It’s not the case of Mr. and Mrs. Sally alone but of innumerous parents who want to protect their children from the horrors of gang involvement but are unaware of how to cope. This piece of writing will surely assist them in recognizing the signs of gang involvement. After taking the elaborated measures they’ll surely be able to not only save their children but also, save the nation from this menace.
The risk posed to the American youth today
Gun culture and gang violence is a part of American history for ages. Dating back to 1958, children have been watching their adults proudly picking up guns for various reasons, which up till now have become rather peculiar and more of a fashion statement. Thanks to no registration of guns in the USA, particularly anyone can afford to keep it, which difficult to keep control over the reasons of gun use. Moreover, at every level of American society and culture, the ancient notion of firearms, as a symbol of bravery and necessity, still prevails (Bellesiles, B7).
According to the National Alliance of Gangs Investigators Associations (2005), gangs today are more sophisticated and cosmopolitan. They use children for drug trafficking, smuggling, and criminal activities. Children are recruited quite early in gangs as in 7 or 8 years taking advantage of the fact that children under 13 cannot be put to jail.
How to detect your child’s gang involvement
Parents should be vigilant against a number of the following physical and behavioral attributes exhibited in their children which are the indicators of gang involvement.
- Adopting a particular hairstyle or preferring/excluding a dress code or color
- Presence of firearms or weapons
- Produces cash and belongings that he can’t afford
- Graffiti on child’s room walls, notebooks, etc
- Change in normal routine, behavior, personality, and friends
- Secluding from family and disinterested in school or study
- taking alcohol or illegal drugs
- truanting, bunking school, getting home late
- developing attitude and discipline problems in family and school
- wearing weird jewelry, accessories, or tattoos
- using strange language or sign language to communicate
- associate with children exhibiting similar signs as above
- possessing graffiti appurtenance, firearms, or weapons
- display signs of physical injury and being deceitful about them
How to save your children from this menace
Studies prove that gang activities have progressed through denial by the parents and that youth, yet unexposed to gangs can acquire positive manifestation about the threats of gang involvement, only if the awareness is created in the right manner. Timely recognition of the warning signs can enable parents to assist their children before things start slipping out of control. (Buhain, 2007)
Discuss the threats and consequences of gang involvement with your children. Whether you detect the symptoms of gang involvement in them or not, this can prove to be essential for an early mind make-up and abstaining from gang acquaintances.
Peer pressure is the root cause of many developing issues among our youth, and only parents can play a vital role in shaping the child’s personality in such a way that he can distinguish his choices on basis of social and individual virtues rather than on their temporary acceptability or convenience. To develop self-confidence in your child to cope with peer pressure and report any doubtful activity. You can do this by getting more involved in his life; knowing his friends and interest. Check on and encourage him through his academics and promote monitored extracurricular activities. Be rigid about rules, regulations, and punishment. Undoubtedly excess of control might turn the child stubborn, but this is the concept that leads to total lack of control by some parents resulting in utter ignorance by them when their child went into the dark lane. So reinforcement and restrictions are essential for a child’s development towards a better citizen.
Give our child responsibility and communicate with him openly. Don’t hesitate to answer the queries they are curious about. Often parents procrastinate to inform their children about covert subjects that carry subtle but immense significance. Exchange information and views with your child regarding such subjects, as is gang involvement, which in turn would also help develop their trust in you.
Mostly children of working parents are found to be involved in gangs. The reason the child doesn’t receive the due love and attention, which in turn he finds among the gang (Kontos & Brotherton, 247). Be there for your child when he needs you. Give him your quality time. For working parents, it’s necessary to take out regular time for their child, not only to monitor and assess him but also to fill the gap that he tends to feel by the absence of his parents. Be a good listener and value your child’s feelings.
Parents themselves must also present a positive role model before their child and set good examples. Children of parents with criminal records or socially disrespected habits are found to have a higher toll of gang involvements and acquaintances. Your child tends to follow the path carved by you. Practice what you want them to do. Always remember, you are their very first institution.
- Kontos, L. Brotherton, D. Encyclopedia of Gangs. US. Greenwood publishing group (2008)
- Buhain, V. “Knowing signs can pinpoint gang activity early: Groups that work with youths learn to recognize dangers.” Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. (2007)
- Bellesiles, M. “Exploding the Myth of an Armed America.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. (29 September, 2000), 47 (5), B7-B10
- National Alliance of Gangs Investigators Associations. “2005 National Gang Threat Assessment.” National Crime Prevention Council.
- Warning Signs. “Gangs and School Violence.”