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Understanding the Antisocial Adolescent

NCJ Number
School Safety Dated: (Spring 1988) Pages: 8-11
S E Samenow
Date Published
2 pages
In school, antisocial children prey upon the vulnerabilities of others, terrorize classmates, destroy property, intimidate teachers, and turn schools into jungles.
While a variety of theories explain the antisocial child's behavior in terms of poverty, broken homes, lack of role models, abuse, racism, and other environmental factors; individuals choose how they respond to their environment. Many abused children do not turn to crime, while many children from secure and stable home environments with good role models become delinquents. While many antisocial boys and girls blame peer pressure for their misbehavior, these youth tend to gravitate toward delinquent peers and avoid positive peer groups. While schools also have been blamed for antisocial behaviors, these students are antiwork from the time they start school. They view school as an arena for excitement-seeking and for abusing classmates and teachers. Adhering to the view that the criminal is victim of external forces is erroneous, misleading, and costly. The antisocial child has a way of looking at the world and interacting with it that is radically different from those of others. To change these children's behaviors requires that they change their way of thinking and acting. They must suffer the adverse consequences of their behaviors and be equipped with an understanding of interpersonal functioning and responsible thinking. 2 references.