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Drugs and Gang Membership


I am a single parent who desperately needs help for my son. Since he entered high school a year ago I have seen a decline in his academic performance. He stays out late and sometimes doesn't come home at all. He is smoking marijuana and is affiliated with a gang. He has stolen money from me and damaged property in our home. I have tried everything I know to try to help. I have a strong faith in God and I am praying for him but he needs intervention.


Thank you for reaching out to us for help with your son. Things get a lot more difficult once a child realizes that he can leave the home and survive without you.

Ultimately, this situation requires you to refuse to be a victim. You need to be just as tough and sharp as he is. Protect yourself from being stolen from or manipulated. Since he is still young you definitely have a chance to break him out of this pattern of behavior, but your will must be stronger than his.

While he is still living with you, start thinking about the things that you control that he wants. If you control a phone, an activity that he wants to do, money that he wants for entertainment, these things are all tools that you can use to manipulate him into cooperating. If he is a gang member, though, it's likely that he can get all of these things from the gang, so keep that in mind.

Enlist as much support from others as you can. Ask uncles, grandfathers, older cousins, school counselors, therapists, coaches and even other fathers to spend quality time with him. Time and communication are your greatest tools against his gang affiliation. Find ways to keep him spending time with healthy people, and do what you can to keep him from communicating with the gang. Think of the gang as the real addiction, not the drugs.

You'll need to replace the gang with a new support system of strong people. What he wants is to belong and to feel like he has some control in his life. You can't give him everything, but you can point him in the right direction.

If you contact us with specifics about your city and state, we can look for some local programs to help you out.

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