Gangs with Guns: A growing Concern in Toronto, By Pasquale Fulginiti

These days many adolescents have been found to carry weapons like they do cell phones. There are three motives why adolescents carry weapons. Unless we address these motives, no amount of intervention will be successful.

Seeking Attention

If children cannot achieve approval and attention through positive behavior, they will achieve the desired attention through negative conduct. Adolescents who carry weapons have learned that their weapons are a sure way of getting the attention they are seeking.

To help attention-seekers, the Kidstuff Parenting Program suggests to implement a program for youths in their schools, homes and community centres, which focuses on the adolescent’s good behavior and contributions. Attention should be given to adolescents for their hard work and contribution to society. Soon he or she will engage in the appropriate behavior because the pay-off is better and the positive attention is attained.

Seeking Power

Adolescents who demonstrate a power-seeking behavior feel they are important only when they are in charge and, therefore, feel respected. By picking up a gun, adolescents attain a feeling of power and control in their lives. In order to discourage this negative behavior, the Kidstuff Parenting Program suggests to implement a program in the adolescents schools, community centres and homes that empowers youths by giving them choices within limits. Studies show that people who are given choices within limits feel a sense of control in their lives. People who feel a sense of control in their lives feel more empowered. By allowing adolescents to experience some form of control and power over what is happening in their lives, adolescents attain the power they seek and feel empowered.

Seeking Revenge

Most adolescents with a motive of revenge think they are unlovable and unimportant. They begin to feel important only when they have control over the emotions and feelings of another person through the use of a weapon. Perhaps they have a need to torment someone else in a similar way that they were tormented when they were younger. Revenge seekers are angry and are out to hurt someone else or society in general. In order to discourage this, the Kidstuff Parenting Program suggests to implement a program in the youth’s homes, community centre or schools, which teaches adolescents that “THEY” are loved and accepted but that their “BEHAVIOUR” is unacceptable.

Pasquale Fulginiti is an Early Childhood and Parent Educator. For information on Parenting Seminars at your schools, daycares, or community centres, visit or fulginitip[@]

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