Parents can take an active role to promote mental health and prevent delinquent behaviours in their children. How?

Three researchers were awarded the Stockholm prize in criminology for showing how parents could prevent a child from becoming delinquent. One of them is Professor Travis Hirschi from University of Arizona.

Here is the news article. Click here for the news article

Let me focus on the following:

How can parents take an active role in preventing delinquent behaviours in their children?

According to the Cambridge dictionary, delinquency means behaviour, especially of a young person, that is illegal or not acceptable to most people. For example, a young person who commits crime.

We can argue that the burden of delinquency prevention rest on multiples factors such as parents, school environment, teachers and government agencies.  However, ultimately , we as parents have the most control over the behaviours of our children.  We need to put our hearts and will to set clear priorities on raising confident and mature kids. We need to put our family first above everything else.

A Survey from Columbia University showed that children from families who had dinner together for five to seven times per week were significantly less likely to experiment with illegal drugs or substances.

By simply taking an active interest in the lives of our children such as spending time to listen, understand and talk to them, we are actually filling up the “emotional tank” of our kids and help to prevent delinquency.

A sociology professor at the University of Arizona, Travis Hirschi  studied 4,077 teenagers in a crime-ridden suburb of San Francisco, USA. He collected police records, self-reported criminal activities and the teens’ own attitudes. His large research showed the paramount importance of the child’s attachment to parents in shaping a decent attitude.

Even with criminal parents, Hirschi found that a strong attachment to one or both parents helped prevent delinquency.

Hence, if we want to raise our children to become responsible citizens with good mental and emotional well being, we must and we need to spend time to nurture our relationships/attachments with our children. There is no short cut or or two ways about it!


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