History of America’s juvenile justice system

Today’s youth are not entirely dependent on their parents for their knowledge and opinions. They have become more independent as time goes on. There are many changes that  they undergo and it takes extra effort to really understand all of their behavior (Taylor, Carl 2003). In most of the social problems encountered by today’s young adults, parents and educational institutions are important in forming, molding and strengthening of children and young adults’ values.

This is best captured in one of the reflections given by a father in his encounter with his children. Just listening to his children, looking them in the eye, and getting himself into their minds and hearts establish a strong relationship of care and trust and openness. In raising teens, Covey (1999, 100) highlights the importance of being sensitive to the tendency of the youth to reject. According to him, this tendency of teenagers comes from their fear of being rejected.

Their rejection experiences make them “pull back into a kind of shell to protect themselves from being rejected again. ” This could be aggravated by parents who refuse to look honestly at what their children are doing; even denying that there is a problem, making excuses for their child, or blaming the school, teachers, family, friends, or society. "Fixing" the child’s problems by giving in to demands, justifying rebelliousness is just a normal part of adolescence.

Compromising the parents’ own values just to keep the peace at home or maintain a veneer of harmony is not an uncommon solution. If and when the worst situation comes up, the decision to intervene remains with the parents and not with the juvenile justice system. Yet, parents are often at a loss on what best to do. Young people today are defining themselves through hip-hop culture, new breeds of alternative music and a host of other methods. (Taylor, Carl 2003). Dr.

Wharton eloquently deemed it “tribalism” and the young followers of today’s musical genres, whether they are devotees of Marilyn Manson or Marshall Mathers. The failure of generations of parents and other adults to attempt to understand and communicate with young people has lead to countless incidents of suffering throughout communities. We must ask ourselves how many unfortunate circumstances and situations might have not occurred had the proper interventions been used with a child or young person throughout the years.

Today we have the opportunity to begin a new method of thinking and engaging our young, for the betterment of our society and ourselves (Taylor, Carl 2003). Resilience in youth can be built to create a positive mental health by the families and friends to which they belong. This way, youth culture will encompass a whole new positive way of defining the culture of the young today and in the coming years. Urban youth culture represents billions of dollars in numerous industries and it shows no slowing in its growth and influence (Taylor, Carl 2003).

There is more than one approach to understanding the cause of crime and its consequences. A number of diverse schools of criminological theory exist. Some focus on the individual, while others view social factors as the most important element in juvenile crimes.


Covey, Stephen R. Living the 7 Habits. (1999) Gover, A. et. al. (2005). “The influence of delinquent peers on delinquency: does gender matter? ” Youth and Society, 36(3): 251+. History of America’s juvenile justice system. Retrieved April 8, 2007 at: