Often loved ones are the first to notice that something is troubling their son, daughter, brother or best friend. But when someone close is affected by complex issues, it can be hard to know what to do.
Families for Life is here to offer help to the families, friends and communities of people who have been affected by violence.
We offer confidential counselling and support to people affected by these issues and the people who care about them.
Although living with problems like these can make loved ones feel powerless, it is family and friends who can help most when empowered with the right knowledge. Our experienced counsellors provide support without judgment and will help you develop tools to cope better, build stronger relationships and live a happier life.
People can be drawn into radicalisation in many ways. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to tell if someone you love is under the influence of extremists. But there are some signs common to people who have been radicalised, for example, a sudden change in behavior.
It’s important to remember that not everyone who displays one or two of these behaviors has been radicalised. Always look at the situation from all angles and ask yourself if there are alternative explanations.
If your child’s behavior has changed, check in with them and ask about their wellbeing.
These are some common signs:
When you are worried a loved one has been drawn into violence or extremism, it can be hard to know what to do. Family and friends can wonder if their worries are justified – or feel a sense of shame, fear or despair.
It’s important to reach out and get help in a safe, confidential environment. We are here to listen and contacting Families for Life can be the first step in getting the support and reassurance you need.
When you are dealing with complex issues at home it can feel overwhelming, but there are some tried and tested methods you can use to help your loved one.
Let them know you are there for them
Talk to them and say you are always there to support them. Be calm, open and non-confrontational to encourage them to share their ideas and opinions.
It’s important to remember that you could be dealing with a vulnerable person who is being groomed or manipulated by a gang or extremists, so show that you accept their views even if you don’t feel that way.
Create some rules for using the internet
Recruiters often monitor social networks and online gaming forums popular with young people and use profiles that suggest they are a similar age to their victims. Update your own knowledge of social media and be as clued up on your child’s online activity as possible.
Watch how they use the internet – do they switch screens when you enter the room or go near the computer? Try asking your child what sites, apps and games they use. It can be a good way to start a conversation.
Avoid banning them from using the internet entirely as they will be more likely to hide what they are doing from you. Instead, set rules that allow your child freedom but offer clear boundaries and let you monitor what they are doing.
Take time to talk about identity
Reassure your child that it is natural to struggle with identity as they grow up – and that everyone has many different aspects and identities. Letting them know that you support them as they explore the possibilities is one of the most important things you can do.
Teach them critical thinking
Help your loved one understand the dangers of becoming involved in situations or with groups they may not have all the information about. Teach them to positively and constructively question when they are unsure.
Talk to them about what they see on TV and on the internet – and explain that what they see and read may not be the whole picture.
Remind your child that people they talk to on the internet may not always be who they say they are.
Encourage positive behaviour
See if your child will take up positive activities with local community groups you trust. You can check them out yourself beforehand. Promote a sense of tolerance and community spirit at home and show respect for people from all faiths and backgrounds.