n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Parent involvement in learning as preventative factor against youth misbehaviour

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



It is estimated that up to five percent of primary and intermediate learners experience problems with regard to good conduct or display severe anti-social behaviour (Prinsloo in Landsberg 2005; Chopra 2007; Wightwick 2007; Kirkey 2007). According to Prinsloo, a general climate of undisciplined behaviour and an aversion to authority may be regarded as consequences of the total disruption of family life, single parenthood and a lack of adult role models for upholding values in South Africa.

A survey by the National Literacy Trust, based in the United Kingdom, found that young children's speaking and listening skills have deteriorated over the past five years. (Chopra 2007). Ninety-two percent of the respondents in the survey attributed this decline to a decrease in the time adults and children spend talking to or interacting with each other. A sharp increase in double-income families often results in parents - both fathers and mothers - not having enough time left to spend with their child or children, with the result that their insight into their children is deficient. A high-quality home learning environment in which parents are engaged in activities with their children is conducive to the intellectual and social development of the child while it also prevents the development of a poor self-image and poor behaviour patterns (Alant & Harty in Landsberg 2005). It has been found that children who have difficulty communicating in plain language often develop behavioural problems, mainly due to the frustration caused by the inability to express their needs. Television is often blamed for the perceived deterioration of children's language and communication skills (Kirkey 2007). In many homes where television provides a constant background noise, adults often are distracted by this and consequently stop talking and listening to their children. In the words of Copra (2007), therefore "... all you parents sit up, talk, take note and kill the abuse!"

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