Talk to your children about gangs and ways to avoid them.
Let them know that you disapprove of gangs and do not want to see them hurt or arrested.
Tell your children not to:
- Associate with any gang members.
- Hang out where gangs congregate.
- Attend any party or social event sponsored by gangs.
- Use any kind of hand or finger signs that may be meaningful to gangs.
- Wear clothing that may have meaning to gangs in your area. (Explain to your children that these clothing items can put them in danger and that you will not purchase them or allow them to be worn. If you are not familiar with these items, contact your local law enforcement agency for more specific information about gangs in your area.)
Get to know your children’s friends and the friends’ parents.
Be aware of their attitudes toward drugs, alcohol, and gangs. When children start to feel pressure to use drugs or join gangs, it usually comes from their friends.
Talk to your children about ways to deal with pressure from friends.
Help your children practice simple ways to respond to peer pressure. For example, if your child is challenged by a peer who says, “If you are my friend, you would,” your child can respond, “If you were my friend, you wouldn’t ask.” Then, he/she should walk away.
Set firm limits with your children and teens.
Children and teenagers need to know clearly what is expected of them and the consequences for acting otherwise. Do not rescue your children from the consequences of their decisions.
Plan family time.
Make time for your family to play, eat meals together, take trips (even to local parks or activities), keep family traditions, and have family meetings to talk about plans, feelings, and complaints.