Violent Families Affecting the Delinquency of the Youth

According to a study by Terence Thornberry (1994), there is a relationship between violent families and youth violence. To establish this hypothesis, he conducted a study on one thousand 7th and 8th grade students from the public schools under the jurisdiction of Rochester, New York. It was implied that the importance of this study is to help decipher the significantly high rates of criminal violence in many establishments, such as in school, work places, streets and homes.

Furthermore, it was noted that people already recognize the effect of family violence on a victim. The study aimed to find significant statistics about how maltreated and abused children result to be more violent when they become teenagers. Also, they wanted to see if children exposed to family violence are as affected as the victims. Being a victim and a witness are two different things. They wanted to find the relevance of family violence to the risk of children becoming violent in the near future. Various research methods were used.

The selected sample of the study will undergo a different kind of scrutiny. Besides interviewing and observing these children, research was done by attaining data from agencies such as the Child Protective Services of Monroe County. Among their records, they tried to find those who already graduated and contacted them. They emphasized that they were looking for any of the different forms of violence, including physical and sexual abuse. Sixty five percent of the maltreated children reported as being involved in violent activities.

On the other hand, among those who were not exposed to maltreatment, fifty six percent self-reported for being violent. The discrepancy between these figures showed a significant relevance of family violence to youth delinquency. Factors such as gender, race and social class remained constant during the comparison. Family violence are indicated by, as the study pointed out, the violence between partners, hostility in the family climate, maltreatment of the children. The first form of violence is measured by a scale by Strauss called the Violence Subscale of the Conflict Tactics Scale.

It was found out that seventy percent of those who lived with dysfunctional parents were involved in violent activities. On the other hand, those who were not exposed to the same conflict comprised forty nine percent of the sample. Again, the significant difference between these rates are also difficult not to notice. Finally, the issue about a youth being exposed to multiple forms of violence revealed that sixty percent experienced one form of violence, seventy three percent experience one form of violence, and seventy eight percent were afflicted with all three forms.

This showed that being exposed to violence can increase the risk of these children becoming violent themselves. In my opinion, this study simply confirmed the fact that family violence can really affect the growth of a person. As children, we usually mimic what we see, including what our parents do in front of us. It is due to the adaptability of a person to its surroundings. What we saw then was what we thought was how things should be. Although through the years, an exposed child may not be the violent person he was expected to be.

Statistics from the study showed that these victims are not completely hopeless cases. However, since the nature was introduced to them during such an early stage, it may forever remain in their minds. It usually depends on the gravity of the violent activity that could be instilled at the back of their minds. Even if we say that they can learn from their mistakes, can we truly assume that they will never slip and be violent to the next generation after them? With these in mind, I believe that we should educate not only the children, but also the parents.

We should make them aware that what they are doing can do a lot of damage to their children. If they will not stop with the violent activities in their homes and neighborhoods, their children will copy them. Furthermore, their children’s children will copy that. They should realize that they should take the initiative to start the change within themselves. They should not wait for their children to to even try what they are doing. These parents should be informed that they gave birth to these children, and by that, they are their responsibility.

They should not impose their faults on their children; the blame should never be theirs to carry. To reinstate, the study by Thornberry established the truth behind family violence as the factor that can highly influence the delinquency of the youth. Although the study was relatively small, the significance of the statistics should never be overlooked. In this case, the parents or those in authority in a family should be the ones who should initiate the change.a