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  • Writer's picturePutt Toxey

What are we doing to stop our children from joining gangs?

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

In my opinion, there are many reasons a child would join a gang. I want to focus on what I consider to be the main three reasons. First, it could be the family unit parents and siblings then the uncles, aunts, and cousins. Second, depending on the friends and environment plus dealing with peer pressure and being bullied. The third and one on the rise is media and celebrities.

1. No Child is Born Wanting To Become a Gang Member.

When you bring your child home from the hospital, the last thing you are thinking of is what gang will he best fit in. When you send that child to school for the first time, you do not consider what gang will choose them? So when does the worrying about this starts? Is there any way you can prevent it from happening? Well here is a few ways to help avoid that. Watch what you say and do around the children, including where you take them to play. You as the parent is the first line of defense, teach them about the world before you let them go out into it alone. Spending time with your children will stop them from wanting to join any gangs. Most children that join gangs have absent parents, either from separation, one parent going to jail or working a lot of overtime or different jobs. Children hear what you say to them, but they learn from what you do. If children are not getting enough love and attention from home they will find it elsewhere. Same goes for having a bunch of siblings that feel they are not getting equal time with their parents. If that is not possible to give them time sign them up to a big brother or big sister program, where that person could give them the attention that is needed. When you think about it, it is similar to having a nanny but a lot less cheaper. Another factor is the condition of the house matters if the child doesn't have their own space they won't feel like they are able to have privacy this causes them to stay out of the house more. Most children living in low-income area want more out of life better clothes, to join in after-school programs and activities, be able to eat what foods they like and not what their family can afford. This will drive them on the streets to find other means this usually send them to selling drugs and joining gangs.

2. Schools is where most kids today are getting introduced to gangs and crews

Around the preteen years is when you need to pay extra attention to your children. Make sure you know who your kids hang with and where. Pop up at their schools from time to time take them out talk with them about their day. This serves two purposes first to spend time with your child second to see if there are any bullying or gang activity going on. When other kids see you have family that cares about you the gang members tend to leave your child alone. Now, what is hard to see coming is peer pressure it is something not really forced on them. They want to be a part of what all their friends are into. If everyone wants to join the gang guess what, now they are joining just because they want to be down. That is why a parent should express how important it is to be a leader, not a follower. We need to provide the right extra curriculum activities to keep your child busy. During the weekends and after school is the time most children choose what type of crowd they will hang with make sure it's a positive one. How by finding the right places for them to be. For the parents that feel they can't afford to get their children into these activities, there are so many government free funded programs you just have to look for them it's easy with Google.

3. Are the Celebrities and Media today doing more harm than good?

Children are very impressionable and many of them watch a lot of hours of T.V each day. So you could understand why most of their idols and role models are the people they see on there. The highest rated shows are negative reality shows. Which are filled with gang members and the girlfriends that are dating or married to them. To these kids mainly teenagers it's cool to see them on t.v and to see who is going to fight today on the shows. Not to mention when they see information on the news or read articles in newspapers and magazines to them it must be true when one of these famous people get locked up because of gang affiliation. We as parents especially the ones from the rough neighborhoods, can relate when people like us make it to stardom telling their life stories. Here is when I think "keeping it real" takes a turn for the worst when it comes to the kids. This has a lot to do with the radio talk shows the way the questions are set up. Every time one of the celebrities do the interview they always ask about the past, most are in gangs or grew up around gang inhabited areas. So indirectly the shows are promoting gang life when the shows act as if they are just informing people they can get away from it and live a wonderful life like them on the interview. Here is where it gets tricky, just because these artists are now rich they still are claiming to be in the gangs they never left. They might say something like "I moved my children to a better place, or I have my children in the best private schools." Then on the news, you might hear someone tried to rob them or kill them. They will go back on the radio and tell our children what happen and mention how that's just way life is, I think that is the wrong message to be sending the youth. What does that say to someone that still lives in the dangerous areas? Does it mean your child should join the gangs and do what they have to until you get their riches plus get their family a better life? What about the fact that celebs are still in the gangs after making it out of the hood. Now it's about having street credentials (known as street creds) talking about how great the gang life is and how they won't leave it until they die in their interviews and songs, The best movies in the urban communities are the ones about gangs, drugs and even organized crime. Which the same as a gang. I heard one celebrity say people should stop blaming her she is not responsible for the children that listen to her, the parents need to do a better job at raising their own kids. Here is the problem with that statement these are the same kids supporting you going to your shows now that you have their money you don't care what happens to them. When you are promoting gang activity these children look up to you and want to be like you not like the parents barely getting by living from check to check. Why not go on t.v and change the narrative. It is sad to say only one or two races are the ones that have these types of interviews. So to fix this I say turn off them t.v's or make sure it's educational programs they watch. Your children will want to be those famous gang members on t.v before they think about becoming a doctor or lawyer. (look at the picture below) Here are a few known gang member that children look up to.

Take A look at this video and see if there is anyway you can prevent your child from joining a gang or at least notice when they are in one and why.

So what do you feel about these three? if there is any reasons I didn't address that you feel people should be aware of, to stop our children from joining gangs. please leave a comment below.

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