Juvenile Crime and the Developmental Theory

Topic: Developmental Psychology
Words: 620 Pages: 2

Juvenile delinquency occasionally leads to a life of adult crime; however, most people tend to minimize their delinquent behavior as they mature. Young people learn traits that shape their future behavior and internal personal character traits. Nonetheless, social factors such as family relations and proximity to criminal friends assist in determining whether a young adult takes up a life of crime or significantly reduces it as they reach maturity. The developmental theory acutely defines the dynamic change in a young adult’s life and the possibility of a master trait that controls the behavioral tendencies of young delinquents and their propensity to mature into a life of crime.

One significant factor is the change of responsibilities and reduced criminal opportunities as young adults mature. Young adults socialize more in schools, playgrounds, and social gathering sites such as restaurants. These interactions increase the frequency teenagers are exposed to criminal friends or their ability to minimize peer pressure from joining such groups (Siegel & Welsh, 2017). However, maturity demands responsibility from young adults as they enter the working field and seek to create a stable life. These social demands determine whether a young adult remains in a life of crime or commits to a more secure and stable financial route. The process is dynamic and changes over time, as defined by the life course theory. Ultimately, the external factors and a reduction in social groups assist young adults in negating a life of adult crime.

However, the internal characteristics of a person, such as their character traits and attitudes, may influence whether they abandon a life of crime. Parental involvement at a young age and investment in child emotional growth guides the decision-making capabilities of young adults. According to Siegel & Welsh (2017), the parental unit in one’s life or the involvement of a sober guardian serves as a forewarning to experiences that may destabilize and harm the child’s life. Moreover, children obtain some of their personality traits from watching their parents. Repeated exposure and clear communication among a family crucially help negate delinquency and re-direct young criminals to more mature behavioral tendencies.

For instance, Steve, currently aged 26, was a heavy cannabis user and abuser for most of his high school years. His drug use derailed his academic performance and adversely impacted his social interactions at boarding school. Nonetheless, his parents were supportive and strived to ingrain him with the correct attitudes and behavior to address life’s problems adequately. Upon entering university, Steve was placed at a local community college and was forced to interact with his parents more than he did at a younger age. This support and exposure to mature examples of a stable, crime-free life influenced and established the character traits he used to negate his life of evil influences. Furthermore, the attitudes ingrained in him from a young age gained an opportunity to grow and flourish, enabling him to secure a job after graduation and become a profitable society member.

In conclusion, development theory encompasses life course and latent trait theories. To fully understand why young delinquents move away from a life of crime as they mature, a combination of both theories. Negative influences while young such as gangs and lack of proper adult role models, may drive youth to a life of crime. Furthermore, their personality traits and attitudes may not evolve while constantly in a lousy company and under the influence of peer pressure. Young adults who eventually shun a life of crime as they mature can be defined by developmental theory since these changes are gradual and nurtured under the correct guidance. Negative social group influences decrease as one transitions into adulthood, revealing personal character traits embedded in childhood leading to fewer crimes as adults.


Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. (2017). Juvenile delinquency: The Core (4th ed.). Cengage Learning.

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