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Lowering Youth Crime in our Communities

LOWERING YOUTH CRIME IN OUR COMMUNITIES

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” — Socrates, 0469-0399

Generation after generation, adults have viewed adolescents as problems rather than valuable assets in their communities.

Adolescence is a time of incredible brain growth but also high risk and low impulse control beginning shortly after menses (for females, males begin shortly after females start adolescence) and lasting into the early 20’s. For humans, this stage is increasingly starting earlier and lasting longer, which makes adolescence potentially more dangerous for both communities and youth.

To help adolescents successfully develop, young people need a sense of purpose, ownership and belonging in their communities. Community leaders must create “on-ramps” for relationships between adults and youth. These relationships cannot be one-sided and based in compliance, they must be mutually beneficial and engaging for both parties. These relationships can help adults find meaning in growing the next generation of compassionate leaders and youth find meaning in taking on that role.

The real keys to lowering teenage crime are communication and relationship. Youth who commit crimes in their community have a low sense of belonging and power, all of this while adolescent development creates a high need for pleasure. That pleasure is found in risk and twice the amount of pleasure (release of dopamine) occurs when risk is in front of peers.

To lower youth crime, adults need to help youth find pro-social opportunities for adolescents to do something challenging, a vital sense of power and an experience of belonging (unfortunately gangs are often much better at providing this than other community leaders). In addition, adults need a better understanding of adolescent behaviour—primarily that adolescence is not a disorder—and to create mutually beneficial relationships between adults and teens. 

For more detailed information on reducing youth crime or training for your community, please contact us through this website.

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