Juvenile crime A new-age offence
We are all as responsible for a child breaking the law as the child himself, and need to work towards a solution together, writes Kuldeep Surolia
Juvenile delinquency or criminal offence by children is increasing day by day. The recent few examples, such as the much talked about case of Ryan International School, where a 16-year-old boy killed a seven-year-old boy or the current case of Yamunanagar, Haryana in which an 18-year-old student killed the Principal, has shaken the nation. Before coming of age, girls and boys have less understanding of the world. Parents, friends and teachers are all responsible in some way or the other, along with the juvenile, for such violence. There are several findings to prove growing incidents of juvenile crimes. Most of them are due to low social, economical or psychological background. A few of the most common causes of juvenile delinquency are as follows:
Family defines the overall personality of the children. It is the basic socialisation agency for the children. Children usually learn the basic concepts of good and bad from their family. It shapes their values and sets the norms of society. Within a family , the most important role is played by the parents, which is quite significant in determining a child’s behaviour. Single parent families, separated families, frequent parents conflict, lack of trust and confidence among the parents, psychological problems in parents, etc can be some of the reasons behind juvenile delinquency. Another reason can be sibling rivalry due to unequal treatment between children. If parents are unable to exhibit moral behavior, children might get motivation to do something similar.
High financial aspirations of youth which are unaffordable by parents might led to involvement in criminal activities. Juveniles want to improve their status and for this purpose they sometimes choose a wrong path, leading to criminal activities.
Mental illness or other psychological problems like depression, frustration, anger showed by the parents can make a child feel low. Sometimes children adopt depression and anger from parents or elder siblings.
India is currently facing various social evils like ageism, sexism, racism, child labour, etc. Children and youth learn what they see in their family. In many families parents do not feel shame in encouraging child labour. Therefore, children do not understand that child labour is against society. Social problems might cause stress, due to which teens get involved in violence.
Morality or ethics is one of the most important concerns among teens today. Teens should know how to respect family and other people. Some parents do not take care of their elders. This results in children inculcating same behaviour and attitude.
Parenting style also matters a lot. Parents at times punish their children for small issues. Children start disrespecting their parents and might even develop hatred for them. This leads to violence. One such example is the Greater Noida case where a 16-year-old boy killed his Mother and Sister. This was probably the result of his anger, as he was scolded by his mother for showing negligence towards studies.
The reasons might not only be the ones mentioned here. There might be many more known and unknown causes behind the same. Here are some of the solutions that might possibly lower such incidents of violence.
The problem is complex and growing. So, the solution also needs to be comprehensive and requires participation from all stakeholders.
Parents should instill positive values in children. Family is the role model for every child. Parents should also teach children the importance of respecting laws of society and the consequences of breaking laws. They should also make sure that children observe equality of rights, justice and condemn discrimination.
Government should support families that have poor economic status. This way they can improve their financial condition. Right to Education is one great initiative on paper but it should be implemented on ground for all children from weaker sections of society.
Racial or religious differences are also a very strong reason behind juvenile crime. It can cause several big crimes as adolescents become aggressive and they want to take revenge from the society for their unequal treatment. So, differences need to be curbed by talking and spending quality time with children.
Drug use is also a very common cause of juvenile delinquency. Parents and Teachers need to keep an observation on their children. And if they notice something, it should be bought to the attention of Parents and School so that a proper counselling could be done.
Statistics show that mental illness is one of the biggest reasons behind juvenile delinquency. Parents should spend more time with their kids. Also, teachers need to be vigilant about each child’s behaviour. Here, the importance of Parent-Principal Partnership needs to be highlighted.
Parents should also be informed about the friends of their children and other mates. If their friends commit a crime, adolescents often get encouraged by it. They cannot understand the consequences of the crime. Abusive behavior is the first step towards committing crimes. When teens become part of a gang that is abusive and that does not know how to behave and practice control, the teen also gets involved in negative means.
Parents and teachers should talk to the teens about their problems and they should try to solve their problems. They should create a healthy and friendly relationship with their children. In this way, children feel free to share anything and everything with their parents.
Society itself sometimes becomes very negative and creates difficulties for the youth. It is therefore believed to be a strong force in developing the personality of the teens. Negative feelings from the society can become a reason behind juvenile delinquency. So, the role of society is very significant. It is supposed to be fair and reasonably flexible in dealing with children. It cannot adopt a harsh approach.
Labelling can also ruin the personality of the youth and make the teen a criminal forever. Labeling means that society treats a teen criminal , once he commits a crime. Though it might be for the first time ever that he/she committed a crime. But due to the tag, he will perceive himself as a criminal. As a result of which he might repeat similar crime or other crimes in future. He will no longer feel any embarrassment in committing crimes. So, labelling a child as criminal needs to be avoided for the betterment of the child and the society around him.
To sum up, juvenile crime is one phenomenon which seems to be growing and might grow further. But there is one word solution and that solution is “Sadvidya” or Value Education in all aspects of life and behavior in the complete eco system including school and home.
The writer is an academician and an author For more on the topic, visit http://kuldeepsurolia.com/sadvidya.php
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