Discussing extremism

If you’re worried your child is being exposed to extremist influences or has been radicalised, talking to them might be daunting. Here are some ways to make it easier.

It’s never easy to start a serious conversation with a child. If you’re too forceful, your child may clam up; if you’re too subtle, you could end up discussing something completely different. The NSPCC has some helpful guidance:

  • Make your child feel at ease
  • Get the balance right
  • Let your child talk without interruptions
  • Encourage questions
  • Listen

It’s important to think about where and how to raise the subject of extremism with your child. Choose a place your child feels at ease. Make it a time when you’re unlikely to be interrupted.

Make the conversation relevant. For example, if you both see something on TV about extremism, you could ask your child what they would do if they ever found themselves in that situation. Or, to show that you value their opinion, you could say that a friend of yours needs advice about extremism. Ask what they think. Find out how much they know about the subject.

When you’re chatting with your child, take care to listen:

  • Ask them questions that don’t result in a yes or no answer. It gives them the chance to tell you what they really think
  • Let them talk without interrupting, and encourage them to ask questions
  • Be honest with them about your thoughts on extremism, and talk about your own views

It’s important that your child knows they can talk to you in confidence. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you, suggest they talk to other people they trust, or to organisations such as Childline.

The number for Childline is 020 7825 2505.

Resources

Tips and advice to help parents keep up with their children’s online activity.

Expert information for families and schools, featuring carefully checked and curated advice and information on issues related to internet safety.

NSPCC advice on the dangers of radicalisation and details of their helpline.

The FAST website provides support for families whose children have travelled to conflict zones or who may be about to plot, or commit, acts of terror in the UK.