Factors Leading to Bad Juvenile Behavior

Often referred to as juvenile delinquency, bad juvenile behavior can be caused by many factors. Mental health professionals describe delinquency as a pattern of bad or disruptive behavior, such as bulling and lying, which may lead to more serious anti-social activities, such as fighting and stealing. If not corrected, bad juvenile behavior can have far-reaching ramifications, such as serious bodily injury, arrest or death, for both you and your teen.

Biological Factors

Biological influences specific to the individual child are often factors leading to bad juvenile behavior. Anti-social behavior, defined as actions that show a lack of consideration for others, is considered to have a biological origin. Other biological issues, such as abnormally high or low behavioral triggers in response to slow cognitive growth and abnormal emotional development, can also lead to bad juvenile behavior. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly referred to as ADHA, can cause children to act out on a consistent basis. In many cases, biological factors can be remedied, or at least mitigated, with medical treatment and cognitive therapy.

Environmental Factors

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that issues present in a child’s environment are often a catalyst for bad behavior 1. Failure to make friends at school or poor academic performance can often be the cause of juvenile delinquency. Poverty and living in a dangerous neighborhood will sometimes lead children to engage in criminal activities. If your child has easy access to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or weapons, he may turn to risky behavior as a way to escape the pressure of what he feels is an unhappy life.

Social Factors

Nothing happens in a vacuum, and children often assimilate the behavior of those around them. If your child is exposed to negative family and peer pressures, she may begin engaging in bad behavior. Poor role modeling or mistreatment by parents, such as abusive behavior or neglect, can start your child down the wrong path. Family dilemmas, such as divorcing parents or teen pregnancy, may become triggers for bad behavior in your child. Certain mental illness, such as a parent with anti-social behavior that was not genetically passed on, may be picked up through modeling. Allowing your child to associate with the wrong group of friends is frequently a primary factor in her developing bad juvenile behavior.

Punitive Factors

Subjecting your child to extremely harsh punitive measures, administered by yourself or others, often leads to increasing bad juvenile behavior. Excessive punishment can severely damage your child’s mental well-being, causing depression and other maladies. In a study entitled “The Dangers of Detention,” the Justice Policy Institute reports that many incarcerated youth develop poor mental health, which actually escalates the likelihood that they will further engage in negative behaviors 3. The report states that a study on incarcerated youth in Arkansas found that not only were incarcerated youth at risk for a high rate of residuum, but that incarceration actually increased the odds of them becoming repeat offenders.