Gangs getting new members due to missing role models

Filed under: Teens, Development/Milestones: Babies, Alcohol & Drugs, Extreme Childhood

Gang graffiti in New York City's lower east sideIn what shouldn't surprise anyone who has thought even the least bit about these sorts of issues, a lack of positive role models in their lives is leading to gang membership for many British kids, according to the Prince's Trust, an organization that works with young adults. According to a survey, the group found that kids were turning to their peers for support because they felt there were no adults they could turn to.

"All the threads that hold a community together -- a common identity, role models, a sense of safety -- were given by young people as motivations to join gangs," said Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Trust. A third of the youth surveyed said they did not have a parent they considered a role model and nearly a quarter of kids in gangs joined in order to find a role model.

Still, it's not all bad news for the UK. Less than one in ten kids admitted to having been part of a gang (although one wonders how many serious gang members fill out surveys). Even the nine percent reported, however, seems too high and should serve as a reminder to parents how very important it is not only to be involved with and available to their kids but to set a good and proper example as well. I know that's something at which I certainly need to work harder.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.