Kids in the Crossfire: What to watch for as a parent or guardian

Region 8 Investigates
Region 8 News take an in-depth look at teens involved in gang activity.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 3:45 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2022 at 1:28 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Keeping kids out of the crossfire starts at home. Adults need to know what to look for.

The National Gang Center has said there are common identifiers for parents.

First, look at how your child dresses. Some gangs wear specific colors. If you notice your child is wearing one color more often, it could be a sign. The same goes for certain brands or types of clothes like bandanas or necklaces.

If you notice your child taking a new interest in sports, pay attention. The Gang Center said some professional sports team names also have gang meanings within street gangs.

Also, listen to their music, and watch their movies. If your child is focusing more on violent movies or songs, they may be exploring the gang lifestyle.

The National Gang Center provided tips for parents who believe their children may be involved in gangs.

First, the center said to talk to your children about the consequence of gangs. Be firm in your expectations.

Also, get to know your child’s friends, and the friend’s parents. This means being aware of their attitude toward drugs, gangs, and violence.

You should also talk to your child about ways to deal with pressure. Encourage an open dialogue with your kids and let them know it is okay for them to come to you.

When dealing with potential gang involvement, the Gang Center suggested setting firm limits. Let your child know what is expected and then have firm and fair consequences.

Finally, set family time. Sometimes youth join gangs so they can feel loved.

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