America: Breeding a Culture of Violence


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From a study done on violent crimes committed in North Carolina, it was found that between 1988 and 1994 arrests of juveniles for violent crimes increased by 73.3%. While the violent crime rate has decreased since 1994, it still remains well above the crime rate prior to 1988. Clearly, America has experienced an unprecedented spike in violent crimes committed by youth. The question is what has provoked youth to commit more violent acts today than ever before? Where have the youth of today gone wrong?

The main reasons as to why youth in America commit violent acts are: failure in school, family issues, substance abuse problems, behavior issues, and gang membership. In this blog I will focus on family issues and parental involvement that lead youth to commit more crimes, because often the state of a family can affect the other four issues (substance abuse, behavior issues, and gang membership).

Overall, youth in single parent households are significantly more likely to commit violent crimes. Firstly, this is due to the fact that children in single parent households typically have less supervision. Less supervision means kids have more free time to get involved with drugs, alcohol, and gangs. Parental households with little supervision are always more likely to have children that commit crimes later in life. Secondly, it was found that parent-child separation (which occurs frequently in single parent households) before age 10 is a consistent indicator that the child will commit more crimes when they are older.  Parent-child separation can lead to behavior issues such as acting out in school and juvenile delinquency.

While lack of supervision and parent-child separation are factors that contribute to single parent youth who commit violent acts, they can also affect dual parent households. However, the larger issues that tend to affect children in dual parent households are marital problems. Children in households with parental arguments and marital problems, before the age of 10, are almost always more likely to engage in violent behavior around the age of 18. Households with marital problems are likely to induce alcohol and drug related problems in children. This is just another example how family issues can affect other issues (like drug and alcohol abuse) that lead children to commit violent crimes(information click here).

The most significant issue for both single parent households and dual parent households is the discipline style and the acceptance of violence. It was found that strict styles of discipline (including use of corporal punishment on children or verbal abuse) before the age of 10 lead youth in both single and dual parent households to commit more crimes. Further, for parents who tolerant violent behavior in their children before the age of 10, their children are 10 times more likely to commit violent crimes. The tolerance of violence lead children to believe that violence is acceptable and that it can be a solution to their problems.  Parents who strictly discipline their children and allow their children to exhibit violent behavior are more likely to have children who will commit violent acts later in life(for more info click here).

It is clear that one of the main factors in the increasing violence in America is the parenting of today's youth. The real issue with the parenting styles today seems to be that parents have forgotten the integral role they play in the kind of person their child becomes. Parents need to step up and become role models and realize that their actions, whether it be just be tolerating violence from their children or disciplining their children violently, affect the kind of person their children will grow up to be. Parents need to hold themselves to a higher standard if we ever want to see a decrease in youth violence. I believe that stopping the cycle of violence that seems to be plaguing America starts with parents stepping up and becoming role models for their children.

3 Comments

I definitely think family issues and parental involvement play a huge role in he likeliness of America's youth to commit crimes. I ultimately agreed with your point saying that in order for things to change the one thing that needs to happen is that parents need to remember they are role models and start acting like it. On the other hand, I think there is another huge factor that plays into violence among youth that you didn't really mention and that is social influences. I actually just read about a study that found gun violence in U.S movies was on the rise, to be exact in the past 20 years gun violence in movies has more than tripled! While the study did say they couldn't "draw a direct causal link between the movies and rise in public/school shootings" they did say that it coincides with the events. Personally I feel like it has to play a part in it. Hollywood is glorifying guns and violence in their movies and its only normal that some people (definitely not everyone) buy into the hype and decide to become like the vigilantes they see in the movies.
You can read more about the study i mentioned here -> http://www.deadline.com/2013/11/gun-violence-in-u-s-movies-on-the-rise-pg-13-levels-exceed-r-rated-films-study/

I agree with this post. It is under my firm belief that in this day and age the kids who are raised in a poor way by their parents or raised by only one parent are more likely to turn out as thugs and commit crimes. I put more stock in that notion then I do the argument that "Violent video games create them". Parents are suppose to guide us as we grow older and make sure we learn the essential values that most humans have, without that guide kids with no guidance tend to have to fend on their own and thus do not have the knowledge or skills to make the right decisions in life.

Over Thanksgiving break my family and I were actually discussing this issue of how America has changed for the worse. Even a decade ago violence wasn't as 'big'. Now you hear about stabbings because of someone taking somone elses parking spot. I also think a main factor in the new era of violence is because of movies and video games that the youth play and watch. I've noticed that movies these days seem to be extremely violent which gives people ideas. Also there are video games where people beat each other to death of shoot one another. This is not a good example and contrinbutes to the violence now a days. Here's an article that shows you how Americans are becoming more violent due to video games and movies.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/12/17/do-video-games-make-kids-violent/

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