EFFECT OF FAMILY STRUCTURE ON RATES OF VIOLENT JUVENILE DELINQUENCY IN LAGOS STATE
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Background of the study
According to Snyder, (2013)juvenile rate for violent crime began increasing in the late 1980s, after more than a decade of relative stability, juvenile arrest the rate of violent youth delinquency as it was rose between 1988 and 1994 (Snyder, 2013). Juvenile delinquency is noted to be an intractable problem worldwide and has been increasing phenomenally by as much as 30 percent since the 1990s (Sickmund, 2013). However, to Snyder further said that if the trends continue as they have over the past 10 years, the number of juvenile arrests for violent delinquencies will double by the year 2016. Although the number of arrests for violent crimes increased and data also show that teenagers are responsible for the most violent crimes. In some years back, young people accounted for only 45 percent of all arrests for violent crimes. This means that a little less than a fifth of all people entering the justice system on a charge of violent crimes were juveniles (Sickmund, 2013). Moreover, antisocial behaviours of teenagers have been posting a lot of problems to the well being of the people and society in Nigeria and adolescent delinquency witnessed in Nigeria include: drug cruelty, cultism, harrying or bullying, malingering, examination derelictions, prostitution and theft (Snyder, 2013).
However, Immarigeon, (2014) opined that juvenile delinquency is an illegal acts, be it criminal or status offence committed by young people under the age of 18 (eighteen). On the other hand, violence committed by minors is increasing, adults were responsible for 55 percent of the increase in violent crimes from 2011 to 2012 (Snyder, Sickmund, & Poe-Yamagata, 2013).Obviously something is happening in today’s society, though more and more juveniles of commit crimes. Sometimes a researcher needs to get to what he or she thinks is the root of the problem to understand what causes some issues. What causes a child to become delinquent and what makes the child so easily gravitate towards this lifestyle. This study explores how family life affects juvenile delinquency. Teenagers are more likely to become juvenile delinquents where few families provided in structure (Amato, 2015).
Moreover, there are several influential variables; these categories are family functioning, the impact of the disruption of the family, both parents and against single parents. All these aspects of the family are very crucial for the education of a child and could ultimately lead to delinquent behavior if the family does not work “properly.” Properly is defined as two parents, without violence, and to communicate openly household (Patterson, 2015).
According to Wright and Wright (2015), the family is the foundation of human society. Children who are rejected by their parents, who grow up in homes with considerable conflicts, or are inadequately supervised, are most at risk of becoming delinquent. However, Immarigeon (2014) said it best when he says that justice can be served better and youth led on track by involving families in cases of juvenile delinquency. If something was going to play a big role in the crime, it would be a family. Understanding how the family and how the minor in the works of the family to the heart of delinquency (Immarigeon, 2014).
Families are one of the strongest forces of socialization in life. They teach children to control the unacceptable behavior to delay delight, and to esteem the rights of others. Conversely, families can teach children aggressive behavior, antisocial and violent (Wright & Wright 2015). This statement alone could easily explain how the minor can end up becoming an offender. Wright and Wright (2015) suggest positive parenting in the early years and later in adolescence seem to act as buffers preventing delinquent behavior and help the teenagers involved in this type of behavior to give up crime.
Adolescence is a period of expansion vulnerabilities and opportunities that accompany the social and geographical enlargement exposure to life away from school or family, but it starts with the family. Research indicates that various exposure to violence are important sources of early exits the role of adolescents, which means not only a juvenile witness violence within the family, but outside as well (Hagan & Foster 2013) . If violence encompasses all environmental aspects of the emotional life of the child, he or she is more likely to engage in delinquent activities.A substantial number of teenagers engage in crime. Antisocial and/or violent behaviors may begin as early as preschool or in the first few grades of elementary school. Such juveniledelinquency tends to be impervious to change; for example, the parents disciplining more harshly, frequently predicts continuing problems during adolescence, as well as adult criminality (Prochnow & DeFronzo, 2012).
In the area of family functioning, there is a theory known as the name of the strain theory, which suggests that family environment influences the interpersonal style of a teenager, which in turn influences peer group selection (Cashwell&Vacc, 2011). Peers with a more coercive interpersonal style tend to get involved with each other, and this relationship is assumed to increase the probability of being involved in criminal behavior. Thus the understanding of the nature of relationships within the family, to include family adaptability, cohesion and satisfaction, provide more information to understand the young (Cashwell&Vacc, 2011). The cohesion of the family successfully predicted the frequency of delinquency for non-traditional families (Matherne& Thomas, 2001). Family behavior, especially parental supervision and discipline, seem to influence the association with deviant peers throughout the period of adolescence (Cashwell&Vacc, 2011). Among the social circumstances that have a hand in determining the future of the individual, it is sufficient for our present purpose to recognize that the family is central (Wright & Wright 2015).
Returning to the issue of supervision, a lack of monitoring is reflected in the parent often do not know where the child is that the child is with, what the child does or when the child is at home. Surveillance is becoming increasingly important as children enter adolescence and spend less time under the direct supervision of parents or other adults and more time with their peers. Previous research has shown that coercive parenting and lack of parental supervision not only directly contributes to antisocial boys, but also indirectly as seen in contributing to their increased ability to associate with deviant peers, predicts higher levels of delinquency (Kim, 2013).
The communication also plays an important role in how the family functions. Clark and Shields (2014) indicate that the importance of positive communication for optimum operation of the family has major implications for delinquent behavior. They also found that communication is indeed related to the commission of delinquent behavior and differences are presented in the categories of age, gender, family and marital status.
Gorman-Smith and Tolan (2010) found that parental conflict and parental aggression predicts violent crime; then, lack of maternal affection and paternal crime predicted involvement in property crimes and features suggestive behavior or family values such as family history of criminal behavior, harsh parental discipline, and family antisocial family conflict were among the most consistently linked. In another study conducted by Gorman-Smith and his colleagues, the data show that children are more likely to resort to violence if violence in relationships they can share with their families (Gorman-Smith, and al., 2001)
- Statement of the problem
Adolescent crime (delinquency) in Nigeria is a major social problem which affects the whole society and constitutes a serious impediment to development (Osgood, 2014). However, Osgood further stated that young people in contemporary Nigeria are typically involved in stealing, cultism, kidnapping, drug abuse and other felonious activities.
According to Sampson (2015) young people were most involved in illicit drug use and the consequences of this disease and other minor crimes such as examination dereliction, alcoholism, phony, rape etc in Nigeria social youth violence, stealing, mental disorders, lack of esteem for elders and the many other social ills (Sampson, 2015).
In light of the foul problems of juvenile delinquency in Nigeria, researchers and concerned citizens have attributed the threat to countlessissues or some factors such as; paucity, aristocrat pressure, family structure, substance abuse, etc. While acknowledging these other causes, this study strive for the effect of family structure on the rate of violent juvenile delinquency among young people in Lagos since “the family has a vital role to play in the development of a consistent offender or personality (Kim, 2013).
According to Alfred, (2012) resulting from inadequate supervision family structure appears to be associated with juvenile delinquency. It has been observed that children in single-parent families tend to receive lower levels of supervision. Alfred also stated that inadequate parental supervision tends to increase the likelihood of juvenile delinquency.
Klein (2011) says that when there is a single parent living in the home instead of two, it is more difficult to supervise children at all times and that daily activities such as shopping and the work must be completed by the single parent who leaves no parent at home, because of that children in single-parent families tend to receive lower levels of supervision (Klein, 2011).The lack of parental supervision not only directly contributes to antisocial behavior of children, but also indirectly because it helps expose them to associate with deviant peers, which predicts higher levels of deviant acts (Rex, 2011). From observation, it seems that parents and caregivers do not do much in monitoring their children in Nigeria because of their many economic and social commitments. However, it was also observed that adolescents from broken homes are more likely to run away from their families as children who come from more stable families (Karla, 2011). Karla also explained that a broken home is an imbalance and therefore is detrimental to the socialization and personality of the adjustment of a child. The resulting effect is that the child may be more vulnerable to negative peer pressure and may eventually commit crimes not committed by teenagers from unwavering or stable families where there is a well-adjusted structure of the parents who act as good models in the acquisition of appropriate roles of the child.
Children who grow up in unstable families are at greater risk of experiencing a variety of problems in behavior and education, including smoking, drug abuse, vandalism, violence and crime which children from stable families and changes in the family can affect self-control levels in children.