Can bullying increase the risk of kids joining a cult like ISIS? This is a question we as parents don’t like to face, but in this day and age must get honest about. We have seen the proof of how bullying can adversely effect our children in the long run. Lasting emotional damage can create issues that carry into adulthood and lead to horrible choices.
Can bullying increase the risk of kids joining a cult like ISIS?
Bullying without support and counseling can lead to children joining any cult. While this post is specifically looking at ISIS, we must look at the fact that bullying can lead to joining any cult-like environment. A cult provides something that a person feels a need for. A place to belong and at times feel stronger or superior.
- Cults provide a place to belong.
- Cults often champion the weak and make them feel wanted and desired.
- Cults prey on the weaknesses of those who are emotionally damaged.
- Cults offer a place of safety and sanctuary with people of like minds.
Sadly, cults often give confused and hurting young adults a place to feel that they belong. There will be little to no judgement for physical or emotional traits they may have formerly been bullied over. There will be an acceptance and a feeling of belonging that could easily draw them in.
Educating our children about what cults are protects them. Cults are not as uncommon as we would like to believe. When you educate your children about bullies, abusers and those people or things they should avoid, you can easily include cults. There are several great resources that will show you what cult behaviors are like so they can learn to readily see these things for themselves. Psychology Today has an excellent non-secular article on the behavior patterns of cult leaders (and dangerous personalities in general). Explaining that any group that isolates its members from others an promotes violence is not okay.
Just as much as victims may feel led to a cult, so will bullies themselves. A bully enjoys the power they hold over their victim. Being given an opportunity to do so for a “righteous” cause, or with encouragement from others of like mind is often all it takes to encourage their behavior. Cults will not only offer a victim a place of solace, they can offer a bully a place of encouragement.
While the fear of your child joining a cult because of being bullied is valid, it is typically going to be a rare instance. This is something you have to educate them and yourself about. As a parent, it is your job to provide them with love, understanding and a safe place to come for support. If you do that and continue working with them and counselors throughout their journey, this should not be a fear or concern.
Do you think bullying increases the risk of kids joining cults like ISIS? How can we, as parents, keep our kids from falling under the spell of such dangerous groups?