Youth gangs hold a bad reputation, something that follows the gang members into their adulthood, significantly hurting their chances of leading a normal life. This is mainly because of the negative activities most of the gangs are involved in. Joining a gang is a difficult decision for kids, yet they eventually find the motivation to leap in, knowing very well that what would follow is going to be nothing less than a rollercoaster ride. So why do they do it? Why do they join gangs? This is something that parents have been wondering for many years. We have done a big of research in this area and stumbled across some pretty interesting discoveries that explain the underlying reasons for teen gang involvement. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
1. Need for Protection
Being an active part of a gang gives teens a physical as well as an emotional security, not just against bullies and other gangs, but also against all those negative things happening in their lives. These feelings are particularly common among neglected kids who fail to get the support and protection from their family. Victims of bullying and abuse also consider gangs a safe heaven, as gang members protect each other in the time of need.
2. Recognition and Attention
Kids are always eager to get recognition and attention, and gangs offer them both. Gang members often get respect or are feared due to the power they hold. Kids with lower self-esteem have a higher chance of joining gangs, as its boosts their self-esteem and makes them feel powerful.
Teens are always looking for new ways to have fun, and being a part of a gang is itself great fun as there are a lot of reckless activities they can participate in. Kids love living on the edge and taking risks, and this is the best part about becoming a gang member. The way our television channels and movies have portrayed gangs also give teens a wrong message. They join them for having fun, making new friends, and adopting a unique lifestyle.
4. Family Stress
Need for attention, support, and respect also makes kids vulnerable to the strong pull of gangs. When they fail to get attention and support from their home, they naturally start looking for it outside. The death of a parent, divorce, domestic violence, and sibling rivalry may also push them towards a group of people who seemingly have each other’s backs.
5. Monetary Benefits
Teens belonging to a gang often find themselves among richer kids. Not only this, they have an easier access to drugs, alcohol, and guns. Teens think that joining a gang is the easiest way of getting extra money when it is not true, as gang members mostly get money from illegal sources and actually have to undertake risks for it, which is rarely easy. Research studies have indicated that kids belonging to poor families mostly join gangs due to the monetary gains gangs offer.