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May 22, 1955 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1955-05-22

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Sunday, May 22, 1955


Page Five

Delinquency Problem Viewed

Rabinovitch Decrys Current
'Blame-the-Parent' Attitude


experience; the children show an in a vacuum and are not immune 4
THAT juvenile delinquency has inability to relate with depth to to the moral climate of their so- E
increased in recent years, es- people or to social realities. ciety. A society that tolerates and
pecially acts of violence or destruc- Neurotic problems in the par- sometimes encourages the half-
tion, is indicated by the statistics ents, of which they themselves are truth, the easy way of expediency,
at hand. usually unconscious, that may and the power of influence, pays
Reading many popular accounts sanction delinquency on the part a heavy price in the valtes and
today, one might well get the im- of children. standards by which its children,
pression that all teen-agers have Delinquent standards within the grow and live.
gone to the dogs, that as a group family, a pattern with which the It is becoming increasingly
they are marauding vandals with- child identifies. In most cases the embarrassing in oar clinics t
out capacity for feeling or respon- parents have themselves been de- answer the child who says: "Why
sibility. This is of course far from prived in their childhood and be- worry about me cheating in
the truth. Delnquency is a major cause of deprivation cannot func- school-read the newspapers
social problem, but our under- tion adequately as parents. and you'll see I'm just in train-
standing of it is not helped if in Frank neglect of children. Here ing to be a successful adult."
our concern for the more dramatic again usually the parents are im- This of course represents in part
we exaggerate and lose perspec- mature or otherwise , disturbed a rationalization, but only in
tive. and the histories show almost al- part. It is most likely that our
The tendency in recent years has ways that they themselves have teen-agers are much more in-
been to describe the teen-aer in had a distorted, ungratifying ear- fluenced in their behavior by
terms of only negatives. Some writ- lier life. Sometimes it is their pres- the headlines than by the
ers have gone so far as to stretch ent reality situation-illness, eco- comics. DR. R they call him at the Neuropsychiatric Insti
absurdity to the point of represent- nomic hardship, housing inadequa- ate of McGill University, Dr. Ralph D. Rabinovitch
ing the most vicious, sadistic crime cy-that dictates the neglect. There is convincing evidence, as chief of the Children's Service in 1949 when the
of the year as typical adolescent Inadequate controls. In these apparent in our work with teen- ties opened. Ile had formerly been associated with
behavior. cases we find families, often ex- agers, that many of them have pital, which is connected with New York Universi
Our teen-agers will live up to posed to much "parent education," felt let down by aults because ovitch is an associate professor of psychiatry and
the expectations that we set for who appear afraid to direct their adults have failed to rise in pro- oih i an Esscite ry
them, and the maintenance of children because they are afraid test against public demonstriations
a realistic and fair attitude has they will either lose their love or of unfairness, injustice and frank
important practical implications. harm them. dishonesty 'n recent 'ears. It THREED E Lk INQ U ENT CLASSES:
This is not to suggest that we be There is another large group in that we ourselves have eschewed
thd alwesourselveshayeschewend
any the less concerned about the, whom at this point we must say old values as too sentimental and
problem of delinquency; many of j "Cause Unknown." In many cases no longer valid or important for
the present exaggerations in think- careful study leaves many ques- sur sophistieated times values out-
ing and writing probably stem tions unanswered, although with lined for example in our Consti-
from reasonable concern and an- growing knowledge this group is tution, LASSI
xiety that the whole problem en- becoming smaller. d btSING delinquentr hil-
genders. Certainly everyone wants We have enumerated these etio- H dren by the nature of their of- have been a llsucc
to fid th soluionTHERE IS a need for us to re- fenses is often inadequate. For is-bt have t be a'o'e
to find the solution, logic situations to illustrate the assert old values, to step for- beling a child 'sex offender' or but chose to e a
fact that in each case the job at ward and decry the phony and to 'thief' tells us the symptom only, zen.
F NO easy solution is at hand hand is to define the individual wr and e te phny and to 'ief' te use The child willt
we can at least assuage our problem and to attempt to meet bevensentimental in our expres- ignoring the cause. safe to give up
nion of love of truth. To do less A more complete and generally sism, trust the ac
Frustration to a degree by fixing specific needs. Over-generaliza- is to offer our children a sadly accepted classification would not t fel ha
responsibility. It has become tion simply clouds fundamental delinquent heritage and they are only aid research in delinquency, SBeek questioni
fashionable today to stress either issues. waiting for the lead from us. but would help to guide agencies our present eff
of two factors as the direct cause In this whole complicated In general we can define today dealing with delinquents, reach the socialc
of delinquency: parents or comic problem one thing is certain; an the psychological needs of child- A clear general classification of he comes to thes
books. Indiscriminate implication attempt at sympathetic under- ren and to a large degree we can juvenile delinquents was suggested cial agencies.
of these forces in the life of chil- standing of each family is the spot those children whose needs by Bertram M. Beck, Director of "It becomes
dren as the cause of juvenile de- first prerequisite. As workers in are being left unmet. The job at the Special Juvenile Project of "that these child
linquency is, we feel, both un- the field we can be effective only hand is to develop resources with- the United States Children's Bu- tracted to conven
realistic and destructive of our ef- as helpful allies of families in our communities to help fam- reau. He outlined the classifica- recreation. Organ
forts to implement preventive pro- in trouble rather t h a n as ilies meet these needs and where tions in a paper presented to the ball teams may k
grams. threatening, essentially punitive this is impossible to find com- Third Annual Social Work Prog- dren off the stre
In recent years there has been agents. pensatory opportunities outside the ress Institute held in Ann Arbor necessarily keep
a growing tendency to blame par- The second current explanation home. There is no simple preven- last year. children off the
ents for children s every problem for delinquency to which we tive for delinquency but one fact Beck divided delinquents into Beck praised th
and difficulty, culminating in the should like to refer is comic books is certain-the responsibility lies three main categories of social, work approach1
recent suggestion by some author- and related reading and entertain squarely in the hands of our adult asocial and neurotic delinquents. by the New Y
ities that the solution to juvenile and r d n ndnra- society. Board in which n

tute. A gradu-
came to serve
present facili-
* Bellevue Hos-
ty. Dr. Rabin-
lecturer in the
around and could
essful delinquent,'
law abiding citi-
eventually find it
his own narcis-
Ault, and be able
1 his aggression.
ed thegvalue of
orts designed to
delinquent before
attention of offi-
clear," he said,
dren are not at-
tional supervised
izing more base-
keep normal chil-
eets but will not
these delinquent
e aggressive case
being attempted
ork City Youth
iothing is initial-
the client. It is
ionship has been
ae worker on the
help that he at-
A the aggression,

delinquency lies in the indiscrim- iOn ua. scertaimystsenorss-
inate arrest of parents when their distic or seductive type of comic
children commit antisocial acts. book is neither appropriate nor
This blame - the - parents attitude healthy for our children and we
has historic roots evolving prob- can support every community ef-
ably from the recognition that ear- fort to stem the flood of these
ly experience is important to per- monstrosities. On the other hand,
sonality development. it is ridiculous to consider all com-
While the stress on early experi- is books in a general category just
ence is valid and, in fact, repre- as it would be to view all literature
sents the core of dynamic psychol- as either "good" or "bad."
ogy, it has been viewed out of The comic books most popular
perspective. An all-or-none atti- with children represent our mod-
tude has evolved. Exposed to a ple- ern American folklore. It is time
thora of mass education about the we realized that Mighty Mouse fly-
potential danger of mishandling, ing about in jet planes and rockets
many parents have become intro- heading off atomic destruction is
spective, frightened and immobi- as American as Univac, jet planes
lized before their children. and the H-bomb.
Now, threatened with severe There is fact some value in
censure or arrest, we find some the most popular spaceman heroes.
families tending to cover up In a world uncertain and unpre-
when their children present mi- dictable at least the child knows
nor delinquencies, failing to seek when he opens his comic book that,
help and missing opportunities regardless of the dire threats at
for early preventive intervention, hand, by the end of the chapter
This is the price paid for a "let's- his hero will have triumphed over
get - those - parents" attitude. evil. This is more than he can say
It is actually extremely rare for about his real world.
us in our clinics to see parents FANTASY represents the poetry
who consciously set about ruining of childhood and plays a won-
the lives of their children. Case drous role in helping the child
studies indicate many factors at bridge the gap between a grim
the root of delinquency, much more reality and an ideal. It might be
complex then the purposeful nega- productive for us to devote more
tive plotting of parents. attention to the realities that
children have to face and less to
AMONG the many factors the the fantasy media necessitated by
following are prominent: the realities.
Biologic disturbances in the One major reality is the world
child-mental illness, organic brain in which the child lives, and no
damage, primary reading or other attempt to understand juvenile
educational retardations that have delinquency can be successful
been neglected. without an appreciation of the so-
An affectionless personality cial realities to which our child-
stemming from an institutional or ren, especially our teen-agters, are
other grossly depriving infancy exposed. Children do not grow up

Social Delinquent
This Issue The social delinquent, the mos
common type, is usually a produc
This section on juvenile de- of the slums, Beck pointed out. HE
linquency has been made pos- is destructive, aggressive and re
sible by the co-operation of bellious. He has little capacity fo:
agencies and people in Ann Ar- relationships with adults and re'
bor associated with the control sents supervision and authority
and prevention of delinquency. He is very loyal, however, to hi
Rona Friedman, '56, has been gang.
in chat e of arranging the sec- He feels little guilt or anxiety
tion and gathering the infor- about his delinquencies and is rel-
mation for the articles. She atively happy until society inter'
has tried to visit all the agen- feces with his mode of behaviour
cies that a local delinquent The best therapist for this typE
child would come in contact of child, Beck feels, is a firm mas
with in assembling the material. culine figure who outsmarts thi
We are grateful to all those delinquent. The therapist mus
who ,gave their assistance. make himself indispensible to thi
patient and demonstrate that hi


ly demanded of
only after a relat
established by th
basis of tangible
tempts to redirec

r Asocial Delinquent
The asocial delinquent is en-
s countered less frequently than the
social delinquent. He is completely
involved with himself and his be-
- haviour has a primitive instinctual
-quality to it, Beck pointed out.
Unlike ,he social delinquent they
know NO loyalties and there is
e usually no trace of guilt or anxiety
in their conduct.
e These children come from no
t specific economic level and have
e usually suffered some severe trau-
e matic disturbance in the course of
their growth, Beck noted.
"This type of child," he contin-
ued, "is best treated in the con-
trolled environment of an institu-
tion and really needs re-education
with reward for good behaviour
and punishment for bad, similar to
that offered a very young child."
Neurotic Delinquent
Neurotic delinquents usually
come from the middle or upper
classes. The parents of the neu-
rotic delinquent are usually beset
by their own personal problems
and there is a lack of warmth in
family relationships, Beck com-
"Some aggression is open and
manifest in the delinquent acts
they commit, but a great deal of
the aggression is turned inward,
so that the neurotic delinquent
suffers from guilt and anxiety,"
Beck explained. He often engages
See PARENT, Page 6

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