Discouraging Children From Joining a Gang
Gangs are a growing concern in every community across America, including ours. Every statistic shows gang violence and crime is on the rise. As a parent, legal guardian, or member of the community, you should be educated on ways to stop the gang culture and discourage children from joining gangs.
By following these tips we can help discourage the gang culture in our youth today and put a stop to gang crime and violence.
- Learn about gang and drug activity in your community. Learn how gang members dress, speak, their behavior, and their activities. Attend informal meetings and read articles related to gang activity. Become an informed parent and know as much or more than your child knows about gangs.
- Discourage your children from hanging around gang members. Meet your children’s friends. Find out who they are, what influence they have over your children, and how they and your children spend their free time. If your children choose friends that are mostly gang members, then your children will most likely become involved or are already involved with a gang.
- Help occupy your children’s free time. Give them responsibilities at home. Encourage them to be involved in after-school sports, events, city recreation, or church activities.
- Develop good communication with your children. Good communication is open, frequent, and has a positive tone. It allows your children to come to you to discuss any topic or problem. It does not condemn them or put them down. Good communication allows you to honestly tell your children that you love them.
- Spend time with your children. Plan activities that the whole family can enjoy. Spend time alone with them. Expose them to different places outside of your neighborhood, such as parks, museums, the beach, the mountains, camping trips, etc. Give them attention.
- Don’t allow your children to dress in gang-style clothing. Don’t allow them to write or practice writing gang names or symbols on anything, including their own bodies. This all shows interest in gang culture.
- Set limits at an early age for your child, so they learn what is acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior.
- Don’t allow your children to stay out late or spend a lot of unsupervised time on the streets.
- Develop an anti-gang environment in your home.
- Participate in the education of your children. Visit their school, meet the teachers, and attend parent/school meetings.
- Participate in your community. Know your neighbors and their children. Organize or join a Neighborhood Watch program. Attend community functions. Teach your children civic pride.
- Be a good example and become an active parent.
- Learn alternatives to gang membership; but most importantly, talk to your children.
Gang membership, violence, and crimes are a growing problem in our community. The police department and other law enforcement agencies need your assistance in helping discourage gang behavior and membership. Become informed and educated about gangs in your area. Remember that children are like the rest of us and are looking to belong to something and feel wanted by someone. Help them feel wanted and have a sense of belonging to something positive and not destructive or illegal.