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Gangs and Your Child

Ever worry about your child getting involved in gangs? You are not alone! Across the country, parents are finding that in addition to peer pressure and other things parents need to watch out for, gangs have been added to the list. When it comes to keeping your kids from gangs, begin to tackle the challenge as early as middle school or junior high.

Gang Awareness

There are many reasons why children join gangs, including a lack of supervision, feeling intimidated, or just a desire for friends, and a sense of belonging. Some teens and tweens join gangs because they are influenced by older siblings or friends, are bullied into joining, or feel they can get protection from a bully by joining a gang. No matter what the reason, gang membership can be devastating for the child and his family and friends.

To keep your child out of gang activity, consider the following tips:

  • Try to keep your child involved in activities such as sports, dancing, etc. Keep him busy and provide less time for getting into trouble with gangs.
  • Talk to him about gangs so he understands what they are, how to steer clear of them, and why they are so harmful. The more your child knows about gangs, the better.
  • Pay attention to signs of bullying, and if your child is being bullied, take measures to address it immediately.
  • See what type of music your child is listening to and what he is watching on television. Some songs and TV shows glorify gangs, which may prompt your child to want to join one.
  • Monitor who his friends are and who he associates with, including older siblings and their friends, for any signs of gang activity.

If you suspect your child may be in a gang or may be exposed to gang activity, take action by speaking with his school, other parents, and local authorities before the situation gets worse. However, the most important factor when it comes to keeping kids out of gangs is keeping an open line of communication, keeping tabs on where your child is and what he is doing, and giving him plenty of love and affection.