Let's put an end to teenage delinquency

  • By Team TDO

One day you hear of a school child gunning down classmates with a shotgun and before you can even start talking about gun control in the USA, you hear of a teenager in New Delhi, India who raped a girl on a bus in broad daylight. Appalling? Agreed... but the point is that crime by adolescents happens all across the globe, in every country & continent, all the time!

Due to the laws being lenient for juvenile offenders in some countries, these tender offenders serve very little time before getting off scot-free. What's worse is the utter lack of remorse or guilt whatsoever on their crime hardened faces as they strike a spine chilling pose for the media. Surely one can't help but wonder – where and how did this decadence set in? How on earth are we to know if the cute teen next door isn’t actually thinking of putting a hole though your head! Who do you blame for this youth gone wild? Upbringing? Parents? Teachers? Society? Or the devil?

Lets delve in to some reasons for juvenile delinquency.

One can't really pinpoint or isolate a single factor responsible for teenage delinquency. Sure some common patters do emerge as violent neighborhoods, broken homes, alcoholic families, child sexual abuse, teenage depression, attention deficit disorder, inferiority complexes could all work in furthering the cause. However one may advance the theory that everybody from the above backgrounds does not turn to crime as a consequence. The statistics do indicate that there is a greater propensity for teenagers from the above backgrounds to realize their criminal tendencies.

It doesn't matter whose children have been convicted for juvenile crimes- whether in your neighborhood or the next; whether from affluent backgrounds or not! It reflects on all of us, as a society in general if our youth are taking to crime. It isn't the failure of just the parents but a collective failure that we as a society do not have the evaluative tools at our disposal, to identify problem children and defuse the bomb before it explodes in the form of a young criminal. And by the time we do realize, a precious life is already wasted.

What can we do to save our children from treading the dangerous path?

Very often passing the buck is the only thing that happens. By the time a juvenile criminal appears in front of the Juvenile Board or sent to reformatory school we forget the damage has already been done.

"Society prepares the crime, the criminal only goes and commits it".

As world citizens we cannot shirk responsibility by saying we have imparted values to our children if we don't practice them ourselves. Mere lip service to good conduct is hypocrisy and ends up creating more warped teenagers than any street gang can. We have to ensure that we have a robust and participatory system whereby parents, teachers, community leaders, members of the local religious institutions can actually team up with the youth and create awareness programs against crime. Let there be enough openness between parents and children, so that the latter do not hesitate in opening up to them and create an atmosphere of mutual respect and integrity. Informal vigil groups trained to watch out for signs of aberrational behavior in the locality or parish can be set up.

Let there be exchange of information with the authorities by which a crime which is about to be committed might be nipped in the very bud by taking corrective measures of offering a helping hand rather than punishment & censure. Remember anger only begets anger, so if we want our children to be model citizens it is about time we take the step - Right from our own homes!