Prevention Of Deviant Behavior Of Children In The Us Educational Environment


The article is devoted to solving the problem of counteraction of deviant behavior of children. The purpose of the article is to identify the problems of deviant behavior of children in the USA. The leading idea of the research is the idea of preventing the deviant behavior of children through the education system. It focuses on the prevention of deviant behavior of children and in the educational environment, giving the example of the improvement of prevention activities among children of the USA. The conditions that will facilitate the efficient operation of educational institutions are shown. Particular attention is paid to prevention programs of deviant behavior of children in the educational environment of school and family. The article is based on the results of author's research, which make it possible to characterize the attitude to deviant behavior and counteraction of it. As a result of the analysis, the authors disclose the concepts of system of prevention of deviant behavior of children in education system, and formulate universal conditions for pedagogical support for the preventing deviant behavior of children. The article information may be useful to heads of educational institutions, employees of departments involved in the social adaptation of children with behavior problems, teachers of all levels of education, parents, and sociologists dealing with problems of deviant behavior of children.

Keywords: Prevention programdeviant behaviorchildreneducational environment


For Russia, the experience of the USA in the education of children with deviant behavior is of great interest due to the existence of common for both states tendencies in the expansion of this problem field: property stratification, the spread of drug addiction and consumption of psychoactive substances, vagrancy and the growth of single-parent families.

Nowadays public attention increases to the education of children with deviant behavior in the context of uncontrolled growth of offenses and abnormal behavior of children and adolescents, the spread of phenomena such as hyperactivity and inhibition, psychological immaturity and pedagogical neglect. The aggravation of the problem requires the effectiveness of the system of educating children with deviant behavior.

This organizational and pedagogical system has been established and is functioning in the United States. The USA is the birthplace of juvenile justice, which brings together educators, psychologists, social workers, parents, family members who raise children with deviant behavior and the children themselves, institutions "at the place of residence" (correction centers, youth bureaus, foster homes, family-type boarding schools, departments for teenagers in psychiatric clinics), as well as the institution of judicial protection and other organizations responsible for the prevention and correction of deviant behavior of children and teenagers.

Working with deviant children acquired system characteristics in the United States quite early, and in many ways served as a model for other countries, both with regard to the legal system and the construction of social services.

The analysis of scholarly works on the problems of communication (Alexandrov et al., 2018), deviant behavior (Morova & Zakharova, 2017), socialization (Kutuev et al., 2017), including ethno-cultural (Morova & Zakharova, 2018) contribute to grounded practical solving of problems of deviant behavior of children, which generally aimed at that a child as an individual who should have a social basis mediated by an important other for the individual, and the intensive interaction of the individual with the socialization staff.

The subject of research of modern Russian scientists in the field of comparative pedagogy are humanistic approaches to overcoming the deviant behavior of children in social and pedagogical cultures of the USA (Talanova, 2013), traditional and emerging values in the modern educational system of the United States (Veselova, 1996), features the functioning of delinquent groups of minors in the United States and Great Britain (Solomatina, 2000), the concept of educating minors with deviant behavior in the United States and Great Britain (Volkov, 2001).

Problem Statement

There is a contradiction between the existing rich experience of educating children with deviant behavior in the US and the absence of special studies devoted to the theoretical comprehension of this experience based on the implementation of humanistic dominants in the upbringing of children of this category.

Research Questions

The US experience is of undoubted scientific interest for Russian specialists in the field of upbringing and education as it is the birthplace of juvenile justice - a special branch of law. The United States has rich experience in educating of children with deviant behavior. It has the system of social work, prevention and correction of deviant behavior of such children. What can be used in Russian practice in the education of children with deviant behavior?

Purpose of the Study

To analyze the programs of social work with children with deviant behavior in the United States to study the possibility of using them in prevention and correction of deviant behavior of children in educational environment of Russia.

Research Methods

The various research methods used in the study complement each other:

- Theoretical - analysis of the scientific literature (educational, ethnopedagogical, philosophical, cultural), normative and legislative acts in the field of education;

- Empirical - sociological survey, interviews, observation, examination of the results of educational activities of general and vocational education institutions.


Today, there are approximately 75 million minors in the United States (in 2000 - 72.5 million, in 2009 - 74.5 million). According to forecasts, the proportion of the underage population will increase, at least until 2015, and, according to the Federal Office for Interagency Children and Family Statistics, the number of minors may reach to 101.6 million by 2050 (Talanova, 2013). If the level of juvenile delinquency grows with the population growth, or even stabilizes, it will be in thousands of juvenile offenders (Efimova & Zakharova, 2018).

Deviant behavior has a large number of forms that most researchers, including the US, divide into three groups: the actual deviant (behavior that does not entail criminal punishment, which is not illegal, not approved by public opinion), delinquent (unlawful behavior that is not approved by law) and criminal (criminal behavior, criminally punishable). Thus, these three groups represent, according to increasing, three degrees of violation of social norms.

The specific forms and methods of educating of deviant children are of general humanistic orientation. They certainly differ depending on the group and also socio-pedagogical conditions in which the process of upbringing is carried out. Some forms and methods can only be used at places of detention or temporary detention of juvenile offenders. A special range of pedagogical work has been developed in the United States for probation. There is a psychological and pedagogical tool of a more general nature for the correction of deviant behavior, which did not entail offenses. There is a different set of pedagogical tools to prevent deviant behavior among children at risk and ordinary schoolchildren. Of course, there are also forms and methods that will be effective in all groups and express humanistic character.

It is also important to emphasize that children and adolescents who get to juvenile justice are consistently following several stages of re-entry into social life and, accordingly, programs. At present, the US Juvenile Justice Authorities consider the problem of continuity, coordinated work between the various services involved in the process of resocialization of deviant children and adolescents, the problem of ensuring the consistency and continuity of psychological and pedagogical support.

From a theoretical point of view, resocialization involves the formation by the individual values and norms that are radically different from those he has mastered earlier. Such re-socialization is preceded by the destruction of previously accepted values and patterns of personal behavior. The most important condition for successful resocialization for children and adolescents with deviant behavior is the existence of a social basis mediated by an important other for the individual, and the intensive interaction of the individual with the socialization staff (Berger, 1995). The society, caring about equalizing the possibilities of individuals in their social adaptation, organizes the resocialization of various institutions that have the appropriate personnel and material resources for this. This stimulated the development of special services for juvenile delinquents and adolescents with deviant behavior and the emergence of various programs to work with them.

The probation regime was applied for the first time to avoid the use of repressive criminal law in relation to minors in 1840 in Massachusetts. Volunteers, guided by the humane desire to save the perpetrators who committed insignificant crimes, from the pernicious influence of the prison, began to act as guarantors of offenders for the period of supervision from three weeks to one year. They submitted reports on their behavior at the request of the court and ensured that their students received a professional education or work. This first experience later led to the formation of the probation regime as a general method for juvenile offenders. Since 1869 in Massachusetts the courts appointed a representative of the Committee of Social Benefit, who participated in the cases of minors. The probation regime was provided for all categories of offenders in the Law of State of Massachusetts in 1878. A staff member of the probation service appeared in the police staff, who had to report to the police chief once every three months. The probation regime was appointed with the probability that the offender would be able to correct without the use of punishment (Shupilov, 1971).

Supervision without imprisonment became the most effective and cheap in comparison with supervision in the correctional institution. All this contributed to the fact that in 1925 the Federal Law on Probation was adopted in the USA (Berger, 1995). In 1904, the New York School of Philanthropy was established to train the staff of the supervision service. The main method of work was charity mainly in the form of material assistance. Negative social and economic factors were considered as the source of human problems. The main focus was on the emotional dynamics of the personality, and probation was transformed into work with a particular convict under special conditions. The idea of voluntary participation in the re-education of convicts was embodied in professional service with the appropriate bureaucratic problems (Berger, 1995).

The need to improve legal procedures and protect the rights of juvenile offenders remains urgent. One of the famous initiators of the modern reform of juvenile justice, Miller (1991), in his jurisprudence studies noted that very few juvenile offenders actually violated any law. Most of them were simply seized by the police at the site of some events, allegedly carrying out some illegal act. Later, they appeared before the juvenile courts, who made conclusions about the commission of the crime on the grounds that the suspects had been detained by the police (Miller, 1991).

Throughout the twentieth century, the probation regime remains one of the most common methods applied to juvenile offenders. Probation supervision can be appointed for a period of several months to five years. Public condemnation on the one hand and active participation in the "own revival" by the offender are the conditions of probation and the regime of its impact. The court establishes the conditions of probation depending on the case materials. Conditions of probation may be restriction of freedom of movement and restrictions in the choice of the type of activity. Probation is carried out either by the Probation Control Service or by the control service of persons sentenced for probation (in the person of a responsible officer). The perpetrator must visit the officer in charge at least once or twice a month. An officer can facilitate the have a course of treatment against substance abuse or training and employment of the offender.

Probation is understood as "community service" (public works) and implies the social usefulness of works and the absence of isolation from society. Adolescents on probation must necessarily participate in educational programs that are carried out by educational homes or agents. For example, a teenager for eight weeks every day should attend two-hour educational and preventive activities conducted by the specialists of the service. These kinds of activities help the teenager to reconsider their attitude to life.

The assistance of religious institutions and local residents is still being used, and for the adaptation of the offender in society - patronage agencies, social security services, lawyers when appointing the probation regime to control over the behavior of offenders efficiently.

The advantage of probation is that the termination of supervision does not entail a so-called crisis of liberation, since the family ties of the delinquent, his relations with others, his financial situation, and other vital circumstances do not undergo drastic changes, as with deprivation of liberty. Deprivation of liberty has proved ineffective in terms of influencing the correction of adolescents with deviant behavior and preventing the commission of new crimes (Kornyushina, 2004).

Thus, as a result of the reform of the proceedings against juvenile offenders in the 1970s, in the United States, the American court increasingly acquires the characteristics of both a charitable organization and an institution for the implementation of public oversight (Chorbinsky, 1994). The main task of the courts was the education of perpetrators, as well as the prevention of crime. The ban on staying of adults and children together in prison stimulated the development of special services and institutions for juvenile offenders and minors (correction centers, youth bureaus, foster homes, family-type pensions and adolescent psychiatric clinics), whose goal was the effective interaction of the individual with the surrounding social environment. Special basic programs were developed for the police, schools and directly courts for juvenile cases to include deviant children and adolescents in normal social life.

The basic police programs aim to prevent deviant behavior and help juvenile offenders and difficult adolescents to comply with the law. The police not only oversee the order, but also organize various clubs (for example, athletic) and programs to combat drug addiction, as well as training in personal safety in schools.

Basic US school programs are of two types: programs for regular schools and programs for special schools aimed at correcting the behavior of difficult and convicted teenagers. The purpose of these programs is to prevent school absences and the isolation of a group of teenagers. Classes are conducted to prevent crime and deviant behavior in schools. They are designed for all schoolchildren.

Thus, there has been a positive trend in the statistics of juvenile delinquency during the reform of the juvenile justice system in recent years in the United States: the juvenile crime rate decreased in 2009-2012 and is now 5% lower than in 2006 (Petunova & Zakharova, 2018).

Currently, social educators working with children with deviant behavior are either part of the staff of schools or are integrated into special social services for education (Kornyushina, 2004). In addition to public services, there are private ones that provide a variety of support programs for the protection of the rights and interests of children, for example: Children's Bureau, Child Protection Service, etc. (Chorbinsky, 1994). There is no clear separation between social workers and social educators, since both professions combine the functions of assistance and upbringing. If a social worker is attached to a separate school, he attends this school, works with school staff, helps them assess the needs of children in the event of problems with their behavior, academic achievement, attendance, social and material deprivation. A policy and a strategy for resolving these problems are developed and assistance is provided to establish links between the family and the school with the participation of social educators.

There is the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Center for Young People in Detention, National Resource Resocialization Center (Talanova, 2013) that direct and coordinate the efforts of relevant local organizations and services and assist educators and employees of various social services working with deviant children at the federal level in the United States under the Department of Justice.

Experts of the Advisory Committee insist on using the so-called "positive youth development" approach in the everyday practice of teachers working with deviant children. Teachers and psychologists can achieve much greater success in planning and implementation of resocialization programs focusing not on the risk factors and shortcomings of the adolescent's personality, but on his strengths and the positive idea that all young people can develop positively, with access to the right opportunities, relationships and support. Supervision of juveniles should be carried out on the basis of their perception as capable of evolution and amenable to positive influence. Particular attention should be paid to education, career building and long-term relationships, active social life, health, development of creativity and self-identification.

Most teenagers who committed offenses return from their correctional facilities to their previous place of residence. Ties to their own family are largely lost by this time when they return to their families, foster families or children's institutions. However, the results of many studies have shown that the presence of family and family relations is an enduring value and an indispensable condition for the normal development of the child's personality. Therefore, social services are required to provide this presence to the maximum extent possible, to help establish intra-family relations, to involve the nearest and distant relatives in the process of resocialization of the adolescent. If it is not possible to restore lost family ties, social workers broaden the circle of adolescent communication by including other prosocial adults, the relationships with which can make a positive contribution to the process of resocialization. The Consultative Committee provides social teachers with a whole range of tried-and-tested techniques for "including" the family in the program of resocialization, and draws their special attention to the need to start work in this direction not at the moment of adolescent's exit from the walls of the correctional institution, but at the moment of getting into the field view of juvenile justice. The training of social workers in these techniques is often conducted in the form of webinars, educational and additional materials are published on the web resources of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Talanova, 2013; Kryukova et al., 2017).

In general, according to domestic and foreign pedagogical and psychological research, there are 2 main areas of corrective work with children with deviant behavior: 1) based mainly on individual and group psychotherapeutic work (for example, individual counseling and group training); 2) through intervention in the pedagogical process (individualization of education and upbringing, correction of educational influences and optimization of interaction between teachers and schoolchildren) (Chorbinsky, 1994).

For the first area such methods are used that developed on the principles of psychodynamic and behavioral approaches, in order to find the reasons and conditions for the emergence of difficulties for students, to choose effective ways to eliminate them. So, play therapy and art therapy are actively used for carrying out preventive and corrective work with students with deviant behavior in the US. The child changes, the development of his sense of self-worth, the strengthening of his "I" occur in the process of play therapy. In the implementation of play therapy an atmosphere of acceptance of the child, empathy, the possibility of experiencing a sense of self-worth create, a change in the pupil's ability to self-control and self-regulation occur.

Correction of emotions of personality occurs through art therapy. It is focused on the formation of self-knowledge and self-expression of the schoolchild with the help of creative activity and visual arts. One of the types of art therapy is skill training. In his life, a schoolchild faced with all sorts of difficulties, so he should form a variety of skills to overcome difficulties caused by various causes. An example of the implementation of art therapy is the training of skills in the field of interpersonal relationships, management of anxiety, traumatic experiences, etc. Such training of skills is especially effective for correcting the behavior of hyperactive, impulsive and unorganized children.

The effect is primarily on the effect, not on the cause when the correction is held by intervention in the pedagogical process. The main significance of such correction lies in the fact that it does not allow one to gain a foothold in the character of the student to negative features. Techniques of this type have a result if teachers, social educators and parents have uniform requirements for the student. The common practice is the process of negotiations with a view to bringing parents and teachers closer together and retaining authority in the eyes of the student. The requirements for the pupil must correspond to his abilities, give him a chance and the right to determine his own basic interests in life. Teachers assume that the student with deviant behavior needs emotional comfort and the perception of the teacher as a positive person, who in turn also perceives him as he is. The American recipe for working with impulsive, unregenerate children, drawn from the experience of the author of this study: not so much to punish for misconduct, as to cause a sense of contrition for what he has done, using such means of educational influence as stimulating exemplary behavior through positive reinforcement, refusal of promotion, demonstration resentment. It is recommended to give hyperactive and unorganized children useful and exciting activities. To change moral values, increase the level of responsibility and self-confidence of children with deviant behavior, it is necessary to provide independence in such individual and age form that the student has a sense of involvement, understanding the significance of his social role and his own place. It is recommended to the teacher to avoid stereotyped thinking, gluing labels. The teacher must be able to recognize his own mistakes and be ready to apologize when having corrective work with children with deviant behavior. In most of the recommendations, teachers are called again and again to praise and encourage "difficult" students, and punish only when necessary. Three conditions indicated by Rogers (1986) are important in all life circumstances in the corrective work of the educator with the pupil: 1) empathy; 2) a positive attitude towards the pupil; 3) sincerity and naturalness in communicating with him. In all these recommendations, we see humanistic dominants of the child's acceptance as a person, the correction of deviations based on the reinforcing behavior of the teacher and the building of relations based on trust and openness in the regime of personal development dialogue.

In the United States programs of behavioral correction of various forms of deviant behavior are actively created and are working. They are: aggressive or expressed sexualized behavior, serious violations of social behavior. The program for the correction of aggressive behavior and serious violations of social behavior of children from 7 to 18 years is implemented in a special school, where these children are sent by court decision. Every child who finds himself in this institution has his own "Diary of behavior", in which his behavior is recorded at the lessons. In order for the rehabilitation course to be completed successfully, the child must master eight levels of behavior, on each of which he has to subordinate his actions to certain rules. The rigidity of these rules increases from the 1st level to the 8th level. For the achievement of each next level, there are certain rewards and privileges desirable for each child. Movement between levels is carried out both upwards and backwards. To go to the next level, you need to follow all the rules within a week. With a systematic violation of the rules, a transfer to a lower level is possible to secure more simple rules of conduct. In parallel with the children, special correctional classes are conducted. They are both group and individual, aiming at, on the one hand, to work with perception, and on the other hand, to work with behavioral reactions. Work with perception involves learning to determine the senses, discovering and transforming the personal perception of others (for example, developing the ability to see not only hostility and aggression, but also benevolence, resentment, joy), expanding one's self-image by receiving feedback in group.

Working with reactions involves expanding the range of possible behavior in various problem situations, training self-regulation skills and adaptive behaviors (Chorbinsky, 1994).

In recent years, the phenomenon of bullying - the aggressive pursuit of one of the members of the group by other members of the group or its part has spread. Bulling and cyberbullying (carried out with the help of electronic means of communication) have become international phenomena, a whole complex of social and psychological-pedagogical problems (teenage aggressiveness, victimization, etc.) lies behind it. One of the most effective systems has been created to combat this phenomenon in the United States. It contains a set of specialized programs, including on-line programs, trainings, guides for teachers, psychologists and social workers.


These projects arise and are realized with the active assistance of various social movements and initiatives, municipal authorities, educational institutions. The main task of all bodies involved in the process of resocialization of deviant children and adolescents is to ensure continuity, coordination of actions to build and implement an individual plan for resocialization of each pupil, including his individual educational project and the beginning of work.

Improvement of all sides and aspects of the work of the social and educational system will continue. However, it is indisputable for many employees involved in the process of reforming that the idea of correcting the deviant behavior of underage offenders is more preferable to get informal decisions in close proximity to the home, and not getting into the formal system of justice, no matter how perfect it is.

Active use of data of demographic, sociological, psychological, pedagogical, psychophysiological and other studies, directly or indirectly related to the problem of deviant behavior of children, equips teachers with the necessary knowledge and provides an opportunity to identify risk factors and early detection of behavioral abnormalities.

The process of reforming the system of psychological and pedagogical support for deviant children and adolescents is accompanied by the constant development of high-quality methodological materials to help educators, social workers, juvenile justice officers. They provide the necessary reference materials, a description of effective methods and practices, and actually working recommendations. Materials and a large number of other necessary information are available on specially created online resources supervised by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Center for Young People in Detention and the National Resource Center for Resocialization, federal level authorities that direct and coordinate the efforts of regional and local organizations and services.

A practice-oriented approach, characteristic of the entire US education and training system, plays an important role in the formation of sustainable social skills necessary for the successful resocialization of deviant children and adolescents. The methods of group therapy used to prevent and correct the deviant behavior of children in the US help to relieve the psychological stress of participants in programs, help them to understand and speak about their own behavioral problems, increase psychological stability, eliminate feelings of abandonment and alienation, and bring up emotional intelligence.

Socialization and resocialization of a child with deviant behavior is ensured by a high level of professional competence of teachers who have extensive knowledge in the field of pedagogy and psychology and the ability to use active forms and modern methods of humanistic education.

Teachers are looking for new approaches and methods of working with children with deviant behavior: methods of art therapy, methods of group therapy, as well as specialized projects and programs that have proved to be effective, including on-line programs, trainings (skills training), guides for teachers, psychologists and social workers, aimed at the successful socialization and resocialization of children of this category.

All efforts by social workers to formulate and implement a plan for the resocialization of a deviant adolescent should be seen as part of a longer-term and broader strategy for transition to adulthood. Moreover, this principle of continuity of supportive activities and monitoring within the framework of the overall strategy concerns not only adolescents under public supervision in probation, but also children and adolescents in children's institutions and foster families who did not have problems with the law. Teaching an adolescent to long-term planning and goal-setting, making informed decisions and independently monitoring their implementation is an equally important part of the work of the social teacher, rather than creating a network of long-term supportive social connections for the child.

The main mechanisms in the education of children with deviant behavior in the United States are: conducting skill-building trainings that help to correct emotional manifestations of personality using methods of game therapy, art therapy; implementation of projects and programs of group therapy aimed at identifying the causes of deviant behavior of the child and his correction, self-identification of the child and strengthening of family ties; communication in the form of an equal dialogue; the implementation of the probation regime as a precondition for exclusion from society; involvement in socially useful beneficial activities as an important condition for the successful resocialization of the child, the implementation of the program of good work. This work is based on pedagogical interaction of the educator and educated on the basis of partnership and dialogue, trust and openness, on the basis of a deep knowledge of the psychological characteristics and life circumstances of the person being educated and, most importantly, based on the belief in the child himself.


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23 January 2020

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Cite this article as:

Kuznetsova, L. V., Getskina, I. B., Semenov, V. L., Dulina, G. S., Zahkarova, A. N., & Talanova*, T. V. (2020). Prevention Of Deviant Behavior Of Children In The Us Educational Environment. In R. Valeeva (Ed.), Teacher Education- IFTE 2019, vol 78. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 466-476). European Publisher.