Parenting and Delinquency: An Exploration of Gender Effects

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In the search for the causes and correlates of juvenile delinquency, parenting has historically been recognized as one of the primary contributing or inhibiting factors to delinquent behaviors. The current study focuses on the relationship between the specific parenting practices of monitoring and attachment, and the delinquent behaviors of both males and female children, in the preadolescent ages of 7-11. This study finds that while parents monitor male and female children equally, parents report a higher level of attachment to their male children. Additionally, although most of the measures of parenting have similar impacts for male and female children, there are certain practices which produce divergent results based upon the child's gender. Parental reports of monitoring are a stronger inhibitor of intentions to use illicit substances for males, while the parent's attachment is a greater inhibitor of self-reported rebellious behavior for females. These results have implications for future research and program design.