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What Communications Barriers Could Arise Between Youth And Police?

2539 words - 10 pages

"They (Young people) have exalted notions, because they havenot been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations…Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning,doing things excessively and vehemently …They love too much,hate too much and the same with everything else."Aristotle.Youth, described as the "period of physical and psychological development from the onset of puberty to maturity and early adulthood", (Wikimedia Foundation Inc.) can be a time of difficulty for some, bringing them into conflict with police and other institutions of society.Communication is an integral and critical component of everyday life. Every form of communication however encounters its own barriers, which prevent accurate and effective sending and receiving of messages. In dealing with youth today, police encounter a growing number of barriers related to communication. Those with whom police come into contact are those who display attitudes and behaviors outside the norms, values and laws accepted by society. As a police officer, being aware of these barriers and having strategies to combat them will help ensure more successful outcomes when dealing with young people and can mean the difference between guiding them towards a more settled, acceptable lifestyle or creating a situation where a lack of respect for others and for authority is deeper embedded.These attitudes towards mainstream society and its institutions pose real barriers for police when dealing with youth today. E.Z. Friedenberg queries, whether or not however "…the problem refers to something in the adolescent or whether it is making a statement about society" (Sankey 2000), referring to the lack of understanding and the feeling of mistrust by society as a whole towards the subculture of youth, its values and attitudes.The belief "in the criminal waywardness of our young people…and the…failings and deviances of the 'new' generation relative to 'our' generation" (James & Polk 1996, pp.182) is not new, but is conveyed to our youth in many ways. In turn, this can create mistrust and a lack of respect for society and the laws that govern it.Of course societal attitudes, including those of some police, stereotyping youth all under one banner, are not the only influences affecting youth attitudes. The culture of youth tends to be shifting away from family and traditional values, as both school and peer culture, as well as media, literature and other technological influences, play a more major role in the lives of youth today. Farrelly notes that, children of today are "tied more loosely to their immediate families than ever before" (Farrelly 2005). He also states that "citizenship training is not being managed very well in our society"; as families are increasingly spending less time together (Farrelly 2005). Many of our youth are simply not being guided today towards acceptable and respectful behaviour as traditional family life breaks down....

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