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Asked 27th Jan, 2014

Is there any relationship between family functions and juvenile delinquents?

I want to find evidence of the relationship.
7th Oct, 2014
Alexandra Castle Ph.D.
Bellingrath Family Law
Can you clarify for me what you mean by "family functions".  When I was doing my doctorate, my faculty advisor Dr. Robert Cairns specialized in delinquency, development of gangs, development of aggression etc all varied with a wide variety of family, poverty (the biggest influence on almost anything), etc.  Family structure and practices was extraordinarily important in both a contributory as well as insulation against development of antisocial behaviors.  One interesting observation I made was the prevalence of what I call the "rose colored glasses" phenomenon.  We all see the world and ourselves a bit higher than the mean.  Even in high poverty areas, families still did not see their plight accurately.  This phenomenon seems to factor into things like school drop out.  The kids who you would anticipate from their academic and family issues and experiences are not necessarily the ones who drop out..  So you still have very poor African American males with responsibility for multiple children born when both parents were very young teens, few social skills and even fewer academic successes still having beliefs that are extremely optimistic.  When asked what they want to do after school, a typical inner city kid in an Urban culture in the US, will still say that he wants to go to college and be a fireman or a police officer etc.  This, while having flunked two or more grades.  Things don't get bad for lots of these kids until that optimistic view of possibilities is shattered.  Then they drop out, get into gangs etc.   Studying these kids is a very complicated task and if you really want to get a grasp on it not only do you have to look at loads of variables simultaneously but over a period of time.  
Family factors usually include parenting practices (coercive vs authoritative parenting), SES, parental involvement in school activities (not necessarily true in non US countries), religion as it affects belief and behaviors etc etc.  So I guess what I am trying to say is that there are thousands of researchers out there specializing in family factors and development of anti social behaviors so you have to be very very specific about what you are trying to study and how.  Are you looking at ethnographic kinds of studies based on external observations or are you looking at the high correlation of specific family factors and how they relate to the development of behaviors in adolescents.  When is the sweet spot for these influences to occur across time?  When do we need to intervene and how?  Is what you are doing descriptive or prescriptive?  I would love more information of what you are trying to do and what your methodology would be.
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