Where do we go wrong as a family? Is it in the way we bring up our kids? Is it in the way we communicate? Could it be how we behave? The family unit is very vital in a child’s growth, it’s where children learn right from wrong, where kids learn their first words, where kids know love, where beliefs are introduced and become ingrained into the kid’s mind and upbringing.
It is for this reason that family should be at the forefront in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. A family lost all their kins to terrorism as recruited suicide bombers, it was a case of one of the siblings being radicalized and later recruited into terrorism and using his family bond and ties to convince his siblings to follow suit. The parents were left with no kids in the household, mourning people who could still be alive, wondering if their young ones were safe, if they would ever come back or if they were already dead. The agony and pain left behind makes life unbearable for the surviving parents and the community at large.
The family unit is a very strong ambassador in the fight against radicalization and violent extremism. Mothers spend so much time with their children, thus have the opportunity to mould the kids since when they are young, instilling right values and morals, countering narratives used by violent extremists, always talking about the dangers and effects to the family in case of radicalization and being on the lookout in case of behavioural changes that may be a cause of alarm.
A father should always offer protection to his children; lead by example since the kids tend to respect their fathers more and always be ready to step in as a disciplinarian. Siblings should always look out for each other; lead by example, where they see their siblings going wrong communicate early enough to their parents this helps in rescuing their siblings from radicalization early enough. A mother in Majengo says that were it not for her younger daughter, her eldest son would have joined terror groups but she got information early enough to be able to rescue the son from the jaws of terrorist recruiters.
When a family is united, then the fight against terrorism can be won.