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Families and Gangs—
Additional Resources

It is human nature for people to gather in groups. But when these groups become known as gangs, we begin to panic.

As parents, our children are a part of ourselves. Every parent wants to understand why they choose the gang experience as a social/emotional outlet. And, even more, the parents should know how to identify the signs of potential gang involvement and why some kids decide to be in a gang.

Most police departments and area schools have graffiti signs and symbols pamphlets available. Although these are important, you can rely on some behavioral clues to identify gang interest, or at least surfacing trouble.

The struggle for every parent is that there are no definitive answers to this problem. Even identifying one or more of the issues on the list may not mean your child is gang involved. The real key to the problem of gangs is prevention. A good beginning step is to become knowledgable about local gangs, their signs and symbols, and drugs and alcohol. Investment in your child's school activities and interests will help you recognize changes in behavior.

If you have questions, seek help. Many people isolate themselves and do not seek help because of the stigma of gang involvement and the embarrassment of a child whose interests are outside of acceptable limits. Rather than isolate yourself, take time to contact the school, police, and mental health resources for support and guidance.

Kids join gangs for many reasons, such as for social or emotional support or protection. We need to teach critical thinking and decision making, discuss the pitfalls of peer pressure and the dangers of gangs, drugs and alcohol.

Reading, Watching and Listening List

Consult your local library to find these resources:

Family Works in Action

Signs of gang involvement:

Remember

No city is too wealthy, too policed or too isolated for gang activity.

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