Juvenile Delinquents and the Educational Issues They Face

Authored by Richard Alan McMahan in Child Education
Published on 07-25-2009

The educational issues facing juvenile delinquents fall into two separate spheres of interest. First, the innate need to express the delinquents self worth so that he or she can develop the self esteem that will engender the personal growth needed to turn away from their antisocial behavior. Second, when that self esteem is formulated, educational opportunities must be offered to develop their capability to find a path that leads to success.

While these two spheres are not mutually exclusive, it is critical to establish self esteem in order to motivate a desire for education in the wayward youth. Like learning to walk before you can run, establishing self worth in a juvenile delinquent will act as a precursor for educational growth and its resultant benefits that lead to success.

Many treatment plans involve building self esteem for juvenile delinquents and there has been academic research into the necessity for the building of self worth as a critical component for juvenile delinquents behavior modification. These programs are available in an abundance of places, including both self help groups and professional therapists, amongst others.

Once self esteem issues have either been resolved or at least reconciled, educational opportunities that provide an alternate path to their antisocial behavior can be explored. It is critical that the need for an education is stressed to the juvenile themselves. While the necessity for a good education might not be appreciated by the juvenile at the time, it is a fundamental necessity for future success and as such, must be focused on as one of singular importance.

There are many educational programs available to juvenile delinquents and all of them are intended to stunt the youth’s progress toward continued antisocial behavior. Some are extreme, such as the “Scared Straight” program which literally attempts to frighten children from their path toward criminal behavior that may lead to incarceration. It is important to determine the level of delinquent behavior that may necessitate a program like this because it is not for the juvenile whose behavior isn’t clearly leading to a dangerous conclusion.

Other programs focus on education itself. These programs feature a curriculum that is geared toward educating the juvenile in academic pursuits while at the same time, features components that take the youth’s delinquent behavior into account in their educational planning. Still other programs focus on increasing the juvenile’s awareness that their actions have consequences and as such, attempt to provide alternate paths for the youth’s success.

In addition, there are public education “secondary schools” available that focus on troubled youths and attempt to educate them as a sort of final opportunity for juvenile delinquents to right the ship before their behavior leads to unfortunate, permanent consequences. Generally, when a youth fails in this final opportunity, prospects for their success diminish greatly and the path to success becomes even more difficult to follow.

It is crucial for opportunities to be available for troubled youths and the educational issues facing juvenile delinquents must be faced head on by a society that not only must keep the youth’s best interests in mind but those of the society itself.


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