LETTER: Empowering our children will keep them away from gangs

The Editor,

Recently, we have heard about the shootings in Delta and Surrey. A fear arises in every parent, uncle, aunt as they see the innocent faces of the young kids in their lives. A fear that they hope these kids will stay away from "bad things."

As an adult in these children’s lives, we can empower these children to choose a path where they are contributing to society, where they are happy and fulfilled, where they are helping others on a daily basis.This empowerment happens through the way you talk to the children. Are you using positive language? Are you reinforcing good behaviour by complimenting them on the little things they are doing well? As an adult, are you more often telling them ‘no’ or saying ‘yes’ to their suggestions and their behaviours?

Individuals join gangs as a sense of belonging, to gain acceptance, feel needed, feel valued and at some level feel loved. If these kids are feeling these things at home, they will not have to find it elsewhere. They will instead look for friendships with a sense of confidence, a compelling future and a feeling of self-love. The children need to see examples of confidence, goals and self-love at home. They need to see that their primary caregivers exhibit these behaviours so the children can adopt these behaviours as well. How are you talking to yourself? Are you happy in your life? What are you doing to develop your compelling future?

Children are like sponges. They will model behaviour they are shown. As adults, the qualities you exhibit will impact the children around you as well. Take responsibility for your actions, your behaviours and how you exhibit qualities that you would like the children around you to mimic.

Manpreet Dhillon, Surrey

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