thumbnail of Exploring the child's world; Differential association
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The child is father to the man as we hope for a world of men of good will. We must look to the conditions of the child's world to achieve it. So we search for the laws ways and means the sources of the capable spontaneously whole adult. It is not strange that the world of the disturbed child throws light on childhood in general. Also Father Francis Duffy chairman of the Department of Sociology of Duquesne University was not at first looking for this light when he started working with the disturbed child. He found however that it is not that the disturbed a delinquent child is completely removed from society. Rather that his position is more extreme and so its obviousness offers us a sharper clearer insight into the world of children to share the fruit of his research funded Duffy into Kane University presents a series of recorded interviews with delinquent children followed by a short discussion in which the child and his problems are explored for insight. Here is Father Duffy to preview the problems of this child who speaks in exploring the
child's world. Father Duffy. The following interview took place in the detention home of the Allegheny County Juvenile Court in Pittsburgh. The girl is 13 years old white protestant of Irish-American ancestry. She has run away and now refuses to return to her mother who is a traveling burlesque queen. The girl is angry over things that she cannot express and she even gets angry over things that she can neither understand nor remember. I one point in the interview she becomes almost incoherent rapidly shifting from her rage at being overthrown by one boy to a sort of mental transfer of his qualities to another boy that she's dating who resembles the first one in this sequence she mixes up names and pronouns. She describes herself as a somewhat of a heavy drinker at the age of 13. As one who has
never been happy and as a loner at least at home there is a type of person who is a street angel and the house devil. Jenny is rather devilish on any social stage on which she performs. When the interview appears to be over rather early in the interview Jenny really explodes her problem. She is mixed up she says she hates authority but she knows that you need it especially if you don't know the answers. She is defiant. She makes fun of her teachers but demands politeness and courtesy of them. She watches the other girls to see if they're on the side of the authorities but she's sensitive to they're watching her. She regards herself as quite ugly and calls her life hopeless. She went to study at the age of 13 holding on to this 21 year old man's friendship by threatening to disclose his misconduct. Toward the end of the interview she says that she feels that if she goes away to another state her boyfriend may want her back someday. But she knows
he won't. This girl illustrates some of the general concepts that we could tentatively put up at this point. Traits that we began to see in the behavior patterns of delinquent and disturbed children. We can establish these from the complaints of children against their parents and other adults. First they say adults scream at them. You know what are some of the dynamics of screaming. You'll notice it when you have to raise your voice to someone who is deaf. It makes you angry. Of course if you're already angry your voice will raise by itself. Children who are screamed at react by ignoring the screaming until the last big scream that comes just before the physical beating. They quickly learn that in a screaming atmosphere the thing to do if you want attention or notice is to scream. And thus you have the screaming household and the mother with a headache. Second these children complain that they're not trusted. They're expected to misbehave and they usually oblige. Another pattern is their re creation of the black sheep a very interesting phenomenon
often a child reminds the parents or adults of a bad one in the family. The parents then consciously or otherwise drive the child to imitate the bad one and they constantly complain that the child is like the bad one. And also often that there is a strong friendship grows up between black sheep number one and black sheep number two. Another implied complaint of children is that adults do not make them feel important or worthwhile. Another one children often identify love with the giving of material things. The children also complain that parents don't let them test out their ideas or behavior of or appliance at home in the safety of the family. Parents take them too literally or are too fast with solutions and cautions and warnings and criticism. They often disguise us of course as help. Another complaint children that their parents don't listen to them children again complain that parents
over direct them or that parents are the opposite too permissive. There's a lack of balance one way or the other. A child needs love the also needs limits if no limits are set. He feels neglected. Ultimately the parents won't be able to stand him. Let's see how many of these hypotheses are present in this little girl's story as we light another taper and further pursue the interesting challenge of exploring the child's world. Your mother was up tonight you know what happened when she came and she rang me Sunday and books and she said we were talking. Well she asked me if I wanted to get a good shepherd so my brother was there. He didn't pay the half of the Corvair the other half of it if I want to go there. But as an OK way Sammy and she says Don't you want to come home and I says now. So she said and I says I'm not the same girl I was my love and she says What do you mean so I says nobody's going to tell me what to do and then she says What do you mean you want to go I was boys
I said no I go out boy because I don't want to go out was but I says if I want to clean my room I clean my room. If I don't I won't. So my mother said I'm not taking you. And I says OK so and she said Don't you think you owe me something. I says Don't you think you owe me something because after all she could have taken me thirteen years ago. So she says Oh she says you have to thank me for all the stuff I brought you. And I handed her back her candy and her books and I says I don't want nothing. And she started openly. Then she looked at her watch and said well I guess we gotta put up with each other as a way to claw. And I said no you didn't. You can leave any time you want to. But she didn't really and she just said something else to me like a real man I got up and walked over to the other side and sat down and she got up and told me and my daughter can go back anytime she wants to. It was a sea end of a long series of fights that you've had with your mother.
Well we had a fight the other night. She ain't taking me back no more. So there's nothing I can do about it. Let them send me to my games I don't care. Since you were a little girl you never really lived with her did you. She didn't care about me. My grandparents didn't have the hospital where I was born. Did she have other children or are you the only one. I mean besides his brother you mention now and you live with your grandparents 13 13 years now. Now I was 13 last March. I mean in a way it was a Sunday the first Sunday in March was the second I started March and I ran away. This is the first trouble you've ever been involved in. You mean running away is the only trouble I never had to trouble the police on that day thirty on a Sunday morning I picked up a one o'clock now and 8:30 Monday night. I got picked up in Greensburg. The state police
barracks down there. They sent me home. They didn't say nothing. They don't take names enough and you were alone and I was by myself. You didn't pick up with the boys or men and company. Well see the first time I left the second time I just hitched drives you know with different truck drivers. I was in Altoona wheeling Pittsburgh and all over. Were any of these men arrested. Oh no I don't think so. And when did you get into trouble again was it after after the march into running away again. It was boys in June and I couldn't go home was a very happy place to be and I was never happy. I'm only happy when I'm alive. I mean I like to have people around go out and have fun you know but then I like to go south. I do like when I live in the south side and I ran away. I go out and I get a coke or something. I know a couple
girls a couple guys over there with you know stuff like that to go someplace get some to drink or something. You mean hard liquor or both. That's message travel. My mother's don't want me to go out. Boys didn't want me gone out always wants me to clean up my room stay in the house. But she never stayed in the house. Couldn't say anything when she had me. She had to get back to the show she was in she's always been in show business. And what the other kids town is a pretty rough show. I know she lives a different man I know. I never knew my father my grandmother want to mention his name. I just want them all to leave me alone. I make my own way. I mean better off McGann's I don't keer I'll do what I want and that's that. You can tell her that I don't care. I was rooting Els and I should be on my travels. That's right. I need some help. But there's lots of things I can't tell you.
I can't tell anybody. Well Jenny one thing that sometimes helps is to have a chance to express your feelings to get our problems out on the table and look at them as somebody else. So up to now I think your troubles have been pretty much bottled up building up also pressure inside of you. I'm mixed up inside. I hate to hurt my mother. I want to hurt myself but I mean I could have gone home it just seems like I get out there and I say when something gets in demand I I just don't care anymore. Well I guess I just want to be my own boss and that's wrong too young and I don't know the answer to any of the answers I wouldn't be in trouble. MILLER Yes you would. I hate us already and I shouldn't because you need us already but I just don't like it. I had to find my teachers that have and I kid around but I want a father now I fear I just stand there and I defy those teachers
and I say lock me in my room I don't care and supervises. Why no I shouldn't do that because they're just trying to help me. When were you ever able to take authority do you think. In general when can you put up with it. When can you conform. I know now as well just seems like as long as they ask me to do something I'll do it when somebody tells me I want you know like somebody else say shut up. I'll just keep on talking to make the man they say will you please SHUT UP SHUT UP. Well what you seem to be saying is if people appear to like you you seem to be able to take any authority that they can give. You don't seem to mind doesn't this bother you. Yeah and somebody likes me and I like Salman because I know they like me. I try to be nice to them. There's this one teacher and she treats me nice she gives me a special box of clean paints and everything. When she asked me to be
quiet in a class I was quiet. Then this is so the teacher she wanted nothing for nobody. I just don't like her. I just sit there and I always make fun of her that whole period. There's this other girl in the class and she was when she walks I do too. I put it on but I I still do it. This girl she put it on but hers looks funny. Minus a little bit natural. So she walks up there and the teacher made fun of her. So I just purposely gets up and walks up just like she did. You do it worse. Yeah I guess. But she knew better than to make fun of me. I just stared at her. Show me stand in the corner. And she says I stood in a corner facing her and she says Turn around you. So I turned a full swing around and started staring at her and I was saying well you told me to turn around. All the kids were laughing but I knew I shouldn't do that to the poor lady because I guess she's a nice lady. One treated
nice I treat her nice to me you know because she treats me nice. Why shouldn't I treat a nice i mean like the girls up here. Well this one grown out on the same we're going to try get away break out Mia. We're talking about trying to break out of you now and we're just talking so warmly day went down the gym and one of us said this would be a good time to get out because we want outside of Dana. Well that girl she goes to school is a lady. She told these girls over here going to try and make a break you know it's got ourselves locked in our rooms for nothing. Just talking about it. So you know I was going to beat her up but I changed my mind because I said what's the use of getting yourself locked in your room for somebody like that. And now that girl tries to be nice to me but I'll be nice to her because I know she did something to hurt me and wants somebody does something to hurt me. I can't forgive them for it and I don't know I've been hurt so many times it just gets sickening.
Like you know when I go as a boy I never break up with him. It's like two boys I broke up with every other boys breaks up with me. I see. Well I just can't stand any more of it. I afraid that like when I go to dance I know what I look like I mean I know I'm pretty bad looking. So when I go to a dance I go is this girlfriend of mine. She much better looking than me but everybody you know they seem to think she's think she's a pretty but she's sort of cute but I go to dance and she dances all night and I just stand there on the sidelines and watch her I don't know why I go to dances because I know I'm going to be embarrassed. Stand there by myself. But I guess it just seems so funny that I should even bother going if I now I do get some advances me only because she asked him to dance with me or something like that. It just seemed so hopeless. I mean once unwashed I'm gone you know then I think you
told me that you you got yourself a regular boyfriend. How did it work out and was it different. I never had to worry about it. Then we had a standing date every week you know. So nice twice a week. And I'm just happy when I was going to see him and I was before that when I when I was a boy absolutely the other guys you know go to dances try to make out with other boys when I was him I just never bothers anybody else like a lot of study before I was a guy's rings. I always wear my under my blouse and I would you could see I was gone steady and start talking everything but I was hearing and I told everybody because I you know I just didn't want to be any else but him and I was cuter boys and him. I don't know why I was just you know so happy with him you felt comfortable with just one voice. Yeah. There wasn't anything we couldn't talk about.
We talk about we talk everything at you now I just saw it. Like he was going on 21 and I was like 13. And we're talking to him. Tell me his parents didn't like me. His mother didn't know it was the first time I ran away how old I was. I never met his mother but he never introduced me to his mother. I'll explain that later because he didn't want his mother you know how old I was the first time I ran away. Well he's a want to help me run away the first time I ran away because I had someone I told I get in trouble if you did and so his mother found my mother went to his mother and all that junk. His mother says well you should have had enough sense to stay away from her you now because she's too young for you to get in trouble. Well we still went together. Game is right. It got news got out pretty fast because my doing things seems to get around pretty. So he was afraid his mother was going to find out because this man the store knew it. His mother good Danae now
he said to me Can I have my ring back because. Well he didn't come right out and said. He says I says Do you want your ring back and he says Yeah. He said he's afraid his mother is going to find out. He says Can we still be going steady. And I says yeah I guess having sex relations with my mother found you now about says I broke down and told her she said I could still go out once a week so it was Wednesday and Saturday I was supposed to have a day with them both nights. Saying that it was a big deal. I'm going to go as this girl. I didn't really want to go but I figured said that it's best not to go out to him because I've missed a dance so I told her I was going to babysit and he saw me he broke up with me that night next year then the next day and if I called a couple times Sunday and he called me Sunday morning at my girlfriend's
house. He says he wanted to see me when we're back together and we talked. He called me three nights in the Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday night he didn't call and I girlfriend broke up with me. That's all. He didn't give me no warning nothing and I was I just went crazy I got mad I picked up the phone threw it my mother she came running in and she says What's the matter. I just won while and I couldn't help it. I just cried and cried for days. I just pretend like it was a him. You know this one kid you kind of see and hear and he has seen here too. So I started calling him that guy's name. He said I was crazy. I just couldn't help myself. I cry and cry i still cry myself to sleep every night.
That's all I think about. I think that maybe some day he'll like me again maybe I'll go away to another status and a couple years I'll see him again and go together again but I know it's never going to happen. I just can't you know. Well that's all there is to it. Yes. Well Jenny it's time now perhaps we could talk again if you'd like to. Yeah I wish we could. All right well said. And now joining from a doctor to discuss the features of this child's wode is his guest Professor Chester a jersey back of the sociology department. And you can university here are Father Duffy And Professor Jerzy back. Today we have heard the interesting case of a girl by the name of Jenny and in trying to integrate this as an exemplification of one of the various theories in delinquency in criminality. We kind of agreed that this comes under the classification of differential
Association theory as we all know is simply a method of explaining facts which have been uncovered have been classified and then analyzed and finally explained and the explanation part of it appears to me is the theoretical position. To date Mr. Jack would you tell us a little bit about this differential Association which was thought up by Sullivan as his contribution for explaining criminology. I think the main idea in differential association or to put it in a simple way that means that people who become delinquent have a different kind of association than those who do not become delinquent It means that they interact differently. I have different kind of friends go to a different kind of places than the non delinquent. And what an effect means is that a many delinquents spend a great deal of their time with other delinquents rather than with good boys or good girls their
models in other words are bad. If we may say so and in the case of Jenny a 13 year old girl a girl who suffers from a psychological condition of extreme hostility and revalue and we see throughout that her SO S. ations were the kind that she could not use as a model for adequate adjustment for adequate living having an adequate set of values and so on and. While we can make the comments that this case exemplifies I think that we may want to emphasize the notion that this youngster has been exposed to a tremendous number of illegal norms
even legal situations. And I think this is one great factor in a case of many a delinquent not necessarily in all delinquents but in many delinquents. I think we can over exaggerate the difference in one's association as a cause of one's behavior but I think it's an important factor to be recognized. I'm sure it is. But also we see in this theory I believe that the people with whom one associates they would place a higher value on the things that would encourage a person to break the law rather than to keep it. And I think this girl again exemplifies this fairly well in that her mother certainly did not lay down a very good pattern for her to follow the mother obviously of course of the girl stayed and was involved with many many many husbands. She also complained that the mother wasn't even there to pick her up at the hospital and that when the child was born that the grandmother picked her up. And I think there is a strong
suspicion in this girl's mind that she may not be legitimate and she holds her mother responsible for this and I think she's pretty well determined that she's going to leave this family a pretty merry chase before she's finished. Yes. Throughout as you as you look as you pointed out that starting from the day she was born on to the life that she had with her grandparents on to the life that she's had in school on to the life that she's led to with her friends. And finally this and wherein she now associates with a man 21 years old she's 13. She has had sex relations with him she wears his ring. She doesn't know what this really means. What this is going to lead to. That throughout. This youngster has never had the opportunity to know what a good association is. She has come in
contact with people that drink. She also drinks. And I think it's much easier to lead a good life so to speak if you haven't a model to imitate rather than when there's an absence of such a situation we know this very clearly for example in study of marriage adjustment the success of marriage that it's much easier for people who come from happy homes to have a happy nest of their own as opposed to people who do not have such a situation who come from broken homes of some sort or if not broken and openly and visibly at least its extremely disturbed type of. Oh and in the case of Jenny Jenny might have great possibilities if she could be put into a different situation. Maybe something that
we that was once mentioned before me to your therapy that means therapy in one's situation in one's Association is highly necessary sending Jenny back to her environment is not going to help her case. Actually it may just help to destroy or further. And so whenever we're looking for causes or for resolution of causes in delinquency we may want to look to the proposition of how people associate with each other is a possibility. I thought you got a very pathetic remark there that they always broke up with her she says I never broke up with them and they always broke up with me again. We repeat that there's a pattern here that the grandmother grandfather are afraid of this little girl is going to turn out the way her mother did and very often this leads them to to do some pretty rigid inflexible things with their children to protect them. And I'm sure that she just lives for breaking through these protective bonds that are placed
around her in the form of regulations and rules. This summarises been the picture of a little girl who was pretty badly mixed up. Her mother was a an actress and very poor type of actress. She did not appear even to pick up a child at the hospital after the child got out of the and incubator. The mother never one of the child she didn't want to at the time she had her she still doesn't want a child knows this and resents it and the child is therefore thrust herself into the worst forms of companions and she can locate hoping that in this way she's going to punish the people around her and make them pay up in some OWN explained way for the way that she was treated. I'd like to thank Professor Joseph for being with us again today and also those at the juvenile court detention home who have cooperated to make this program possible. You have been listening to exploring the child's world in a program in which the child speaks from the French a stuffy chairman of the sociology department at UK
university has conducted the interview with the child and to find the outlines of this world it in the discussion with his guest Professor Chester agers Act also at the Department of Sociology at UK. With. The. This has been a production of the radio services at Duquesne University technical direction by Frederick Williams your announcer has been to listen again next week for another in the series exploring the child. The interview heard on this program was a recreation exploring the child's world is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters.
This is the end I ybe Radio Network.
Exploring the child's world
Differential association
Producing Organization
Duquesne University
WDUQ (Radio station : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-wm13sk6k).
Episode Description
This program focuses on differential association, a theory that proposes that children's negative behaviors are learned from others.
Series Description
Interviews with delinquent and disturbed young people who are encouraged to discuss their experiences and express feelings. To protect individuals, each program is a re-creation of an actual interview using different names and places.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Interviewee: Jerzak, Chester A.
Producing Organization: Duquesne University
Producing Organization: WDUQ (Radio station : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Speaker: Duffy, Francis
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 62-27-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:45
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Exploring the child's world; Differential association,” 1962-07-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “Exploring the child's world; Differential association.” 1962-07-18. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: Exploring the child's world; Differential association. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from