require retrieval from long-term memory and the acquisition and use of verbal information “(Siegel & Welsh, 2005). Personality is one of the most obvious differences in gender. Females tend to have low self-esteem and they are more emotional than males. Males tend to have low attention spans while females have better attention spans.
Delinquency affects gender because the differences in socialization, cognitive skills, and personality are what make up gender specific behaviors. Most children are used to growing up in the traditional family of a mother, father and siblings. The makeup of families today is no longer consisting of the traditional family structure. Children are being raised in single parent homes with the absence of either their mother or father. In these cases, the single parent has to struggle even harder to make ends meet causing that bond between parent and hild to diminish. Children need guidance from both parents, and when one parent is absent, the guidance will not be there and it can leave a long lasting impact on the child. The affect that family makeup has on delinquency is that if a child’s needs are not being met in the home, the child is more inclined to turn to their peers for some type of fulfillment. Family behaviors such as breakup, conflict, neglect, and deviance can all have an impact on delinquency. Because a child is first socialized at home, any disjunction in an orderly family structure can be expected to have a negative impact on the child” (Siegel & Welsh, 2005). When a family structure is broken, it can impact delinquency on a male because males are more affected by the absence of their father than females are. Females tend to be affected by the absence of both parents which can impact female delinquency. Conflict, neglect, and deviance can set a bad example for children. Family behaviors such as parental neglect can provide a bad example for delinquents.
Children growing up in homes with no supervision and minimum care are more likely to turn to violent and antisocial behaviors. Parents who show deviant behaviors are more likely to produce children who show deviance. For example, parents who smoke around their children often result in the child believing that it is okay to smoke because they see their parents do it. Even though research shows that female delinquency has increased, females are known to be treated differently by members of the juvenile system
Female delinquents are more inclined to commit sex related crimes associated with relationship problems or sexual abuse. This is a benefit to females because members of the juvenile system to focus more on male related crimes than female related crimes. When it comes to females, they can be treated unfairly because members of the justice system expect certain gender specific crimes from female delinquents. Male delinquents are known to commit more serious crimes than females, so the justice system goes off expectations of each gender.
In conclusion, family and gender plays a huge role in the juvenile justice system. In our society, juveniles are expected to commit crimes based on gender, and family structure. In order to prevent increasing juvenile delinquency, preventive programs for delinquents and their families should be provided to help children cope with broken family structures. References Seigel, L. J. and Welsh, B. C. (2005). Juvenile Delinquency: The core. (2nd ed. ). Belmont, CA Thomson Wadsworth. Retrieved January 31, 2010