Tips for Parents and Youth
||Tips For Parent
How can you keep your child from joining a gang? Here are a few ideas:
- Get your child involved in special activities, such as sports, music, or art.
- Volunteer at your child's school.
- Establish rules; set limits; be consistent, firm, and fair.
- Get to know your child's friends and their parents.
- Listen to your child. Talk with your child. Show respect for your child's feelings and attitudes.
- Do not buy or allow your child to buy gang-style clothing.
- Educate yourself about gang and drug activity in your community.
- Know where your child is. Be aware that 3-6 p.m. is not a safe time to leave your child unsupervised.
- Get your child involved in quality, out-of-school time activities.
- Demonstrate love and acceptance at home. Many kids join gangs to feel a sense of connection and approval.
When should you be concerned about your child's possible involvement in a gang? When s/he:
- Admits having friends who are gang members.
- Is obsessed with one particular color of clothing, particularly blue or red.
- Wears sagging pants (this in and of itself is not indicative of gang activity).
- Wears excessive jewelry with distinctive designs and may wear it only on either the right or left side of the body (fading).
- Withdraws from and shows disrespect toward your family.
- Associates with new, undesirable friends.
- Shows excessive need for secrecy and privacy.
- Is obsessed with gang-influenced music, videos, or movies to the point of imitation.
- Uses hand signals while with friends and practices them at home.
When should you be concerned about your child's possible involvement in a gang?
If there is evidence or the appearance of:
- Physical injury (such as being beaten) and then the child lies about the events surrounding the injury.
- Peculiar drawings or language on school books (may appear later as tattoos or brands).
- Unexplained cash or goods, i.e. clothing or jewelry.
- Possible use of alcohol and drugs with an attitude change.
What if my child is already in a gang?
- It is extremely difficult to get out, once s/he has been initiated.
- Don't try to handle the situation on your own. Get help.
- Contact Gang of One, 24/7/365, at 704.432.GANG/4264 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A network of local resources is available to you and your child.
- Let your child know that you are there for them.
- Let your child know that a network of resources is there for them to ensure their safety from gang activity.
- Let your child also know that a network of resources is observing their behavior, sending a clear message that the community is not going to tolerate any gang infiltration.
Tips For Youth
- Are you being pressured to join a gang?
- Are you in a gang and tired of the "fake love" your gang promises?
- You are not alone.
- A movement has started to help you.
- By standing with us, you can accomplish anything .
- Gang of One can help you fight gang pressure and give you alternatives to gang life.
- You have the right to do what you want to do, without someone pushing you in a direction you do not want to go.
Gangs Aren't the Answer.
- Join an athletic team or club.
- Join an arts program.
- Participate in an out-of-school program.
- Take a part-time job.
- Talk with your parent(s).
- Talk with your religious leader, school teacher, or guidance counselor.
- Talk with someone you trust.
- Look for a "safe zone" in your school or community.
- Do not join a gang.
- Contact Gang of One at 704.432.GANG (4264).
Already in a Gang?
- Make a plan for getting out.
- Never tell the gang that you plan to leave. Your safety may be at risk.
- Begin spending time doing other things instead of hanging out with the gang.
- Look around—possibilities are everywhere: sports, recreation centers, clubs, arts programs, drama, school activities, even spending time with your family.
- Try to stop looking like a gangster. For many gang members, dressing down makes them feel safe because other people are afraid of the way they look. As you learn to believe in yourself, you'll find you don't need to make others feel afraid to feel good about yourself.
- Stop hanging out with gang members, talking like a gang member, and acting like a gang member.
- Get good at making excuses. Your parents can help you with this, but if not, try a teacher or an older friend for help.
- Find people who will support you and believe in you.
You Can Walk Away!
- Getting out of a gang isn't easy, but it can be done. Young people make the decision to have a better life everyday. So can you.
- Find people, especially caring adults, who you think are special and will keep reminding you that you are special.
- In your mind, think of an adult you can touch base with if you have a problem or need to talk. Then use these people to help support you as you change your life with good advice and assistance.
- Begin believing in yourself and in your power to change. No matter who you are, what you have done, or where you live, you deserve better.
- We think so too. Gangs are a dead-end street.
Be your own Gang of One.
More Gang Information
The following information is intended to help parents in identifying the early warning signs of gang involvement, aid them in preventing their children from getting involved with gangs, and provide assistance in helping their children get out of gangs. It is not intended to label or target a particular child who may exhibit some of the listed characteristics. This information is provided by CMPD for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as conclusive proof of gang or criminal involvement.