Parents should learn how to recognize gang signs so they can make sure their children are not getting involved in a street gang. Gang involvement almost inevitably leaves kids in jail or in the hospital. Kids can be good at hiding their involvement, but parental vigilance usually wins in the end.
Here are some signs to look for:
Watch your teen's school notebooks and other places he or she may doodle to make sure nothing gang-related is written, such as certain symbols or phrases. There are many different gangs, signs, colors and phrases; if you are not sure of something, search the phrase on the Internet or ask a law enforcement officer to explain it.
Some kids will adopt gang symbols, language or gestures because they think they're cool. Discourage this behavior, as it can lead to conflicts with real street gangs or mistaken arrests by police. If your child is getting involved with a gang, take action immediately. Find an outreach program in your area that helps kids steer clear of gangs. In some cases, removing your child from the area by moving or sending the child to live with relatives may be the only solution.
What is peer pressure? Any time a teen feels a conflict between what parents and friends expect, peer pressure is the cause.
Negative peer pressure can lead to long-term emotional and physical problems. Understanding how peer pressure works can help parents and teens find ways to deal with it.