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Understanding Violence and Extremism in Youth: A Guide for Parents by Dr. Emily Bashah


Violence in Youth

Summary:

In the modern landscape of parenting, understanding the intricacies of child development and the factors contributing to violent tendencies or susceptibility to extremism becomes imperative. Dr. Emily Bashah, a renowned psychologist and an expert in the field, sheds light on these critical aspects.


Developmental Approach to Violence:

  • Early Age Dynamics: Studies highlight the surprising fact that the most aggressive age group comprises toddlers, specifically two-year-old boys. Parents play a crucial role in modeling prosocial behavior and emotion regulation during this phase.

  • Adolescence and Aggression: Physiological changes in boys aged 16 to 25 due to testosterone can lead to increased aggression. Lack of healthy outlets can manifest into maladaptive behaviors if not addressed.

  • Parent-Child Interactions: The importance of rough play with fathers in mediating male aggression and fostering prosocial behavior.

Extremism Potential in Youth:

  • Vulnerability in Adolescence: Youth, in the process of identity formation, can be susceptible to extremist ideologies that exploit insecurities and feelings of being misunderstood.

  • Online Influence: Radicalization often occurs online, especially among gamers, where recruiters establish connections and manipulate emotions to draw vulnerable youth into extremist narratives.

  • Approach to Help: Dr. Bashah emphasizes the need for connection over confrontation. Encouraging engagement with previous hobbies, interests, and supportive networks is crucial.

Key Points:

  • Developmental Phases: Parents should model prosocial behavior and provide healthy outlets for aggression during critical developmental stages.

  • Adolescent Vulnerability: Adolescents are susceptible to extremist ideologies due to identity formation and vulnerabilities that extremist groups exploit.

  • Online Influence: Recruiters often prey on vulnerable youth online, forming emotional bonds to draw them into extremist narratives.

Encouragement to Parents:

Understanding the developmental stages of aggression and susceptibility to extremism in children can help parents navigate these challenges more effectively. Dr. Bashah emphasizes the importance of:

  • Engagement Over Confrontation: Instead of shaming or alienating children, invite dialogue and seek to understand their perspectives.

  • Supportive Networks: Foster connections with previous interests and supportive communities to guide children away from extremist ideologies.

Conclusion:

Parenting in today's world demands a nuanced understanding of child development and the influence of external factors on a child's behavior. Dr. Emily Bashah's insights provide a roadmap for parents to navigate the complexities of violence and extremism, emphasizing connection, understanding, and proactive engagement as essential tools in safeguarding youth from radicalization.

Dr. Emily Bashah's expertise offers a beacon of hope, guiding parents to become active agents in shaping a more resilient and empathetic future generation.

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