empathy. Gilligan (1993) notes that the adolescent characteristics described above may be disorienting and frustrating to the adults who have to deal with them, which could lead them to adopt either permissive or authoritarian responses. Yet research indicates that adolescents are especially needy of authoritative parenting. Research indicates that adolescents who reported that their parents closely monitored their activities subsequently were more likely to engage in volunteer community work (Zaff et al., 2003), and those who described their parents as having clear rules and high expectations reported two years later that being kind and fairness to others were important qualities (Pratt et al., 2003). Other studies show that adolescents have positive responses when they believe they are being treated with dignity and respect and have their voices heard in the family decision-making process (see Fondarcaro, Dunkle, and Pathak, 1998). These parenting principles resonate in the justice context.


School and teacher characteristics can affect developmental processes (see Caldwell et al., 2009). Wentzel (2002) found that adolescents who perceived their teachers to have high expectations of them had higher levels of social responsibility. Research also indicates that the degree of emotional support from teachers perceived by adolescents predicts students’ adherence to classroom rules and norms (Wentzel, 1998) and in part predicts whether students drop out of school (Rumberger, 1995). School-wide interventions in which teachers are taught to provide students with clear behavioral expectations, developmentally appropriate room for autonomy, and warmth and support have been shown to contribute to increased levels of students’ sense of community and prosocial behavior (Watson et al., 1989).

As discussed in Chapters 3 and 4, a growing body of research has focused on school discipline, especially on the effectiveness of alternatives to zero-tolerance policies. These studies have a direct bearing on the challenge of implementing developmentally and culturally sensitive instruments of accountability in the juvenile justice system. For example, school principals who assume responsibility for managing their students’ behavior and changing the attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of the teaching staff seem well positioned to offer wisdom and experiential learning opportunities to law enforcement and justice personnel that address the unique challenges of effectively interacting with oppositional adolescents (Rausch and Skiba, 2006). (For an illustrative example of how school discipline might be handled in a developmentally appropriate way, see Box 7-1.)

Scholars and practitioners have also extrapolated promising directions from evaluations of school-based problem behavior reduction programs

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