‘Juvenile’

Criminals: Parents Aren’t Always At Fault

does parenting play a role in whether the child becomes a criminal? | Kenneth Padowitz | Criminal Lawyer in South Florida

Parenting and Criminality Mental health professionals have been at the forefront of answering the questions that mortify the rest of us. In what environment and under what conditions did a one-time murderer, serial killer or mass shooter grow up? Among a growing number of factors, the parents of criminals receive a great deal of scrutiny. Could they have played a role in shaping up who the criminal becomes in the future? What else plays a role in determining whether juveniles or adults break the law and are charged with crimes? What We Think versus What Is True For most of us, the answer to the last question is a resounding yes. The assumption appears to be that good parents turn out good children who become respectable, law-abiding adults and vice versa for bad parents and criminals. The conviction stems from our remedial understanding of human development. The long-held belief is that at birth, children have a clean slate. They are pure, innocent, little cuties like a fertile soil. Therefore, it is the universal duty of parents all over to instill right training, much like a farmer planting… Read More

Juvenile Sex Offender: Myth versus Reality

juvenile sex offender registration | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

Busting the Myth It goes by different apothegms, “Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior,” “A ticking time bomb,” “Old habits die hard”… Whatever form it takes, the idea is simple and generalized. That one who has committed an offense before is more likely to commit the same offense again. It even has a fancy word “recidivism.” The idea permeates the public space. Such that just about any average person on the street would accept that any juvenile arrested for a sex offense poses a significant or high (depending on who you converse with) public safety risk and would very likely be a sex offender in his or her adult years. It is a feeling that has been watered and nursed by the media and informal chatters. The fact is, that is not accurate. To prove the inaccuracy of the widely held public opinion, an authority figure on juvenile delinquency, Michael Caldwell went all in to ascertain the accurate risk estimate of a juvenile arrested for committing a sex offense. Caldwell, an academician at University of Wisconsin in Madison, took up the pedantic task of… Read More

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY | THEORIES AND RISK FACTORS – PT. 5

delinquent peer influence | Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Kenneth Padowitz

While individual and family risk factors play a larger role early in life, negative peer influences usually begin to play an increasingly larger role in early adolescence. A relationship between delinquent peer influence and juvenile offending is generally well established throughout the field of forensic psychology; what is unclear though is whether or not this association with delinquent peers is a result of antisocial tendencies developed earlier in life, or if it actually contributes to the overall risk of developing delinquent behavior. It has been suggested that deviant peer groups do in fact influence non-delinquent individuals to become delinquent. According to the National Youth Survey of juveniles ages eleven to seventeen, a common pattern that was seen was a child switching from a non-delinquent peer group to a deviant peer group, resulting in the commission of various minor offenses, and in some cases more severe crimes. Gang membership is also strongly correlated with self-reported criminal activity. It is suggested that the association of peer groups with antisocial tendencies leads to a greater suspiciousness of other people’s motives, resulting in further hostile and aggressive responses to those outside… Read More

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY | THEORIES AND RISK FACTORS – PT. 4

criminal attorney | Juvenile delinquency risk factors

Environmental factors, which include both static and dynamic factors, are also believed to play a significant role in the proper development of a child.It was found that low-income children had a significantly higher risk of antisocial behavior before the age of 5, leading to criminal behavior in adolescence in mixed neighborhoods, compared to those living in concentrated poverty. Non-poor children are also associated with higher levels of antisocial behavior when living in mixed neighborhoods, compared to children surrounded by equally affluent families. Although these individuals are at higher risk of becoming delinquent, the majority of children living in poverty or mixed neighborhoods do not grow to become juvenile offenders; this is referred to as resiliency, a term used to describe an individual’s ability to grow into an adult who lives a socially acceptable lifestyle, despite the exposure to any negative risk factors. Family factors can include parenting practices, divorce, and family size. It has been found that the families of children with conduct problems are eight times more likely to be involved in disciplinary conflict, and are half as likely to engage in positive interactions with parents… Read More

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY | THEORIES AND RISK FACTORS – PT. 3

criminal defense attorney | Risk factors for criminal behavior

In the field of forensic psychological research, not only is importance given to the neurophysiological, cognitive, and psychosocial components of juvenile delinquency that were discussed above, but interest is also given to the various ecological and individual, risk and protective factors of juvenile offending. Risk factors are often used to assess the probability of an individual becoming delinquent, and the chances for repeat offending. Risk factors generally include any individual or environmental factors that increase the likelihood of negative behaviors or juvenile offending. Protective factors are thought to decrease the likelihood of negative behavior, or mitigate the negative effect of certain risk factors. Some factors are considered to be static, which are unable to be changed, such as the increased risk of criminal behavior in the male gender; others are dynamic factors, which can potentially be changed, such as inadequate parenting or discipline. The number of factors, and the length of exposure to them, determines the severity of the impact on the child’s behavior. Individual factors are often thought to be the most influential during early years, and include the individual’s temperament. Low intelligence, and the existence of… Read More

Juvenile Delinquency | Theories and Risk Factors – pt. 2

Juvenile brain development | Criminal Attorney Kenneth Padowitz

Judgment theory identifies three developmental factors that explain why, when compared to adults, adolescents tend to make poorer choices: risk perception and preference, peer influence, and temporal perspective. According to judgment theory, adolescents are more sensitive to reward, and less sensitive to the idea of potential punishment or harm. As an individual develops and becomes a young adult, the idea of potential harm or future loss begins to play a larger role in the decision making process. Throughout adolescence, the way peers perceive an individual becomes increasingly important, placing the individual at a higher risk of being negatively influenced compared to adult counterparts. Furthermore, adolescents are more likely to identify the short-term benefits, instead of the potential long-term consequences; even when the long-term implications are identified, an adolescent has less capacity to appropriately weigh the short and long-term consequences. Deficits caused by these three developmental factors slowly begin to taper off as the individual reaches adulthood. This may help explain why crime tends to rise in early adolescence, with a peak in late adolescence, and begins slowly fading in young adulthood. The executive function, defined as a… Read More

Juvenile Delinquency | Theories and Risk Factors

juvenile delinquency | criminal attorney

Although some individuals may be born with a predisposition to violence or criminal behavior, the general consensus among forensic psychologists is that in the majority of cases, beginning at birth, a child is exposed to various risk factors that contribute to the development of antisocial behaviors and juvenile offending. Juvenile delinquency, the focus of these posts, will be explored in greater detail in terms of the reasons for antisocial behavior and any measures that can be taken to prevent an offending trajectory; beginning with the relevant statistics pertaining to juvenile criminal activity, and the various well-known psychological theories on the causes of juvenile delinquency, including: the theories of judgment and decision making, along with the social neurocognitive developmental approach. We will explore the various risk factors of juvenile offending and recidivism. Recent research findings will also be mentioned as they relate to the discussion of the topic. A brief discussion on adolescents’ abilities to make informed decisions regarding their rights and their criminal cases will also be included in the last entry. In 2010, 4% of individuals 18 and below were arrested in the United States, which… Read More

Parental Alienation Syndrome | How Common Is It?

Parental alienation syndrome | Criminal Attorney

Parental Alienation Syndrome During a divorce, most reasonable parents will believe that it is in the best interest of the child if they have a healthy relationship with both parents. What may seem more important at the time is the strengthening of their own parent-child relationship. Parental alienation syndrome occurs when one parent unconsciously, or in many cases consciously, manipulates their child into disliking the other parent. Even if both parents have good intentions, one may unintentionally bad-mouth or make negative comments about the other parent; the child may begin to side with one or the other, and in the most severe cases, will refuse to see or talk to the “alienated” parent. Cases of alienation have been reported even in “friendly” divorces. As cases of divorce have been increasing in recent years, parental alienation has also become more common. Many mild cases, in which the disturbance between the alienated parent and child is subtle, may be misinterpreted as normal part of adjusting to the divorce; many cases of parental alienation and PAS go unreported. Parental alienation is a term, which is focused on the parent’s behavior;… Read More

Risk Factors For Criminal Behavior | A Child’s Preschool Experience

Risk Factors for Criminal Behavior | Preschool and Day Care

Preschool Experience Over the last forty years or so, children have been gradually shifting from parental home care, to nursery school or other types of day care. The percentage of mothers with children under the age of 6, and working full time jobs outside of the home, increased from 12% in 1947, to over 70% as of today. About 15-20% of these children are actually in two or more different forms of day care throughout the week. Due to the high employment turnover and the low pay offered to day care providers, the average nursery or after school day care center in the United States is arguably mediocre at best; although there are certainly exceptions to this statement. It has been shown by researchers that average and below average child care puts a child at risk for developmental delays or impairments in language abilities, cognitive development, as well as lower ratings on a scale of emotional and social wellbeing; those in non-parental care for more than thirty hours a week are also at an increased risk for stress-related behavioral problems later on in life. Children with families living in… Read More

Risk Factors for Criminal Behavior | Peer Rejection

Peer Rejection | Risk Factors for the Development of Adult Criminal Behavior | Antisocial

Peer Rejection It has been continually shown over the years by developmental psychologists that a child’s peer relationships are essential in proper emotional and social development of an individual. Around the time of puberty, these adolescents begin to become more susceptible to the influence of their friends, and less susceptible to the influence of family or parents. A strong predictor of teenage alcohol or drug abuse is whom children choose to become friends with; this relationship has been quite obvious for some time now. Like poverty living conditions, the relationship between peer rejection and criminal behavior is less obvious than for substance abuse, but nonetheless does exist. Starting in early childhood around the elementary school years, being accepted by peers is crucial in the normal development of a child. Healthy psychological and social development requires being exposed to various social situations that a peer group can provide. Researchers have shown a significant link between rejection in the early years of first grade and antisocial-type behaviors in fourth grade. Research went further to show that individuals who felt they were rejected for two to three years had a 50%… Read More