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Tips for Deprogramming Indoctrinated Teens

photo by Boyd Loving
By Charles Stampul

If you are close to a young person caught in the grips of a dangerous ideology, you may feel a moral responsibility to show that young person a way out.  Here are some tips based on experience teaching young adults and research into the subject.

First, resist the temptation to reason.  It is not an inability to reason that leads people to these positions.  They are motivated instead by deep, often latent psychological drives, such as the desire to belong or be part of what has been portrayed as an important crusade.

Next, empathize with the teen.  Look beyond the things she is saying to understand what she is really feeling and what she is really hoping to achieve.  Take any insult, pointed or implied with grace.

Third, tell a story.  But don’t make it too obvious.  Renowned psycho-therapist, Milton Erikson used narrative to change the way his patients viewed their issues or circumstances.  The methods are demonstrated in the book My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erikson.

Fourth, Read The True Believer, by Erik Hoffer to learn how mass movements catch fire and how they can be extinguished.

Fifth, use the Socratic method.  The views that you offer directly have little power to persuade and can actually cause irrational views to become more entrenched.  So withhold your opinions and conclusions.   Ask questions that allow the teenager to arrive at the truth for himself.  This is a process that can take hours, days or longer but is proven to be effective.

Finally, If the Socratic method bears no fruit, try the tactics of FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss.  In his book, Never Split the Difference, Voss offers 9 strategies for moving individuals from hardline positions.

By reaching out to a teen exhibiting cult-like behavior you have shown that you care.  Do not be discouraged if there are no immediate changes.  You may have planted a seed that takes time to germinate.

13 thoughts on “Tips for Deprogramming Indoctrinated Teens

  1. The problem is their indoctrinated parents. Spend the next 24 hours watching only CNN/MSNBC/CBS/NBC/ABC news. You will not see anything about rioting or damage being done by anarchists. They only present a picture of peaceful protesters, who are then being charged by Trump’s nazi stormtroopers. The Left controls just about all of the news and they are not going to make the huge mistake they made in 2016 by giving Trump so much airtime because of the ratings. They don’t show his press briefings. Social media platforms are now censoring “hate speech”, but their interpretation of hate speech is anything from the Right while allowing anything from the Left.

  2. “The problem is their indoctrinated parents.”

    Spot on!

    Another idea: require military service! Liberal democrats hate this country. Military service will make them love America!

    Oh, and if the Lib Dems hate America so much, then just leave! I’m sure countries like Honduras, Syria, Somalia, El Salvador and other Shangri-La countries would welcome you with open arms!

    America: love it or leave it!

  3. Why try and get in the way of Darwin.
    Leave these kids alone, they can live in their parents basement forever and never produce offspring.

  4. Look at the proponents of these failed and anti social leftist ideologies. They’re led by sad, broken and fringe people. In many cases mentally ill or with noticeable personality disorders. On a social level they are often obese, engage in shallow friendships with those espousing similarly radical and fringe beliefs. They are failures in the hetero dating market and their ideologies are essentially acting out their bitterness and resentment towards core society. In better and normal circumstances they merit sympathy and compassion but unfortunately they make it impossible by the intensity of the disruption and unhappiness they spread- to themselves, their families, their social circles and society at large.

  5. “…they can live in their parents basement forever and never produce offspring.”

    Yes! That’s an even more effective solution (and certainly more politically correct than requiring sterilization for Lib Dems).

  6. Here’s another tip:

    DEFUND the BOE

  7. Is this real or something put out by The Onion?

    1. “thinking” is now a novel concept

  8. Great article, thank you. I totally agree, parents who in the past relied on educators can and should step up their engagement with their kids. My wife and I ensure that our kids grow up believing in G-d and treating idols promoted by pop culture as distraction. I also plan to explain to my kids when they are a bit older how consumer economy works and effect it has on what they are taught in school.

  9. Defund the BOE is right. Indoctrination begins in pre-K. School choice will break up
    the Cabal post-corona.

  10. I’m sure the liberals didn’t hear about the 13 out of 20 antifa people arrested in Portland were teachers. That’s insane. It just goes to show some teachers don’t have to be smart to teach.

  11. i started looking at private schools when my 2nd grader came home from Ridge and said they had a “Gratitude Assembly”. What a load of shit.

  12. I’m never taking a knee.

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