It can be difficult to talk to your child about extremism, especially if you are very worried, but there are ways to make it easier.
It’s important to think about where and how to talk about extremism. You might want to have the conversation in a relaxed and neutral place, and at a time when brothers and sisters aren’t around to interrupt.
It’s rarely easy to start a serious conversation with a child. Do it too forcefully and they may clam up; take a more subtle approach and the chat can get derailed. It can be a good idea to try to make the conversation relevant in some way. For example, if you both see something related to extremism on TV, you could ask your child what they would do in the same situation. Or you could say that a friend of yours needs some advice about a particular issue and ask if they have any ideas – this shows that you value their opinions while also finding out how much they know about a subject.
When you want to have a serious conversation with a child it can be easy to forget to listen as well as talk. Ask questions that don’t have yes or no answers, so your child gets the chance to tell you what they really think, and give them as long as they need to answer without interrupting. They may be nervous or still working out what they really think. Don’t be afraid to let your child ask you questions, too. Be honest with them about how you feel about extremism and talk about your own thoughts and experiences. It’s also really important to let them know that they can trust you to keep their confidence and that they can talk to you or to other people they trust, or to organisations such as Childline. This advice is based on NSPCC guidelines.