It seems that every culture has the same terrible troubles..... ones that can be used in novels..............
Lack of role models drive young people to join gangs
The study found gangs often provided many young people with a sense of identity
Date: 14 August 2008
By Michael Howie
Home affairs correspondent
ONE in three young people in Scotland does not have a parent it regards as a role model, according to a new report.
The Culture of Youth Communities report by the Prince's Trust reveals that 30 per cent surveyed lack a parental role model, and suggests this is driving them to join gangs.
Sixty-two per cent of young people in Scotland claim that finding a sense of identity is a key reason for joining a gang, where more than one in five looks for role models in gangs.
Geraldine Gammell, the Scotland director of the trust, warned the breakdown of traditional communities was pushing the country's young people into forming their own alternative communities.
She said: "All the threads that hold a community together – a common identity, role models, a sense of safety – were given by young people as motivations to join gangs. Our research suggests that young people are creating their own 'youth communities' and gangs in search of the influences that could once have been found in traditional communities."
The report further revealed young people are more than twice as likely to turn to a peer than a parent if they have a problem. Of those questioned, 61 per cent said they would go to a peer, while only 30 per cent would approach a parent.
The report also puts into context alarm over knife crime and youth crime. Only 9 per cent of young people have spent time as part of a gang, 3 per cent "regularly" take drugs, and 2 per cent carry a knife.
Recent research has found there to be about 300 territorial gangs in Scotland.
Police are focusing attention on diverting young people from gang culture. Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, head of the Violence Reduction Unit, agreed with the report's main findings.
"Young men from deprived backgrounds who have poor parental relationships can often find the support they don't find within their families among a group of similar young men – there is a sense of understanding through their shared experience," he said.
"The gang therefore becomes almost like an extended family.
"When you do not experience success in school or home and lack the aspiration to do so, the reputation as a fighter or gang member may be all you have."
The YouGov poll surveyed 1,754 aged between 14 and 25 across the UK in July.
SAMANTHA Thomson had a difficult upbringing which led her into drug abuse and unemployment.
"Lacking a strong role model in my life and being involved in a bad relationship, I started smoking cannabis and was suffering from very low self-esteem," said the 19-year-old from Barrowfield, Glasgow.
"This lack of confidence and motivation I feel also prevented me from engaging with my local community and from seeking a job."
Visited a local careers office, she learnt about the Prince's Trust's 12-week programme, designed to give young people the opportunity to work in a team on a community project.
While completing the programme, she worked on a community project in Parkhead and participated in various fundraising initiatives.
She is now a part-time youth worker with the YMCA, working with 12- to 18-year-olds.
Ms Thomson says the trust provided her with a mentor, "someone who made me feel good about myself and built up my confidence".
She adds: "Through this I am now working in a job I love, and able to use the experience I have gained to mentor other young people."
'There are lots of contradictions in contemporary parenting'
Professor Lynn Jamieson
ARE fathers role models? It is not clear what a "role model" means to young people.
Even if children are happy with their parents as parents, that may not mean they want to be like them.
The majority of children have two active parents and almost three-quarters live with both parents. Divorce or separation of parents is certainly much more common than in the 1950s or 1960s, but the most likely negative impact of fathers leaving the family home is a loss of income and relative poverty.
Estimates vary concerning how many children have no real relationship with their father, but it may be no more than 10 per cent.
Nevertheless, children and young people who know of a living father, but have no contact, or only unhappy contact, with him often experience "ambiguous loss", unresolved grief and a sense that things should be otherwise.
Research also shows that even when children live with a mother and father, fathers are often rather more shadowy figures than mothers, who are more likely to know their children's friends, and with whom children are more likely to discuss problems.
There are lots of contradictions in contemporary parenting that affect the experiences of children and young people. Most parents have a sense of time pressure.
Mothers try to juggle caring for children with paid work and fathers of young children have the longest working hours despite the fact that more men than ever would like to be more involved fathers.