What can Parents Do?
Whether you realize it or not, all children can be at risk to join gangs. As a parent, you have a lot more power than you think to prevent your children from joining gangs.
Children and teens who have good skills to deal with other people are less likely to join gangs or to be involved in negative behavior. To build self-confidence and respect for others in their children, parents can teach positive behavior.
Some of the behaviors typically associated with at risk kids include: Withdrawing from family or long term friends; Declining attendance or performance in school; Unexplained cash or goods such as clothing or jewelry.
As responsible adult, mentor, or parent, you can model:
- Honest communication. Tell them positive things and listen to what they have to say. They must believe it is okay for them to express these feelings without being teased or punished.
- Cooperation. Children must learn to cooperate, negotiate, and put themselves in another person’s shoes. Praise your children for cooperating, especially when they are able to work out a compromise.
- Be a positive role model or look for a mentor that your child trusts and respect.
- Personal responsibility. Teach your children to be responsible for their actions. Let them know that even if they do not get something right at first, what counts is that they are trying hard and learning from the experience.
- Ability to make decisions. Instead of solving problems for your children, give them the chance to think of possible solutions. •Spend time with them, stay connected and encourage positive activities after school or look for community activities
- Ability to give and receive unconditional love. Love your children for who they are, regardless of how well they do in school, sports, or other activities. Even if you are angry with them, let them know you still love and respect them.
You are not alone – When your best efforts are not working, ask for help or talk to somebody you trust about the situation whether it is a friend, community elder, teacher, or spiritual advisor.
Remember to reinforce with children
- You are worth it
- You will have a great future
- I am concerned
- There is help