Are you concerned that your child will be affiliated with a gang? Are you unsure on what you can do to prevent your child from being a part of a gang? To help understand common reasons a child may join a gang and 8 ways to prevent your child from being affiliated with a gang, I have interviewed psychologist Nadim Ali, MA, LPC.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I was born in Chester Pa. in 1955. I am the youngest of 11 children. I was born in a housing project, and attended public schools. Throughout my teen years I was gang affiliated until I found other passions, and my father said he wouldn’t get me out of lock-up anymore. I moved to Philadelphia at the age of 17, and went to college at Shippensburg State University. I graduated in 1977. I moved to Atlanta in 1979, and married the same year. I went to Georgia School for professional Psychology and received a Masters in Counseling Psychology. I am the father of five. I live in an area that has gangs, and none of my children have gone that way.”
What are common reasons a child may join a gang?
“People don’t often join gangs. It may be like in my case a person may be born into an area that is populated by gangs. Today’s youth join for identification and in many instances economic opportunities. Gangs often are involved in drug dealing, car theft, and home invasions.”
What type of impact can joining gangs have on a child’s overall life?
“It can put them at great risk, and can cause them to be mutilated or killed on a physical level, and it can emotionally scar them due to the level of violence. Many gang members have symptoms of post traumatic stress-syndrome disorder. Due to the fact that the human brain doesn’t fully develop until the mid twenties, the formative years of these youth can be full of violence and fear. This impacts a person’s ability to trust and have a healthy relationship.”
How can a parent prevent their child from being affiliated with a gang?
“There are 8 things a parent can do to help prevent their child from joining a gang.
1. Be involved in your child’s life.
2. Monitor the quality of their friends.
3. Be conscious of environmental factors that lead to development gang affiliation.
4. Avoid latch key child problems.
5. Don’t enable early, and if signs of behavioral disorders show get help.
5. Minority parents must embrace individual and family therapy when issues arise.
6. Get your child involved in activities.
7. If you’re a single parent enlist relatives or mentoring program to help with parenting.
8. If neighborhood is infested with gangs seek activities outside of the neighborhood.”
What type of help is available for a child who is part of a gang?
“There is job training, after school programs, mentoring organizations, faith communities and former Gang members that often work with youth to get them to be unaffiliated.”
Thank you Nadim for doing the interview on how a parent can prevent their child from being affiliated with a gang. For more information on Nadim Ali you can check out his website on nadimali.com.
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