Breaking the code

Building resilient youth is a prescription against involvement in gangs.

How to keep your child out of a gang:

• Promote self-esteem and humility.

• Spend quality time with your child.

• Be a positive role model and set the right example.

• Get to know your child’s friends and their families.

• Teach your child how to cope with peer pressure.

• Get involved in your child’s school activities.

In a recent survey, youth who did not become involved in gangs rated the following character strengths in themselves, as most important to them. The findings suggest these characteristics should be promoted and valued by parents and the community as a way to build resiliency against gang membership.

Their strengths included honour, love, honesty, teamwork, kindness, creativity and thankfulness.

Protective factors that build resiliency against gang involvement include:

• Creating a positive social environment that surrounds the youth through community support, family and service organizations.

• Building strong family bonds, completing school, and having a positive peer group.

• Promoting social, economic and cultural policies and programs that support positive youth development.

Editor’s note:

This is a portion of the first report of a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia initiative that focuses on anti-gang activity and provides unique insight into the work of the unit. The report is sponsored by Black Press and exclusively posted online on its websites and at