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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

亞裔青少年教育研討會
少年幫派參與之預防:早期之警訊與徵兆(續)
A Symposium on Education with a Focus on Asian Youth in America:
Prevention of Youth Gang Involvement: Early Warning Signs and Tips (continued)
By Glenn Isao Masuda, Ph.D. on Sunday, October 11, 1998 at Gold Wheel Sagely Monastery

By Glenn Isao Masuda, Ph.D. on Sunday, October 11, 1998 at Gold Wheel Sagely Monastery
葛倫•馬蘇達博士講於金輪寺1998年10月11日星期日
By Glenn Isao Masuda, Ph.D. on Sunday, October 11, 1998 at Gold Wheel Sagely Monastery
劉果瑞 中譯 Chinese translation by Liu Guo-Rui

早期徵兆:

●無故曠課,如中期徵兆所描述的。

●開始以飲酒或吸毒為應付生活的一種方式。我應該對我們最近知道的一種新趨勢提出警告,這也是早期徵兆之一。在座的家長們,你們有幾位買過二百五十粒裝的泰然諾、阿斯匹靈等?你們是否注意到這些止痛藥多快就用完了?不需醫師處方的止痛劑是年輕朋友吸毒的另外一種物質。這是我在諮商一個青少女時偶而發現的。當時我撐著頭因為我頭很痛。她說怎麼了;我說我頭痛。她打開皮包,從裏面一個接一個拿出各種各樣不需醫生處方的止痛劑時,說:「你要泰然諾嗎?你要阿斯匹靈嗎?你要這個嗎?我有這個。這個怎麼樣?」我問:「妳通常吃幾粒?」「如果那天不順利,我吃4到6粒;如果真的非常不順,像跟男朋友吵架,我就吃12粒。」所以我們瞭解到青年朋友以服用不需醫生處方的止痛劑應付生活。但是孩子們常常會說:「止痛藥不是毒品;啤酒不是毒品;菸草不是毒品。」這個可以提早到十到十三歲的孩子該就開始了。

●想穿與幫派有關的衣服,說:「現在這些服飾正流行著。」也不要怪「饒舌」音樂,因為華德•迪斯奈才剛堆出一部卡通片,有米老鼠穿著鬆垮垮的褲子,片裡唱著:「喲!老鼠在屋裡頭;米老鼠會饒舌。」所以這不是僅靠檢查音樂就能除掉的。衣著,是一項非常重要的因素,但是你不能光說句:「不准你穿那樣的衣服。就得了,同時也要留意與幫派有關的塗鴉,在書上、筆記本上、衣服上,有時會在他們球鞋的兩邊。

●某些學科成績下降。

●開始固定缺課。父母必須知道子女在學校的出席記錄;當子女不在學校時,父母也必須知道他們的行蹤。

●有時不按時回家。這現象發生時,必須立刻處理。

●持有家用武器:可放在口袋中的小刀,或是磨利的螺絲起子,這是現今校園裡另一個可悲的事實。十七年中,從來沒有一個我輔導過的青少年跟我說,他帶武器到學校目的是有意傷害或殺害人。但是當你問他明明知道被學校抓到時就會被開除,他為什麼還帶武器到學校去,他們總是說:「以防萬一;我想要有所準備。」這意味著這些年輕朋友已發現他所處的環境有些不對勁了。這需要在社區及學校的層面來討論、處理。我們必須記得,對這些年輕人來說,印象及事實是同樣真實的,有時候沒有不同。對年輕學子們認為他們在學校必須保護自己的這種情形,我們應該予以正視。

●經常抱怨無聊:這是因為真的沒有有意義的活動讓這些學生參加。在家裡爭辯規矩,而且經常弄不清楚規矩。

●交友圈有了改變,特別與那些不與父母連絡,或避免連絡的人來往。

●開始實驗毒品、酒精及香菸。起先他們只是試試,與濫用不同,與上癮也不同。

●自我評價很低:自己恨自己,包括在家庭或在學校的種族或文化衝突。這可以包括態度方面。從「我受不了我的父母,因為他們這樣、這樣,還有那樣……」到「我們無法以同一種語言取得雙向溝通。」有些家長告訴我:「我講粵語或國語時,他聽得懂。」而他們的子女卻告訴我:「我爸媽蠻懂英文的。」但是他們彼此無法在情緒的層面上溝通,有時需要一個雙語的文化仲介者來協助溝通。

「自我評價」與「自我憎恨」的是非常重要的問題。舉例來說,一個十四歲的女孩,很惹人愛,很漂亮,從前是拿滿分的學生,手臂挽著全世界最噁心的人走進學校,是她的男朋友。他打她,踢她,揍她。我問她:「妳為什麼跟這個男的在一起?上禮拜出了什麼事?」

「他把我踢下樓,因為我不小心讓他在他所有的朋友面前出醜,所以其實我是罪有應得。」然後我很好奇地問:「妳為什麼跟這個男的在一起?」我一問這話,這女孩很清楚地說:「我很幸運能有他。」或者是「沒有人要我。」

「漂亮的女孩」與「自我低評價」是非常危險的組合。但是我們不會注意到這一個潛在的危險因素,因為我們不覺得這有什麼大不了的。

「哇!她在鏡子前面花了六個鐘頭打扮自己。」一個鐘頭還可以;六個鐘頭就有問題了。

在家中的種族衝突,可能是大社區所發生事情的縮影。在種族衝突當中,年輕人是最容易捲入的。有史以來每個種族都有發生過。一個典型的例子是:一個拉丁裔小孩子與一個亞裔小孩打架。這個亞裔小孩也許被這個拉丁裔的小孩打了一頓。亞裔小孩躺在地上鼻子流血,一個幫派份子走近,對躺在地上的小孩說:「我跟你講過,你需要後援。」

他們就此吸收了一個人。因為社區或是從小學到高中,都還沒有對這些種族衝突問題加以處理,所以幫派首腦會利用這些機會來吸收成員。

另外一個例子,一個拉丁裔幫派份子會在浴室掛起一幅反拉丁裔種族的字眼,使另一個拉丁裔會想說:「你最好加入我們。」我看過亞裔小孩這樣做,也看過非裔小孩這樣做。對吸收幫派份子而言,這是非常有效的一種技巧。我第一次聽到這種技巧是從一個改過自新的「白人至上主義者」那兒聽來的。他以前也使用過這種技巧。這些人非常懂得接近小孩們的技巧。

缺乏合適的,找得到的,以及可親近的行為模範。這是另外一個極端重要的早期警訊。我會問學生他是否有個學習的榜樣,一個與他有共同的興趣,或者至少讓他尊敬如成年人的對象,而且任何時候都找得到的。「我不是說隨時我想談,我都能跟我阿姨好好談的。」「她住哪?」我問。「芝加哥。」她答。

待續

Early signs:

  • Unexplained absences from school, as described under intermediate signs.
  • Initial use of alcohol and drugs as a means to cope with life. I should also caution about a new trend that we have recently become aware of, which is one of the early signs. How many of you who are parents buy those 250 tablet bottles of Tylenol, aspirin, and so forth. Are you paying attention to how quickly they are being used up? Over-the-counter pain medication is yet another area of substance abuse among young people. This is something I learned about coincidentally during a counseling session with a teenage girl. I was holding my head because I had a painful headache, and she said, “What’s wrong?” I said, “Oh, I just got a headache.” She said, “Oh, here!” and she opened her purse, “You want Tylenol? You want aspirin? You want this? I got this, How about this?” as she pulled out various non-prescription pain relievers from her bag one after the other. I asked, “How many pills do you usually take?” “Well, if I had a bad day, I’d take 4-6. If it’s a really bad day—like if I had an argument with my boyfriend—I’d take about 12.” And so we are seeing this over-the-counter pain medication abuse as a way young people are trying to cope with life. But kids will often remark, “Pain relievers are not drugs. Beer is not a drug. Tobacco is not a drug.” This can start as early as 10-13 years of age.
  • Wanting to wear gang-related clothing. Right now it’s pretty popular because it’s in style. Don’t blame it on rap music, because Walt Disney just released a cartoon with Mickey Mouse in baggy-saggy pants, “Yeow, the mouse is in the house, Mickey Mouse rap.” So it’s not something that you’re going to be able to get rid of just by censoring music. The clothing is an important factor, but you can’t stop it simply by saying, “I will not allow you to wear clothes like that.” Also, look for gang-related graffiti on books, notebooks, or clothing, and sometimes on the sides of their tennis shoes.
  • Grades start to fall in some subjects.
  • A pattern of absences from school begins to form. Parents need to be aware of their children’s school attendance records, and they need to know their children’s whereabouts when they are not in school.
  • Curfews sometimes not observed. This is something that needs to be caught and dealt with as soon as it first begins to occur.
  • Possession of a household weapon—pocket-knife or a sharpened screwdriver. This is another sad statement of the current situation on school campuses. I have never in 17 years of working with young people had a teenage tell me that his or her reason for carrying a weapon on campus was for the purpose of intentionally hurting or killing somebody. But when the question was asked, “You knew you’d be expelled if caught. Why did you bring this weapon on campus?” they always give the same answer: “Just in case. I wanted to be prepared.” This means there’s something wrong with the environments these young people are finding themselves in. This needs to be discussed and dealt with at the community and campus levels. It has to be discussed. Remember that a perception is just as veritable to these youths as reality, and sometimes the twos are indistinguishable. The fact that young students all share the perception that they need to protect themselves on campuses needs to be addressed.
  • Constant complaints of boredom. That is because there really are no meaningful activities in which these students may participate.
  • Argumentative at home regarding the rules, and often unclear about the rules.
  • A change in their circle of friends to people who especially do not have any contact, or who avoid contact, with their parents.
  • Initial experimentation with drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. At first they are just trying it out. That is not the same things as abusing, which is not the same thing as addiction.
  • Low self-esteem/self-hatred, including racial or cultural conflicts at hone or at school. This is a difficult one to talk about, because it involves many serious issues. This could include the attitude, “I can’t stand my parents because they’re this, and this, and that…,” to “We don’t have a mutual communication in the same language.” Some parents have told me, “Oh, he understands me when I use Cantonese or Mandarin.” And then their kids tell me. “Oh, my mom and dad understand English well enough.” But they cannot communicate with each other at an emotional level. Sometimes a bilingual cultural broker is needed to help the communication.

The self-esteem, self-hatred issue is extremely important. For example, a 14-year-old girl, walking to high school—lovely, attractive, used to be a 4.0 student—with the worst scum of the earth on her arm. He is her boyfriend. He hits her and kicks her and beats her. I would ask her, “Why are you with this guy? What happened last week?” “He kicked me down the stairs because I accidentally embarrassed him in front of all his friends, so I kind of deserved that.” And I wonder, “Why are you with this guy!” And when that question is articulated very clearly, the girl says, “Because I’m lucky to have him.” Or, “No one else will have me.” This is a really dangerous combination: a beautiful girl with low self-esteem. Yet we don’t take it seriously. “Oh, she spends six hours in front of the mirror preparing herself.” One hour is okay. Six hours is a problem.

The racial conflicts happening at home may be a microcosm of what’s happening in the larger community. Young people are most vulnerable for recruiting during a racial conflict. This has happened to every racial and ethnic group in history. A typical scenario: A Latino kid and an Asian kid got into a fight. The Asian kid might have gotten beaten up by the Latino kid. The Asian kid’s lying on the ground with a bloody nose. A gang member comes up to the kid lying on the ground, and he says, “I told you that you needed backup.” They have a recruit. Because those racial conflicts issues have not been dealt with in the community or in the school form elementary through high school, gang leaders will take advantage of these opportunities to recruit people.

Another example, a Latino gang member will put up anti-Latino racial epithets in the bathroom to make the other Latinos think, You’d better join us.” I’ve seen the Asian kids do that; I’ve seen the African-American kids do that. It‘s an effective techniques for recruitment. I first heard about this technique from a reformed white supremacist who had used it in the past. These people are skilled at reaching kids.

The lack of role models who are appropriate, accessible, and approachable. This is another extremely important early sign. I will ask the student if he or she ahs a role model, someone with whom he or she has affinities or at least respects as an adult and who is accessible any time. “I don’t mean I can really talk well with my Aunty Germaine any time I want to.” “Where does she live?” I asked. “She lives in Chicago.”

                                                                To be continued

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