What is a Gang?
Three or more people who come together under a common set or sign to commit criminal activity or participate in antisocial behavior.
How Do You Tell If Your Son or Daughter is Involved in Gang Activity?
- Major and sudden change in friends.
- Wearing only certain colors and refusal to wear certain other colors.
- Gang graffiti on hands (written in ink) and school books. Look in their bedrooms for graffiti as well.
- Friends begin to call them by a nickname i.e., Sleepy, Lil Loc, etc.
- More than usual distancing from their family and siblings.
- Substance abuse, (Marijuana, alcohol, spray paint, cocaine) violations of the law that usually start as curfew or fighting.
- He / She comes home beat up and will not allow you to call the Police about it. All their friends dress in the same color of clothing.
- Grades at school drop dramatically.
If your Son or Daughter is exhibiting four or more of these outward signs you need to get help at once!!!
Now What do I do?
- Do not keep it a secret! Just as in substance abuse, denial of the gang problem will lose your child to the streets. Very few families have the expertise that it takes to deal with the problem. If Immediate Intervention is not begun, your family is in for a long and painful battle. Usually if you get a third party involved i.e., Area Mental Health, Status Offender Office, Finney County Sheriffs Office (Gang Officer), Garden City Police Department Community Officers, or private counseling you can intervene before it gets out of control.
- Once the decision is made to get help follow through with it, You must have the mind set that you are willing to do whatever it takes to help your child.
- If all avenues are exhausted and your son or daughter is still involved with the gang, it is time to start looking for a change of living arrangements. Some families have needed to relocate, and others have sent their child to live with relatives. Getting them out of the world they have created for themselves is essential!
What you Can Teach Your Child About Staying Out of Gangs
The old Reagan drug phrase "just say no" no longer works for gang resistance. You must teach your child to not only say no but to dress no, talk no, walk no, and act no! Communication and dealing with situations in a timely matter will prevent most kids from becoming involved in the dangerous world of gangs. Spend time with your child. That, in and of its self, is the best investment you will make for their future.