Here is an interesting fact: a study done in 2006 found that 70% of juvenile arrests in the United States were male. Does this mean that boys are more likely to commit crimes? If so, what could be the reason behind this?
Do the juvenile arrests have anything to do with the differences in treatments between boys and girls? Is it possible that society has more leniency towards the girls?
When you work as much as I have with troubled boys, you start to understand a little more about the harshness of the judicial system on these boys. It can be overwhelming when you’re under the belief that you’re teaching them what they need to know to survive in a world that won’t be gentle on them.
Since boys are often seen to be more hyperactive, aggressive and unfocused, I’d like to point out the possible reasons for these types of behaviors.
Are boys becoming more dangerous and out of control?
There is no singular reason as to why boys do act out and while it might seem like the boys of today are more dangerous than in the past, there is no evidence to support that. In fact, every generation is sure that the one after it is out of control in a way that has never been seen before. That isn’t truth, it is merely confirmation bias and the perspective of someone who is getting further and further from their youth.
Which isn’t to say the problem doesn’t exist. Teenagers are facing a wide range of terrifying issues, from drugs, to gang violence, to pornography addiction. Depression and suicide are the second leading cause of death among young people today. Clearly something needs to be done.
There Should Be More Focus On Therapy, Not Juvie
Let’s face it, teen years are only stepping stones into adulthood. Technically, these are still kids, who think they’re adults, but with a whole lot more to learn about real life. So instead of punishing them for their mistakes, why not help them by offering alternative solutions to fix their mistakes or help them learn from it?
First, we have to accept that these are not inherently bad boys. They are facing a crisis, and that could be caused by any number of underlying factors. To treat them (and yes, we should be treating them, not penalizing them) we have to get to the bottom of those issues.
Therapy is the way forward, including an intensive program designed to get to the core issues of why they act out. Sometimes a more extreme version, such as a therapeutic boarding school with licensed and experienced counselors and therapists. Here, professionals work with boys to help them handle stress and the many challenges they face.
Will that work in every case? No, and there are sadly some instances where a criminal courtroom will be a necessary step forward. However, for many boys who end up in the criminal system too early in life, it could be the saving grace filled with positive changes for their future.