You should be concerned if your child:
admits to gang involvement is obsessed with one particular color of clothing or shows a desire for a particular logo over and over;
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;
is obsessed with gangster-influenced music, videos and movies to the point of imitation;
withdraws from family with an accompanying change in demeanor;
associates with undesirable and breaks parental rules consistently;
develops an unusual desire for privacy and secrecy and may completely rearrange living quarters to create privacy;
uses hand signs while with friends and practices them at home;
Or there is evidence of the appearance of:
physical injury (such as being beaten) and then 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 attitude change.
ADVISE YOUR CHILDREN THEY SHOULD NOT:
Associate with any gang members or “wannabe/gonnabe” gang members; identify or communicate with gangs;hang out near or where gangs congregate; approach strangers in cars who appear to want information or directions; wear gang related clothing where gangs are known to gather or traverse;wear initialed clothing such as BK – British Knights – a/k/a “Blood Killer” in high crime areas; use words like “crab” or “slob” (localized lingo may develop) anywhere gangs may be; i.e. malls, sporting events, etc.; attend any party or social event sponsored by gangs or their associates; take part in any graffiti activity or hang around where graffiti is present; or use any kind of finger or sign language in a public place.
TIPS FOR PARENTS
Impress upon your child the importance of school and good grades
Spend quality time with your children
Get involved in your child’s school activities
Establish rules, set limits and be consistent, firm and fair in punishment
Encourage good study habits
Respect your child’s feelings and attitudes and help them develop self-esteem
Watch closely for negative influences
Improve your own self-esteem so your children can model themselves after the most important “role model” YOU.
TIPS FOR PARENTS/EDUCATORS
Help children develop self control
Help children deal appropriately with problems
Get involved in community oriented prevention and intervention programs. Urge others to become involved. Volunteer at your child’s school. Gangs are a community problem and their influence does not stop at any particular boundary.
Listen to your children. Communicate with them about their concerns and fears.