Friendship to kids in Chicago’s violent neighborhoods means that they have someone who can provide safety, community acceptance, and connection they may not find at home. Studies have found adolescents, ages 11-15, are those who most factor in fear of violence and the need for defense or protecting when making friendships, according to Chicago Magazine on May 4, 2017.
Their first response, or tactic, that came to mind was to make friends who would fight for or with them. Kids tend to believe that the actual meaning of friends is, someone who sticks up for them or have their back. The reason Chicago youth, who live in violent neighborhoods, believe this is that they would not have to worry about people bullying them with the protection of friends.
Some do not end up fighting. They avoid this by making friends with kids who fight, or joining gangs. These are other strategies kids use to avoid such situations, which are not necessarily happy choices.
There was avoidance, simply being mean and defining friends from an absence of people who do bad things: friends will not try to make others do bad stuff that they would not want to do or things they do not like doing. A good friend would not try to force others to do anything wrong.
Written by Aerianna Hamilton
Edited by Cathy Milne
Chicago Magazine: What Friendship Means to Kids in Chicago’s Violent Neighborhoods
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