There are many ideas people have about gangs especially who they are and what they do. MS-13 is one of the biggest that people know about and have ideas about. Lisa Ling’s episode on CNN explains the myths and the truths about this gang.

For parents of teenagers it’s important that you watch this episode. You need to be aware of how this gang targets certain teenagers to join their gang. Most teenagers have no idea what they are getting into. However, once they are in the gang it is almost impossible to get out alive. Many teens who join do not feel accepted at home or school. They feel like they are failures at life. The gang gives them a sense of pride and acceptance. The attraction for the teenager is this gang will always accept them and it feels like love to them. Additionally, it gives them a sense of pride and they no longer feel like a failure.

While this is not true, a teenager who is desperate for acceptance and tired of feeling worthless is a teenager the gang targets. The gang is able to emotionally manipulate the teen because of the emotional pain the teenager is feeling. As a result, many teenagers find themselves committed to this gang and realize the reality to late. Trying to leave can cost them their lives so many teens resign themselves to a life as a gang member. Therefore, it is important for parents to know how these gangs operate so they can try to protect their teenager.

I have included a link to this show below. As a psychotherapist I hear teenagers discuss gangs and not understand what they are considering. However, with the help of family and professionals hopefully we can save some teenagers. Please watch this episode

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience working with teenagers. For more information about his work and private practice visit his website or Facebook page

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