How Can Parents Deter Delinquency?

By Eliza Martinez
Delinquency can interfere with your child's future.
Delinquency can interfere with your child's future.

Children who go to court for a crime before the age of 13 are more likely to become repeat offenders, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Parents and schools both play a role in shaping a child's morals so that they are law-abiding people for their whole lives. There are many things you can do to help ensure that your child doesn't become a delinquent during his childhood.


Consistent parenting from the start, non-aggressive discipline and communication are keys to helping prevent delinquent behavior, according to Family Impact Seminars. Educating children is vital to helping to keep them from committing crimes, but classes and workshops for parents are important too. Parents who learn effective parenting techniques have a better chance of guiding their children away from delinquency. Look for workshops or classes that teach you about your child's development, family management, building skills that keep kids away from crime and healthy communication, suggests The National Crime Prevention Council.

Organized Groups

Parents who work a lot and can't spend a lot of time with their children can help deter delinquent behavior by getting their child involved in an organized group. This could be Scouts, Boys and Girls Club or an after-school sport or club. Not only do these groups give your child a safe place to be with peers and other adults, but they also get him involved with the community, according to the Lawyer Shop website. Feeling like a part of their community as well as being accepted by others is a valuable way to keep children from committing crimes. Check out a few options in your area and attend a couple of get-togethers. This allows you to find a group that fits with your child's personality and interests, which increases the chance that he'll enjoy going and get something out of it.

Swift and Consistent Punishment

Should your child get into trouble in the classroom or at a friend's house, it might be tempting to deny it or write it off as a kid being a kid. However, this will teach your child very little about consequences for his actions. Make sure your child completes any punishment he receives at school or under the care of a different guardian. This sends the message that you won't let him get away with poor behavior, helping deter future criminal activity. At the same time, implement consistent consequences at home. Understanding that you'll enforce quick consequences might be enough to keep him from testing you by getting involved in criminal behaviors.

Spend Time Together

Driving to and from school or getting groceries together gives you an opportunity to interact with your child. Have a meal together every day, take a walk to the park after dinner, help him browse the library for a school project or watch your favorite television show together. If you want to instill behavior that is socially acceptable in your child, you must take the time to do so. Children aren't born knowing right from wrong, but must be taught and shown how to behave. As you spend time together, model the behaviors you want to see from your child, suggests the National Crime Prevention Council. Talk to your child every day and ask questions. This way you'll find out important things about his life and he'll get comfortable with coming to you with questions.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.