The lack of respect a juvenile has towards their parents is thought by control theorists to spread to other outside authorities such as the law, and institutions such as schools, thereby revealing increased detriment to the growth of the juvenile to go beyond the expected limits set forth by an ever-increasing daunting society. In control theory, the attachment, or lack of attachment students exude for their parents often times finds its way up the hierarchy of institutes and into the views the juvenile has towards teachers, which further alienates the child from society (Hirschi 1969, 131).
As can be seen in control theory, the attachment a child displays for their parents shows it’s effect on almost every factor of the child’s life. When that bond is severed the predicted rehabilitation that may be available for the child diminishes because the tie that binds also binds the surrounding features, structures and laws of society in all regards. The binding ties that a child forms with parents can be compromised and when this occurs the regard and respect that should be displayed toward the parent then is displaced onto a gang or friends.
On the reverse side of this equation the child’s adherence to their friends is a form of conformity and as Hirschi states, “…the operative variable is delinquency of friends; attachment to friends is irrelevant. But this would be dodging the issue. We assert that, holding delinquency (or worthiness) of friends truly constant at any level, the more one respects or admires one’s friends, the less likely on is to commit delinquent acts.
We honor those we admire not by imitation, but by adherence to conventional standards” (Hirschi 1969, 152). The defining feature of friendship is conformity. There is a difference however with at-risk juveniles and juveniles who have committed petty theft only once. The impact of having delinquent friends is not so severe as conforming adolescents into murderers. Hirschi states that to conform a delinquent into strong acts of crime there must be an unusual motivation or impetus for committing the act or crime.
Delinquent friends are unlikely to present another juvenile with the driving force to commit murder or any other atrocious crime, so the tie held with friends is only a loose thread in discovery the motivation for juveniles to commit crimes, and once their impetus is discovered the pathway to rehabilitation can be paved (Hirschi 1969, 157). Following through with the notion of delinquency rubbing off in a crowd of juveniles Hirschi states, There is a very strong tendency for boys to have friends whose activities are congruent with their own attitudes.
Boys with a large stake in conformity are unlikely to have delinquent friends, and even when a boy with a large stake in conformity does have delinquent friends, the chance that he will commit delinquent acts is relatively low. In my judgment, the evidence strongly supports the view that the boy’s stake in conformity affects his choice of friends rather than the other way around. (Hirschi 1969, 159). It can be succinctly stated that the affects of gang life on a juvenile are only slightly motivated through the corruption of friends. The true form of criminality seems to be breed more with the ties to close relatives, and figures of authority.
The trepidation in gang life follows suit with the bonds between members being distant and wavering, based on fear and control which goes against the grain of conformity mentioned in making lasting bonds and having those bonds play out a moral code in the juvenile, as Hirschi states, If member of delinquent gangs tend to have in common a low stake in conformity, if their relations with each other tend to be cold and brittle, still the data presented here leave much room for the preparation of group processes in the production of delinquent acts.
The boy with delinquent friends is unusually likely to have committed delinquent acts, especially when his ties to conventional society are weak to begin with. (Hirschi 1969, 161) The bonding experience between a juvenile and another person (be it parental, family related, or friend related) is thus proven to be of more importance in the persuasion set forth with parental control and presence. In order for the juvenile delinquent to be rehabilitated a feeling of moral loss must be present.
That morality is the key that allows for re-acceptance into society after incarceration or paroling. It is also within the community to deliver to the child a strong sense of worth and acceptance (conformity) in order for that juvenile to feel that they have a place in society. Without the feeling of acceptance that juvenile may act out (in the form of committing crimes) and be led down the road to a future as an adult criminal.
In alternative procedures of rehabilitation, it is not in the juvenile court system that a delinquent will find a moral identity- for as will be discussed later, when a child is in a detention center they are more exposed to the elements that foster a criminal life- there is the procedure of a juvenile feeling a connection with their surrounding society and parents that will prove to be the greatest deterrent in criminality, as Hirschi states, “Of the elements of the bond to conventional society, involvement in conventional activities is most obviously relevant to delinquent behavior.
The child playing ping-pong, swimming in the community pool, or doing his homework is not committing delinquent acts. The obviousness of this picture of “wholesome” activity as incompatible with delinquent activity lies behind many delinquency prevention projects” (Hirschi 1969, 187).