Could Your Teen Be Involved In A Cult? Part II


Now that you have an idea about what a cult looks like, here are some tips to help your children avoid them and, if they are already involved with a cult, how to get them out.

-Show sincere love whenever and wherever you can. Make sure they know 'the door is open' if they need anything.

-Encourage them to be discerning but not paranoid. There is a lot to be said for looking into a group they are considering joining, but there's a fine line between that and immediately distrusting something because it's 'different'.

-When it comes to your religion or the basic morals and principles of life, help them to learn what they need to to be able to respond to challenges and questions from others. If they have a firm foundation, it will be a lot less difficult for someone to come along and lead them astray.

Getting out:
-Be patient and persistent. This could take awhile.

-Enlist the help of law enforcement. If they can't help you, they might be able to direct you to someone you can. Support groups may also be available.

-Learn all you can about the group itself and cults in general. If it's a religious group, it might help to learn to compare and contrast it with your current belief system. By 'belief system', I don't necessarily mean religion so much as the general way you and your family see things. Be prepared, though, for them to argue with you; the group has probably taught them that everything the rest of the world teaches is wrong. This is where patience and persistence comes into play.

-Enlist the help of other family members. This helps reinforce the idea that the group isn't the only support system out there. You want to be sure they know that, if they do leave the group, that they'll have somewhere to go.

-Don't come right out and speak against the group or the leader. Statements like 'you're in a cult!' or 'XYZ is a crazy person' are things they have probably been prepared for and will pass off as 'persecution' or something equally dismissive. Do your best to remain calm and understand that they might be even more resistant than usual. Again, persistence and patience.

Above all:
-Please remember that this isn't your fault. I say this because teenagers who lean toward cults do so because they feel like they aren't accepted or loved by anyone else. I don't know about you, but I remember being very hormonal and irrational at that age. Some people-myself included-can be easily led, but even those who aren't can still be taken in by a charismatic person claiming to have all the answers.

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