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

Violence in Youth


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.


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.

Learn More Here!


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