Why Do Children Join Gangs

My children’s concerns about kids in gangs is, that they are to young, they think it is cool, the violence- robbery, killing, raping and shooting other kids or adults. What they think has caused this problem is the kids get asked to join, they think it is cool, they think it is going to help them make friends and that their family members will respect them more, and that the kids are getting abused at home.
I asked them how is this problem affecting y’all and they told me, that they see the gang kids beating up other kids, stealing from them, both of my kids said that they are afraid that it will go too far and they could be victims in a shooting at school, and that they will get approached and asked to join a gang. I took the questioning to another level and asked them, What do you think about kids in gangs and What is your views on gangs and the crimes they commit?
My 14 year old son answered me with that they are trying to act like they are something, when actually they are not. They are no different than any other person trying to get an education or job like the rest of us. He said that gangs are not safe, that they commit robberies, murder, and that they tag everything with their gang signs and makes everything ugly with it. I asked my 12 year old daughter the same questions and she responded with, they think it is cool; other friends are in a gang, that the kids that are in a gang could be getting abused at home.

She also said that if they wanted to be in a group that they should join events at school like sports or another group that is sponsored through the school. When I asked her about her views are on gangs and the crimes that they commit, she came back with, they rob and murder people, they beat up other kids, women, and the elderly to get what they want, and that they graffiti their gang signs on everything. She said she is sick of seeing the gang signs on everything in our town.
She also amazed me and took it to another level with respect and hurt from family members. She said that the kids that are in a gang are hurting their family members, friends and their selves. Also that their family members will no longer trust or respect them because of what they are doing or what they have done in the past. Also that when a kid joins a gang that it is hard for them to get out of the gang and that being in a gang could or will mess up their future or their lives.
It amazed me that she knows more about gangs than my 14 year old son does. Some of my ideas to address these issues with my kids would be: talk to them about the violence, the abuse that could be happening to these kids that are in the gangs, the murdering, the graffiti, just about gang life in general. I can also take my kids to our local enforcement office and let them talk to the detectives that I work with and let them ask questions about it and how they can or should look for.
Being open and honest with my kids about this topic of gangs is the best way to address this problem. My kids will benefit from listening to what I have to say about gangs because they know that I have worked and work with our local detectives about this situation and that I know more about this than they do. I can honestly say that I don’t have to worry about my kids and gangs because they are too involved with school and sports and they despise all gang activity.

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