Warning Signs That Your Teen is In a Gang

You may think that you would know if your child was in a gang or involved in some type of gang activity but the reality is that few parents really know what to look out for and are often clueless about the situation until it’s too late.

Often times a parent is the last to know that their child is in a gang, only being alerted to it by rumors throughout the neighborhood or with a call from the police when they get themselves in trouble. If you’re worried that your teen may be in a gang then these common indicators just may help you to figure it out or at least call your attention to red flags that could mean they are headed in that direction.

Signs Your Teen Is In A Gang

  • They seem to be favoring a particular color or combination of colors of clothing and insist on wearing them everyday. Since gangs separate themselves from other gangs through the color of their clothing, a teen who insists on sticking to the same colors could be in a gang.
  • They’ve started to show an increased interest in gangs, gangster music and other parts of gangster culture.
  • They brag about having friends who are in gangs. Much like someone involved in a new relationship that they’re excited about may mention them constantly, a teen that gets into a gang may be excited and mention things about the gang without wanting to give too much away.
  • They are coming home with items of value that they don’t have the money for, such as new clothes, electronics and other items of value. This could also include unexplained money.
  • They use hand gestures or signs to communicate with their friends. This silent language is a way that gang members alert their fellow gang members to possible trouble such as another gang or police.
  • You note negative changes in their behavior like aggression, defiance and/or withdrawing from family and friends. Anytime a child’s behavior changes in a negative way you need to take it as a red flag that something is wrong—gang activity or not.

Something to keep in mind is that one or two of these signs could just be a teenager being a teenager, but if you notice a few of these happening together then you need to take them seriously as they are strong indicators that your teen could be involved in gang activity. And, if you do start hearing rumors around the neighborhood that your child is involved with a gang, don’t be too quick to brush them off. Sure, they could be nothing more than rumors, but even the slightest possibility is worth investigating since this is your child we’re talking about.