Gangs and Parents

 Extract of an interview with Street Gang Specialist Mike Ramey by Gary Johnson, founder and publisher of Black Men In

* * *

A quick solution is to Shake em down, Break em down, and–if need be Take em down to the nearest police station. Shake em down; search their rooms, their backpacks, their lockers on a regular basis to see what they are ‘holding’ for a friend. Check the types of clothes they are wearing on the streets during school hours and after school hours…is their ‘too much’ of one color over another? Wearing too many of one type of sportswear? Bangers wear sports jerseys and sports hats to ‘represent’, just like sororities and fraternities and lodge members wear their organization paraphernalia and colors to ‘represent’–for a different reason. Check their exposed limbs for bruises, tattoos, cuts, etc. While tattoos are on their way out as a means of street gang ID, nevertheless, some smaller gangs in smaller communities still require them as a ‘proof’ of being in the gang.

Next, parent/guardian…Break em down. Put them in a chair and grill them as to whom they’ve been hanging with. Do they KNOW the REAL names of their friends, or do they only know them as Lil G, JL, or Spyder? Does your child have his/her OWN little ‘moniker’ on the street? Ask around. Give them the 3rd degree about their grades, their career choices, etc. Then, keep talking to them day in and day out about the need for an education, a need to keep a clean criminal record, a need to keep themselves sexually pure and morally pure for marriage. And, if they stray and break the rules of your house, punishment should be swift and balanced.

Lastly, let them know in no uncertain terms that you, parent/guardian are prepared for war on this matter. No matter how tough the gang talks, let your child and their gangbanging buddies know that IF you find contraband, it…and your child…will be going to the police at the FIRST sign of gang activity. DON’T let the cops knock on your door at 3am; knock on their door at 8am if your child is involved. Better you take them than the cops come to take them from you. Once a parent puts their foot down and means it, a lot of that stuff seems to evaporate.

Here’s a tip for single parents; society, the church, and the schools have been lying to you about how ‘weak’ you are. ANY parent can get back into the game IF they are more concerned about their children than they are about themselves. I’ve seen single parents refuse to lie down at the whim of society and actually better themselves and better their children by remembering who was in charge. Society WANTS to see your child in the system, parents…because they represent money and job security. I used to thank some of my clients for being ignorant enough in their criminal ways to pay for my next vacation. If they stopped committing crime and actually went to school, mama and daddy would have to see their tax dollars hiring more and more cops, and counselors. Taxes would be going down…not up; and violence would be going down as well. Parent, it is UP to YOU!

My son/daughter is dressing like a gang wannabe. What are the risks? What do real gang members think?

If you think your child is at risk, please email us at and read the quotes below.

How do I know my son/daughter is in a gang?

Things to look for
-Wearing a lot of one specific color, or combination of colors, i.e. blue and grey, black and yellow, etc..
-Tilting hats to the side, wearing bandanas.
-Gang graffiti on notebooks, personal belongings
-Defensiveness about how they spend their time, and who they spend their time with
-Alienating themselves from family, school, church involvement.

I have a loved one (friend, family member, etc) in a gang, how can I help him?
-Listen to them. Don’t just give your input. Be available to just listen. Trust is built when you are just an ear that cares.
-Speak positively. People in gangs usually can’t be scared straight. Most the time they don’t really care so much about the consequences. Don’t just try and scare them into changing their life. Let them know you care about them, believe in them and accept them. Not that being blunt with the facts is irrelevant, but it needs to be coupled with verbal affirmation.
-Be an example. Actions speak louder than words. The best way to know there is a better way is to see that there is a better way demonstrated in the life a person who is honest, trustworthy, kind, and caring. Most gang members haven’t had very many positive role models, especially male role models.
-Send them over to We’d love to help.
-Pray for them.

I have a son/daughter who is in a gang. What do I do now?

-Don’t blame yourself. There are a lot of good mothers who live in guilt because of their child’s gang involvement. Continue to love your child.

-Focus on what you can control. Your child has a free will. You cannot completely control them. Focus on what you can do. You can’t control their decisions totally. But you can control on the boundaries you set, how well you listen, what words you speak.

-Speak positively. I am not saying correction isn’t positive. They need discipline. They also need to know you love them regardless on what they do. Don’t make them earn your love.

-Get involved with them. They may reject this at first, and that’s why unconditional love is so important. But try to spend time with them daily. When I was young and in gangs my time spent with my mother during the drive to work.

-Set the right boundaries. You can’t control everything they do, but you can find out where they are going, who are they going with.

-Pray for them.


Also see:


Interview on Gang Talk Channel with a mother who has a son in gangs suffering from drug and alcohol abuse:


Another link for parents of gang members is found at:


How to help your kids think through what it means to get out of a gang:


Another very good site for parents is found at:

  1. Him says:

    Its no structure in the streets (chicago) Since 95 when the gang chiefs were taken out of illinois prisons. It was not a good idea, now that its no chiefs, they have formed cliqs, and don’t have to answer to no gang members, if he shoots and kills a 7yr old child.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s