Self Control Theory

The self-control theory is widely addressed when discussing the ways of preventing deviant behavior. It is concerned with the fact that the criminal behavior is mainly caused by the lack of individual self-control. The main concern is that if the parenting process was ineffective before the age the child was ten, then there is a bigger chance of the occurrence of criminal behavior. Regardless of its prevalence, the theory is still being widely criticized and discussed.

The self control theory has been disapproved by many for not having enough evidence to its statements and for being too tautological. However, there is one more unanswered question – since the theory is concerned with parenting of children before the age of ten, then what about the adults? According to the theory, children tend to develop the low-levels of self-control by the age of ten, and these levels tend to sty unchanged during their life (Geis, 2000). Therefore, if a child grows up with a low level of self-control, he or she is more inclined to criminal behavior later in life. Naturally, low self-control has various manifests throughout the individual’s life, influences character, the way of thinking and the general approach to life.

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However, if consider the application of this theory towards adults, can it really be said that it is impossible for them to learn new patterns of self-control that they were not be able to get as children? I do not agree with that. Surely, it becomes harder for a person to change and develop with time. It is also true and proven by many psychologists that the core characteristics of individual’s personality are laid during the childhood (Geis, 2000). However, it is not correct to deny that each person keeps on gaining new habits and personal characteristics. Therefore, it is possible to state that adults with criminal behavior cannot gain new levels of self-control. Not all the criminals experienced bad parenting, and not all of the children that grew up in ‘bad’ families end up being criminals. There is a lot that can be done for adults that are already in the system. For example, special psychological programs, self-control workshops and social involvement practices can be introduced. No one is a lost cause because each person is capable of change, just sometimes they might need some outside help.

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