“Most Pasifika youth in gangs did not want to replace their family or home with the gang,” he said. “A lot talked about the ‘blood family’ compared to the ’street family’.” I think this would explain how easy it is for some of our youth to change hats, if you could call it that. While they may be involved in criminal behaviour, their connection to family is stronger, but only just.
The researchers found that young people who joined gangs often felt unloved by their parents. This seems to be the crux of the matter. Why do our youths join gangs or commit criminal behaviour? Because there is a need to belong. And if the family is not that source of belonging, then our kids will look elsewhere. Of course it’s not as simple as that.