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Parents' Guide to Gangs

NCJ Number
Date Published
National Gang Center
In providing parents with answers to common questions about gangs, this guide assists parents in recognizing and preventing the gang involvement of their children.
The questions and answers address why youth join gangs, the consequences of gang involvement, and ways to recognize that a child is involvedin a gang. To assist parents in recognizing signs a child may be involved with a gang, information is provided on gang colors, symbols and numbers, clothing and apparel, graffiti, gang involvement in social media, gang-influenced music and movies, sports items, tattoos, and hand signs. Behavioral signs of gang involvement are also listed, such as withdrawing from family activities and planned events, declining academic performance, staying out late without reason, and excessive aggression. The guide’s concluding section instructs parents in how to prevent a child from becoming involved with a gang. Among the suggestions are to talk to your child about the negative consequences of gang behaviors and ways to avoid them; become acquainted with a child’s friends and the parents of the friends; talk to your child about ways to deal with pressure from friends; limit your child’s contact with known gang-involved individuals; set firm limits for your child; and plan family time to talk about family activities, personal feelings, and complaints.
Date Created: October 16, 2017