|Keeping Our Kids Out of Gangs|
|By Don Larimore, Captain, North Texas ISF Gang Intelligence Unit|
If you live in the city, keeping your child out of a gang isn't going to be easy. Listed below are three ideas I'd like to suggest to help keep your child safe from gangs.
Make Time to Talk and Listen
Make time for your child on a regular basis to just sit and talk. Don't use this time to be harsh or judgmental. Go someplace comfortable to chat. Ensure your child that this is an open, honest conversation between you and him/her. Don't make it seem like your child has to answer questions, or is being "interrogated" by you. Find out about activities your child is interested in and any concerns he/she may have. Use this time to for both of you to learn more about one another.
Help Your Child Fill Their Time
Once you learn more about the types of activities, sports, and/or hobbies your child is curious about, help your child to become more involved in his/her interests. By helping your child locate a team sport, or getting involved in a hobby together, showing your child how to use his/her time constructively will assist in keeping your child out of trouble. Be involved! It's a small sacrifice to make in order to prevent your child from becoming involved in a gang.
Pay attention to your child. Look at the small details. If you see that your child may be using what appears to be gang signs or dressing in gang colors, step up and ask. Don't sneak around. If your child feels that you are spying on him, he will turn away. Don't approach him as if you are interrogating him, but just make mention of your concerns and be prepared to listen. Don't assume anything, something may look like gang colors or emblems and may not be. With trends always changing, sometimes it's hard to tell.
Each child is different.
I don't guarantee that these suggestions will work, but each idea has one thing in common: spending time with your child. That's the number one thing a parent can do to help keep a young person out of a gang. Show your child that they don't have to turn to a gang to find family, love, and support.
Capt. Don Larimore is with the North Texas ISF Gang Intelligence Unit. He has 12 years of corrections experience. During his time in corrections he has headed up the Gang Intelligence and Internal Investigations Department as well as the Security Department and the Disciplinary Hearing Office. He has a vast array of investigations and security experience, as well as management experience. He is also a Fire Arms and Chemical Agents Instructor as well as T4T and DHO Certified.
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