Before It’s Too Late: Why Some Kids Get Into Trouble and What Parents Can Do About It, was written by Stanton E. Samenow, Ph.D., published by Times Books. Stanton E. Samenow also wrote books Inside the Criminal Mind and Straight Talk About Criminals. He has evaluated and counseled antisocial youngsters and their families for over a decade. The purpose of this book is to teach parents an approach they can take in dealing with the antisocial youngster.
In the book, Samenow strongly emphasizes that children become delinquent by choice. The theory of choice holds that youths will engage in delinquent and criminal behavior after weighing the consequences and benefits of their actions. Delinquent behavior is a rational choice made by a motivated offender who perceives that the chances of gain outweigh any possible punishment or loss. (Siegel & Welsh, 2011)
Throughout the book, Samenow states that most parents blame themselves for the way their children behave. A lot of the time parents are blamed by others for their child’s irresponsible actions, which then causes the parents to blame themselves. Children begin to make their own choices at a very early age, as they grow older the choices they make become more complex. Although parents can be very influential to a child, they cannot control the child’s mindset. The parenting techniques that parents use may play a small role in a child’s behavior, they do not create antisocial children. Parents need to stop blaming themselves whenever their children make bad choices because it is the child himself that makes that decision, not the parents.
Ultimately, the antisocial child knows difference between what is right and what is wrong.
Many try to argue that the bad environment a child is raised in influences the child’s antisocial behavior. Samenow, on the other hand, says this is not the case. The antisocial child will commit bad choices through his or her own free will. In the book, Samenow gives an example of two brothers that lacked guardianship and grew up in a bad neighborhood, yet they ended up leading completely different lives. One ended up studying law and the other in a penitentiary convicted of a series of armed robberies. Although children don’t choose the environment in which they grow up in, they choose the way they handle it.
Antisocial children are very self-centered. They are selfish individuals and the choices they make revolve around what benefits them. They continue to make bad choices even after evaluating consequences with no show of remorse or regret.
In this book, Samenow also addresses how parents can cope with their antisocial children. One of the biggest mistakes that a parent makes is being in denial. No parent wants to believe that their child is antisocial or delinquent. Instead they choose to believe that their antisocial children will grow out of their bad behavior. Samenow states that denial is a defense mechanism that can blind someone to such an extent that they do...