One of the big topics recently is youth crime, by now most will have seen the video of the blundering thief from Christchurch.
On TV1’s Sunday this week they highlighted the problem of increasingly violent dairy robberies being committed by younger and younger children – some of them as young as ten and eleven. Inspector Dave Glossop was asked what was behind the problem and, straight away, he said “Bad parenting!” He then added, “That’s not the right word for it: it’s unequipped parenting.” Hear hear!
I recall Children’s Commissioner and former Principal Youth Court Judge, Andrew Becroft, pointing out a list of factors behind youth crime. Drugs, alcohol, violence, poverty and gang culture were all involved – but the top factors on his list were all to do with family, especially family upheaval and a lack of good male role models. Many of the problems are multigenerational; the parents of the current crop of young criminals are often the result of a poor family life themselves.
What are the solutions? I believe in personal responsibility, but as a society there are definitely actions we can take to help. Sports help, schools help and reducing poverty certainly helps. When children start to feel like they belong, they need gangs less and less.
My simple list of things to help New Zealand become free from crime? Support sports clubs, volunteer at schools, encourage kids when you can, and if you can’t do it yourself, do everything you can to support any program or person who is working for better families and a better society.
By John Cowan, The Parenting Place
Improving and equipping families to thrive.
Read more from John and The Parenting place here.