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Teen involvement in cults

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:48 pm
Teens may get involved in cults for a wide variety of reasons. As teens make the transition from adolescence to adulthood, they're essentially seeking to formulate their identity and define their place in society. Many teens reinvent themselves several times during this period, changing their hairstyle, manner of dress, friends, and even personality. Teens also experience periods of disillusionment during this time, discovering that life is more complicated than they had expected. When this occurs, they're particularly susceptible to recruitment into religious cults. Cult recruiters tend to be nonjudgmental, understanding, and supportive when approaching potential new members. They often criticize government, society, and parents for the problems in the world, and offer a simplified philosophy of life. This can be extremely attractive to a young person whose recent experiences appear to confirm the truth of what the recruiter is telling them. Unfortunately, cults seldom live up to their promises. Many cults are violent or hateful towards others, often singling out a particular segment of the population to blame for all social misery and injustice. Others require that young members beg or steel to help finance the cult. Almost all cults insist that their members cut off their ties with non-cult members, including family, which makes it extremely difficult for parents to locate children who've joined cults. This is why it's important that parents talk with their teens before this happens. For more in formation, consult a health care professional.
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