U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Tough Love? Crime and Parental Assistance in Young Adulthood

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 49 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2011 Pages: 163-196
Sonja E. Siennick
Date Published
February 2011
34 pages
This article discusses parental assistance to young adult offenders.
Although informal social reactions to crime are key to many criminological theories, little is known about how readily offenders' significant others reject and withdraw support from them. The author explores the limits of others' willingness to help offenders by studying parents' financial assistance of grown offending and nonoffending offspring. The author used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and from the 1997 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to show that, despite their strained relationships with their parents, young adult offenders receive more parental assistance than do their nonoffending peers and even their own nonoffending siblings. This is not because offenders have fewer financial resources, but it is partly because they tend to have a variety of other life circumstances that trigger parental assistance. The author suggests that parents' reactions to offending offspring are limited by role obligations and norms of familial duty. (Published Abstract) Tables, figures, and references