Monday, November 3, 2008

How to prevent attraction to gangs

While no parent can guarantee that a child won't get attracted to a gang, there's less risk if parents:

Realize that it's not just urban kids who get involved. Gangs can exist in the suburbs or rural areas, and urban gang members travel to suburban hangouts such as malls.

Don't think girls are immune to gang influence. While there are some all-girl gangs, girls also can get involved on their own, or through friends, boyfriends or relatives.

Be alert to your surroundings in the neighborhood and take steps to improve it. Don't always assume the movements and patterns of behavior of youths in your immediate vicinity are innocent.

Pay attention, know places and people your children need to avoid. Know your children's friends and families. Find out about them before you allow your kids to spend time with new people. Know your child's whereabouts. Although young teens need some time with friends, families need systems and routines for checking on each other.

Young teens need supervision. Provide structured activities for your children. Kids involved in recreational activities they enjoy, have less free time for others to use unhealthy influence's on them. Encourage your children's academic life and other talents. Steering children in positive directions builds self-esteem through accomplishment.

Learn all you can about gang signs and symbols and activities. Attend programs and tap into these resources. Teach kids not to use drugs. Sometimes Gangs and drugs go hand in hand.

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