Parenting with Kindness

Your Positive Change Mentor
for Parents, Families and Youth Athletes

Positive Parenting FAQs

Q. How do I help my child avoid gangs, cults and negative people?

Posted on May 8, 2009 at 12:20 AM

A.  A child needs to know where it's boundaries are and that those boundaries are there consistently. We also must give our kids appropriate, developmentally correct, responsibilities for their age, beginning as young as preschool. As kids grow, they become more responsible for their time management and for more adult duties and decisions, and yes, sometimes a child does need to fail and face natural consequences (but not unsafe consequences) in order to learn. By doing this, we are giving them a vital, safe and secure place of belonging in the family, which is paramount in self-esteem and self-worth - which fights the attractiveness of gangs, cults and negative people.


We help our children grow into those responsibilities by communicating our boundaries and rules, teaching them how to achieve success, and giving them the tools they need to succeed. Research has proven that a small child needs to be told, in context, over 1,000 times what the boundary or rule is, or how to master the desired task successfully. An elementary aged child up through adulthood needs to be told 100 - 500 times. So, be patient, loving and consistent. You are always your child's first and foremost teacher.


When a parent does not hold a child responsible for something that is in their ability to be responsible for, the parent undermines the child's sense of safety, well-being, and sense of place and of belonging in the family. A child needs to know where it's boundaries are and that those boundaries are there consistently. Otherwise the child may feel so swept up in the out of control-ness (kids call that freedom, but there is a difference) that happens while outside the boundaries , that a child can feel incredibly grandiose (nothing can hurt me or stop me), and/or terribly little (no one sees me or hears me, everyone hates me), and eventually can lose his or her sense of Self.


A child can become "addicted" to those high adrenaline moments, and/ or the negative hatred of all things. A child can become so off-center over time that they lose the feeling of belonging in their family and will find others that feel that same way. Gangs, cults, and negative cliques of all sorts and all colors, are filled with kids that have lost their way and feed off those adrenaline moments and that negative hatred.

All FAQs answers are copyrighted by Sharon O'Sullivan. Contact me for reprint rights.

Categories: Elementary and Tweens, Teenagers, Infants through Kindy-aged

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