What Causes Teenagers to Become Criminals


Many teenagers behave improperly and break the law, take drugs or alcohol and become violent. Adolescents tend to fall into depression more often than adults do. It, in turn, causes them to commit crimes or violate the rules. The reasons for the behavior are different and depend on various factors. Some teenagers commit a crime because of anger problems; the others have some family issues. Moreover, some teens use alcohol or drugs because they find it cool. Many scientists connect teen crimes with their brain activities, and other researchers affirm that criminal behavior can be inherited. Thus, the aim of the research is to find out the most essential reasons for teenage criminal offences.

Why Some Countries Have More Teenage Crime?

The amount of criminals in different countries is different. Most of the surveys show that the highest rate of crimes is in the United States. However, some people object this fact, telling that America just has more guns. The criminal behavior of adults differs from that of teenagers. The fact must be taken into account while conducting a research. Adults often feel regret after taking drugs or breaking the law. Some of them try to change the situation. The others cannot stop and become addicted. Thus, it is essential to discover the hidden causes that kick up teenagers to behave illegally. Though some scientists assert that criminal behavior is in the DNA, the proven reasons are poverty or bad family conditions, peer pressure, and brain activities of the adolescents, which are illustrated in the current research paper.

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What Causes Teenagers to Become Criminals?

Teenagers often begin to act illegally because they live in poor families, experience peer pressure, and their brain activities cannot be controlled. The most important reason is poverty and broken family. Moreover, if children are treated badly, are constantly abused in their families, observe antisocial behavior among the peers, they will be more likely to mistreat their future children and other people, as well as violate the rules and break the laws. If a child is growing up in a poor family and he/she often has nothing to eat, it may cause him/her to steal money and break the rules. Otherwise, the poor children will not be able to stay alive in a rich and expensive world. Thus, their behavior is constrained since they are forced to take some actions when their parents cannot feed them. Besides, some parents can use their children for their personal purpose, since under the Criminal Code Act of Australia, children under fourteen years old can only be criminally responsible for an offence if a child knows that his or her conduct is wrong. Despite the fact that stealing is not a serious offence, if a child commits it, he/she is considered a criminal.

Nevertheless, poverty is not the unique reason for committing a crime. The second reason is a peer influence. Teenagers become parts of some groups. If they do not fit into some gang, they tend to act dangerously to become better in their friends opinion. Moreover, some scientists believe that children, who differ from their classmates and cannot afford buying something, are more likely to become friends with criminal gangs. Thus, they begin using drugs and alcohol and violate the rules.

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Other researches affirm that teenagers cannot control their brain activity, which causes them to behave badly. For instance, Emily Kaiser interviewed professor of psychology Laurence Steinberg who affirmed, Adolescent brains have weak breaks. Teenagers brains are developing until the age of twenty years old. It may explain why people under twenty years of age become addicted to alcohol and drugs more easily and faster than individuals over twenty do. There are many other reasons, which cause adolescents to become criminals; however, family conditions, brain activities, and peers influence are the most important ones.

Reasons teenagers become criminals require realizing the problem of a criminals identity. Thus, the main thing when considering the identity of the juvenile offender is age. It is related to certain biological, psychological and mental changes in the structure of personality. Age-related changes of a person are not a reason and not linked uniquely to the dynamics of basic life relationships. Preservation of basic lie relationships is combined with the volatility of an individual during life under the influence of events, circumstances and others. In addition to the chronological age, there are other types of age, like psychological, pedagogical and physical ones. They do not coincide with each other, which leads to internal conflicts of a person that might have a criminogenic character.

What Causes Teenagers to Become Criminals in Australia?

According to Zoughii, the main factors influencing to a teenagers decision to become a criminal in Australia are poverty, unstable situation in a family like divorces, and admission. Thus, family is the overarching element of society. It is thanks to this cell, a human consciousness is pawned with all values that are guidance throughout life. Everything that happens inside this cell directly or indirectly affects a child, including his behavior. Family and everything that happens within it is a forerunner of a teens behavior. This is the reason of increased divorces in Australia that has its impact to teenagers forcing them to choose an alternative way of living so to get away of personal problems. Additionally, a high rate of poverty in the country also contributes to an increase of teenage criminals in Australia making the country the one with high indicator in this age group. Acceptance is another reason causing teenagers to become criminals, which is a common for teenagers all over the globe. The reason is that every child may not like his name or wish to be accepted and appreciated in the community. This is why teenagers may sometime cross a line and chose an easy way to achieve this goal, but not to work hard to earn respect from the others by truly valuable actions.

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Psychological Features of Teenagers Who Become Criminals

Criminologists usually divide juveniles to two groups when determining the age of offenders characteristics. They are teenagers and minors of 14 - 15 years old and juveniles of 16 17 years old. Criminological, sociological and psychological behaviors of the contingent between the age range of 14 17 years show that the behavior of the minors in this age group is being influenced by the conditions of their life and education in previous years as well as older youth. Hence, the juvenile crime should be viewed in the context of offenses of persons aged under 14 and those over 17 years old.

The characteristic of juveniles legal consciousness is also important for the personality characteristics. In general, they are characterized by profound defects of justice. To a certain extent, it is explained by two factors. These are the general legal illiteracy of both the entire population and the youth, as well as negative social experience of the minors. Juveniles have also a special feature of a social circle. Basically, it includes previously convicted people, along with those abusing alcohol and drugs.


Juvenile delinquency is an integral part of crime in general. It has also its own specific features that allows considering it as an independent object of study. The need for such allocation is determined by the peculiarities of physical, mental and moral development of teenagers, as well as their social immaturity. There has become an accumulation of experience, including a negative one, in teenage years at the time of the formation of a personality. The accumulation of negative experience cannot be detected externally or appear with a significant delay. It can result to the fact that a teenager may become a criminal. Lots of factors can contribute to it. It can be unstable situation in a family, pressure resulting that brain activities cannot be controlled. The most important reason is poverty and broken family. Additionally, a negative influence of a childs parents often forces a young individual to become a criminal. However, one of the most widespread reasons is a peer influence.

The discussed personal characteristics of juvenile offenders are mainly expressed in the motivation of their criminal behavior. It basically comes down to the following features. First, it is the predominance of infantine motives like the commitment of crime because of naughtiness, curiosity, desire to assert himself in the eyes of peers or possess fashionable things, and so on. Second are situational motives. Finally, it is deformation of a single element of the scope of the needs, interests and views. For example, it can be an exaggerated understanding of the partnership or desire to raise a prestige. Although, there are lots of factors contributing teenagers to become criminals, society plays an important role that helps to avoid situations that lead to that dangerous and dead-end path. Indeed, the results of the research have shown that the number of juveniles differs in many countries and is up to the social security the authorities offer children and their parents.

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