PARENTAL BACKGROUND AND DELINQUENCY AMONG YOUTH
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Juvenile delinquency is an age-long problem. It is a social problem that has fathered enormous trends in our society and it cuts across the globe. It has also recently taken new dimensions in villages, urban, suburban areas and in schools. The problem increases and becomes less manageable especially now that the economy of the nation is almost in a state of collapse. Juvenile delinquency has to do with a crime committed by youths and it means different things to different people depending on how the society sees it. Reports of juvenile delinquency abound on the front and back covers of our dailies and the offences committed by the youths range from stealing, pilfering drug abuse, sex, armed robbery and other deviant behaviours. This has given parents, social workers, the police, psychologists, sociologists and the government a great deal of concern about the possible causes and ways of preventing delinquent acts.
On the reasons for juvenile delinquency, some are of the view that the family is the root cause of juvenile delinquency because of the laxity in the up bringing of children. Others think that the causes of juvenile delinquency stem from the individual youths, that is peer group pressure, the environment the children interact with, poor socio-economic background of the parents, broken homes, watching movies and reading pornographic materials etc.
In Akwa Ibom State, the incidence of juvenile delinquency is probably not different from the trends elsewhere in Nigeria. perhaps it was because of the attitude of the youths in the State that made the state government to enact a law in 1997 making it an offence for any school child to roam the streets during school hours. To implement this law, a task force had been set up to monitor the truancy of these children and any child(ren) arrested for violating this law was made to pay a fine by the parents before being released.
Experience has also shown that most of our youngsters go delinquent because of the hard effect of the economic depression on different families as the children are allowed to fend for themselves by selling. Since there are no confirmed statistical records to indicate the number of delinquents in Akwa Ibom State and especially Uyo Urban, the trends in juvenile delinquency, offences committed, sexes most prone to delinquency and age trends in delinquency, it calls for a survey of the Remand Home Uyo on the incidence of juvenile delinquency so as to establish authentic situation and records.
1.2 STATEMENTS OF THE PROBLEM
In contemporary Nigeria Communities especially the urban ones, children no more respect elders and their behaviour deviate from standard expected by the society. There has been a general belief that adolescents exhibit a lot of problem behaviours because they think of themselves as independent and self-reliant, they always seek adventures, which makes them to involve themselves in all sorts of misdeeds and delinquent acts. Juvenile delinquency is one of the areas which poses problems to the Nigeria Government and the general public as a whole. Truancy among our juveniles has become a problem that almost every family and school has faced. Also drug addiction has found its way into the Nigerian society and is thriving among the youths. There seems to be an absence of a sense of value of those thing such as respect for elders, respect for human life and property, and other things which are traditionally thought to be noble. Sexual laxity and teenage pregnancy are other areas that demand attention from the adult world. Teenage pregnancy is more rampant now than ever before, with its resultant effect of dropping out of schools and causing untold hardship to parents. Children now become mothers when they are not adequately able to cope with parentage psychologically, emotionally, financially and physically.
If youths are allowed to go delinquent, they might constitute a nuisance or menace to the government and the general public as a whole. The presence of a delinquent child in the family raises the anxiety of the parents. The future of the country is in jeopardy if the character of our youths is paralysed with the delinquent offences and social ills because a delinquent child today is likely to become a criminal adult tomorrow, hence there is no hope for a better future of good and dynamic leaders in Nigeria as a whole and Akwa Ibom State in particular. It is against this background that this study is carried out to find out the root causes and possible ways of reducing the incidence of juvenile delinquency among our youths.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The specific objective of the study is to find out how parental characteristics are related to the cases of juvenile delinquency among young children. Others are;
1. To find out socio-economic factors that are associated with juvenile delinquency.
2. To find out the offences which juveniles in the remand Home are accused most of committing.
3. To know the variability in delinquency with regards to sex and age of the youths.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study which focuses on the incidence of juvenile delinquency in socio-economic classes of parents, the rate of juvenile delinquency among the sexes and age bands, will be useful in providing statistics on juvenile delinquency in Uyo urban. It will be valuable to the government in helping to determine where to channel its resources in an attempt to check juvenile delinquency. This research is expected to contribute in the area of helping to the dimension of juvenile delinquency in our society and will help in bringing in limitation on the cause and the consequence of this social problem. The study will also help guidance counselors decide on strategies to use in providing assistance in respect of some deviant behaviours among the youths as well as educating parents on how to help their children. Most significantly, it will identify the needed strategies and demand that could be used by parents, law enforcement agencies and others in checking their problems in our societies especially in the urban areas. It will also be of immense importance to researchers who may wish to carryout more studies on various aspects of juvenile delinquency in Akwa Ibom State.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to Uyo Remand Home. It is also limited to the distribution of juvenile delinquency in terms of age ranging from 6-17 years. The study is also limited to both sexes, that is male and female, educational level such as primary, secondary and tertiary and the nature of offences or deviant behaviours committed by juveniles. Finally, it has to do with the incidence of juvenile delinquency among the socio-economic statuses (Low, middle, and high) and parental marital status of the inmates of the Remand Home.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This research intends to answer the following questions:
1. Is there any relationship between parental socio-economic status and the incidence of juvenile delinquency among youths?
2. Is there any difference in the occurrence of delinquent acts committed by male and female delinquents?
3. Is there any relationship between parent’s marital status and the incidence of juvenile delinquency among youths?
1.7 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES
From the above research questions, the following hypotheses have been formulated:
1. There are more occurrences of acts of delinquency among children who belong to parents with low socio-economic status.
2. Incidence of delinquent acts varies with the sex of the delinquent.
3. Children living with single parents commit more acts of delinquency than children living with both parents.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Socio-economic status of parents is measured in terms of their location in the occupation.
DELINQUENCY: This is a (criminal) offence(s) committed by a youth or a young person below eighteen (18) years of age which is an age below legal responsibility Cole, Olawunmi Adetokumbo (June, 1995). Christiansen (1983) sees truancy, running away, persistent lying etc as some of the indicators of delinquency. This also means such acts as defined by the Remand Home as delinquent.
YOUTH: The state or period of being young (Oxford English Dictionary). The World Youth refers to any person from the date of his birth to the age of detachment from parents. In Nigeria, a full-grown age is 21. So long as a child is being cared for by the parents is still a child (Warimie Jaja (1998).
REMAND HOME: An institution where delinquent children and law breaking children are custodied.
MARITAL STATUS: For the purpose of this study, marital status means married or single (that is parents living together and single parents).
NORMS: Established standards of behaviour maintained by a society.
OUTSIDE INFLUENCE: This refers to any other influence that affects the child delinquent behaviour apart from the family. It involves those a child mingles with outside the family.
INTERNAL INFLUENCE: This relate to the kind of home training and all that a child could lean and adopt from the parents in the course of child rearing.