While parenting teens is already a handful, youth gangs have only added to the challenge. The idea of becoming a part of a gang may sound exciting and adventurous to the kids as it can give them a sense of power and access to money, but it is actually their first step on a bumpy road. Unfortunately, kids are not able to realize the risks associated with joining these gangs. This is why parents must get involved. No need to worry though, as there are various ways in which you can make sure your kid does not end up joining teen gangs.
Stay Involved in Kid’s Life
Lack of care, protection, and support from family is one of the major reasons why teens join gangs. This is why taking an active part in kid’s life is strongly recommended. You must stay involved in whatever he does at school, with friends, and at home. Talk to the kid about his daily activities. You must also get to know about his friends and their families to make sure he is not spending time with someone who is a member of any gang. Also, make sure that you are fulfilling his physical, emotional, and financial needs as neglected kids with financial needs easily fall prey to gangs.
Foster Positive Life Skills
Lower self-esteem, lack of confidence, peer pressure, and bullying also encourages kids to join gangs for getting protection. You must teach problem-solving skills to youngsters so that they can deal with issues like peer pressure and bullying instead of relying on others for protecting them. Kids who can handle day to day life challenges are less likely to join gangs.
Monitor His Online Activities
The internet is a hunting ground for gangs who use different social media platforms not only to attract more kids but also to tease, harass, and humiliate the members of other gangs. The online behavior of kids tells a lot about them, their friends, and their interests. Therefore, you must install parental controls on all their devices to stay updated about what they are doing online. If you happen to notice any strange or worrisome activity, then intervene before it’s too late.
Discuss the Consequences
Do not hesitate to talk about gangs with kids as it will make it clear to them that you do not approve of gangs. You must also share the short and long term consequences of joining these gangs. Tell kids that joining a gang may result in an arrest, as gang members are mostly forced to commit different crimes for generating money. Also tell your kids that:
- they are forced to choose their gang over their family
- they live their lives in fear of getting arrested or killed
- they face difficulty getting a good job
- they are unable to spend a normal life or have a normal family
- they put the lives of their loved ones at risk
You may also share any news headline, television program, or a real life story of any kid who became the victim of gang violence to discourage your kid from choosing this path. Remember to keep your resolve strong and never bow to the protests and tantrums of your youngster.