There are many thoughts about what causes juvenile delinquency. Some of these opinions are easy to discredit, while others seem to be more of a personal opinion than fact. However, there are some true scientifically-based reasons that have been shown to be directly associated with delinquency.


School Problems


Children that miss a lot of schools or have trouble with schoolwork when they are at school often find themselves more prone to get into trouble. These children often feel like outsiders in their class. This lack of discipline for going to school on a regular basis gives these children a sense that school, and by proxy authority, is just not important. For those who fall behind in classwork or have a difficult time keeping up, they feel less-than the other children and often do not want to be in school.

While some special programs are in place to help these children catch up on their schoolwork, they do not always work. In fact, there are cases where placing these children into remedial classes often makes them feel worse and more prone to getting into trouble. The only real solution is active interactions with these children from parents and school staff to make the children feel secure about going to school and their schoolwork without calling them out as being behind,


Lack of Adult Influence


Children mimic their parents and other close adults. This is how it has always been. Even though this mimicking slows as the children age, it still happens. Children also seek approval from their parents or adult guardians. Lack of this approval or the inability to gain it can turn a child to delinquency.

The old saying that a child will “act up to get attention” is true. Sometimes bad attention is acceptable to the child because it is better than no attention. If a child cannot get the approval or guidance from a parent or close adult, they will seek this guidance and approval elsewhere, and often in the wrong places.


Basic Necessities


There are living conditions that make it impossible for a child or teen to stay out of trouble. Lack of food and water, lack of clean clothes, or a safe and warm place to sleep can drive a child to criminal acts so that they can provide those necessities for themselves.

Sadly, many of these children who get into trouble to provide for themselves also miss school, have little adult influence, and turn to a less desirable crowd of associates to get what they need to survive. It is an escalating problem that can lead to a lifetime of criminal activity if left unchecked.


Peer Pressure


Saying that peer pressure can lead to juvenile delinquency seems a little bit cliché. Cliché or not, it is still a very prominent factor in delinquency. If a child finds themselves surrounded by other people that are getting into trouble, they are more likely to get into trouble so that they fit in.

In high crime areas, many children and teens will give in to peer pressure as a way to stay safe. Children that would otherwise avoid breaking the law may find it necessary to break the rules so that they are not harmed by local gangs or abusive adults.




Addictions to drugs or alcohol by the immediate family members or by the teen themselves can have a significant impact on whether or not the child gets involved in delinquent acts. A child may steal or get into trouble when their guardian is an addict because they need necessities. Or, if they have an addiction themselves, they may get into trouble to support their habit.


Just Because A Teen Gets Into Trouble Does Not Mean They Have To Stay In Trouble


If you look at the causes of delinquency, you can see there is a common theme. Lack of parental or guardian involvement in the lives of the child or teen can open the door to delinquency. However, just because a teen gets into trouble does not mean they have to stay in trouble for the rest of their lives.

If your child has been accused of a criminal act, the first thing that you need to do is speak to a Waukesha criminal defense lawyer that is dedicated to juvenile cases. An attorney that understands the importance of aggressively representing a minor who is accused of a crime will help the accused get the best possible outcome for their case.

Many children and teens that get into trouble have a backstory that must be examined and evaluated and heard. The court must know what the driving force behind the actions. This is the only way that the accused can get a fair trial. It is also the only way to establish a fair penalty if a penalty is necessary.

Your Waukesha criminal defense lawyer may be able to show the court that different interventions would be more appropriate for the teen that is standing accused. Instead of a conviction and jail time, the teen may benefit more from a program that encourages growth and understanding. They may need counseling and addiction rehabilitation. There may be other programs available that would help the teen recover and move on from this mistake.

It has been shown that if given a chance, many children and teens that get into trouble and have to go before the court will change their lives if given a chance. Because there is this much potential for turning their lives around with the right outcome to the trial, every effort should be made at rehabilitation programs that do not brand the accused as a criminal.

Mistakes are made, especially when you are a teen. Teens are still learning how to make the right choices as they approach adulthood, and sometimes, they do not make the right ones. It is the obligation of society to find a way for these teens to be given a second chance so that they can make the right choices now and in the future.


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