Criminal Behavior in a Child

While few parents would like to entertain the notion that their child would engage in criminal behavior, juvenile crime records prove that youths can and do perpetrate crimes. By educating yourself on the basics of criminal behavior in children, you may be able to more effectively prevent your child from becoming one of these child perpetrators and marring his future before it even begins.


Causes of Criminal Behavior

There is an array of factors that can lead a child to engage in criminal behavior; however, abuse and neglect appears to be the most common, reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This source states that children who are victims of abuse and neglect are 2.7 times more likely to engage in criminal behavior than those without the negative experiences in their past. If you are charged with taking care of a child who has experienced incidents of this type in his past, dedicate special attention to watching for potential criminal tendencies.

Juvenile Crime Rates

Juvenile crime is, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence. As the U.S. Department of Justice reports, 6,318 of every 100,000 youths between the ages of 10 and 17 were arrested at some point in 2008. This statistic indicates that in a graduating class of 100 students, approximately six of them will likely find trouble with the law.

Gender in Juvenile Crime

While both males and females can commit crimes, actual crime commission is more common among boys, reports the U.S. Department of Justice. This source reports that between 1980 and 1999 a whopping 93 percent of all juvenile criminals were male. While rates of assault among teen females have increased, they have still not even come close to matching the numbers put up by boys of the same age group.

Failure to Fear

There could be an answer as to why some teens seem to head brazenly into a life crime while others avoid it, reports Psychiatric News. This source reports upon a study in which 3-year-olds were rated on fear levels. These children were later checked up upon once they reached adulthood. The study found that the 3-year-olds who exhibited fear in the tests were significantly less likely to have a criminal record than those who exhibited a reduced fear response or no fear response at all. This source states that this difference in reaction to scary situations could be due to an amygdala dysfunction, a portion of the brain that deals with response to scary stimuli.

On the Decline

While it may seem that stories of children in trouble litter the news, statistics show that the number of children committing crimes is actually going down. As the U.S. Department of Justice reports, while youth crime rates do spike from time to time, in general these rates have been dropping, indicates their study of data spanning from 1980 to 2009.

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