During adolescence, an individual will naturally gravitate towards behaviour that challenges the expected ideals given to them by their surrounding community. As a person goes through life, to school or college, at home, and in various places like a friend's house, at the park, or youth club, the various mentalities will shift around a point of reference depending on the particular crowd, rules, and traditions of the groups.
Within places such as these, behaviour again can be sectioned off into types depending on which grouping or social standing is being observed. In a natural environment, these observations will take place and inform any present individual as to what can be acceptable, what is not acceptable, and what is generally preferred. With each behaviour set presented, mismatches will occur between what is observed and the unique environments an individual will inhabit. These become the sources of learned behaviour that will push, test, and deliberately go against preferred behaviour in other situations.
This initial testing of social attitudes according to influence and behaviour is normal and is not usually considered delinquency. Within a few years children become adults and it is important for them to think independently and demonstrate ability to adapt behaviour and attitude. Testing and repeating characteristics of friends and influences is a natural progression that is required in order to establish learned and adequate adult characteristics. Trial and error in the growing personality is paramount to growth and personal evolution.
When a characteristic that demonstrates a clear inversion to acceptable behaviour and protocol manifests, in the way that it appears to be the opposite of what is needed and persists in being so despite protest, a delinquent characteristic has begun to form. These can initially be seeded from influence and peer pressure, as well as an inner sense of inability to conform to what is expected, or cope with what is required. There are three main forms of delinquency that have distinct and separate roots, issues, and mentalities, first described in the 50s and adapted over time to envelop the humanity within effect.
The first type of delinquent subculture is the criminal element, organised crime and petty crime both as varying degrees of seriousness. When a young individual turns to crime, it is a mixture of peer pressure and desire for material things. In some cases desire for basic amenities like food and clothing can lead to criminal activity, however in developed nations this is less likely. More often it is the privileges of money that lead people to desire more than they have, and turn to criminal behaviour to get it. It can be initially rewarding, and with continual pressure from friends to conform to their lifestyle, an individual can quickly be groomed into a criminal lifestyle, and become dependent on it in a short period of time.
The nature of its spread is mainly due to the fact that others involved wish to groom new recruits into their lifestyle, firstly to offer validation for their own choices in the observation of others taking the same ones for similar reasons, and the issue of using individuals for their own gain but without doing the criminal act themselves. Often the fear of being caught leads groomed criminals into encouraging others to take part in the crimes instead, and therefore keeping their part as small as possible. This cycle of criminal activity and grooming typically occurs in areas where money is short, but not always. The targets of richer areas tend to be in correlation with the increase of wealth in the community.
Secondly, there is the conflict subculture. This grouping chooses to partake in violent activity, causing harm to others, spreading fear, intimidation, and unease throughout their communities. There are many forms of violent subculture, and they can be gang orientated, sports orientated, politically orientated, or simply violent for some internal emotional reason, for example to emulate their favourite musicians or films. When violent attitudes occur, the disgust towards the opposing group, the subject of their violence, is what causes the behaviour. It is a learned thinking that these people on the the other side deserve to be punished, hurt, abused, and treated as less than human. For the most, within the given subculture, violence towards the opposing groups is rewarded with social capital and status, thus reinforcing the acceptability of the action. Within the group, they are the good guys, and any action taken against the opposing side is seen as an action against the bad guys. This moralising of violent activity allows the group to continue in a self sufficient rampage without much moral questioning from within. Any external questioning can result in immediate association with the other side, ending in violence. This continual threat makes it very difficult to reach out to these individuals. Having a violent mentality can be caused by an excess of anger that has no appropriate funnel for safe expression, or simply because the individual has learned violence as a way of life from a young age.
The third and least harmful group of delinquent characteristics are the retreatist types. These characters will avoid life and its dynamics through drugs, or simply extreme introversion. It is often the case that coping with life's trials and requirements is too much for these types and they prefer to withdraw into a private life that separates them from the working of normal society. Lack of confidence and inability to conform with standards presented often lead to individuals leaning towards retreating from life, and if allowed to become extreme, this can seriously affect a person's chances of having a full and interesting life.
With all three types of harmful behaviour that can be grouped together to describe delinquency, the effects on communities can be severe. The house prices can lower, the quality of life can lower, and the motivations of the younger generation can be seriously affected. Influences occur in the background, and we cannot control what happens around us or what the T.V. Channel chooses to air, but we can always remember that as parents and friends, we always have the chances and ability to be good wholesome influences on those around us.
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