Reexamining the link between parental knowledge and delinquency: unpacking the influence of adolescents’ and their parents’ perceptions

  • Heather L. Scheuerman, Jessica M. Grosholz, Sherod Thaxton
  • Deviant Behavior, April 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2018.1438063

Link between what parent's know and their child's delinquency

What is it about?

Parenting practices play a large role in juvenile delinquency such that inadequate parenting increases the likelihood of delinquency. But, the role of child and parent perceptions of parental knowledge (i.e., what the parent knows) in delinquency is less understood. We find that juvenile delinquency depends on the dynamic that exists between parents and their children. When parents over solicit information from their children, the relationship becomes strained, which leads to increased delinquency.

Why is it important?

Our findings show the negative consequences of too much parental monitoring (i.e., helicopter parenting) - increased delinquency. There appears to be a threshold to parental monitoring for adolescents, and exceeding that threshold creates a type of “negative attachment” to their children, leading to increased antisocial behavior.


Jessica Grosholz
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee

I hope this article encourages others to want to understand the impacts of excessive parental monitoring on youth behavior. While society tends to believe that knowing your children's whereabouts, who they are with, what they are doing, etc. is a protective factor in preventing delinquency, we show in this article that knowing too much - overly parenting - is not necessarily a good thing.

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The following have contributed to this page: Jessica Grosholz