How to have difficult conversations

If you think a loved one has been groomed by an extreme far-right group, stay calm and keep talking to them.

The risk your child runs by being involved with extremists means you will want to help them to understand what could happen, and encourage them to leave.

Sadly, there’s no magic wand you can wave to make them change their mind, but non-judgmental conversations can make a difference.

Don’t expect it to be easy – people involved in the far-right can be defensive and angry if they feel their beliefs are being threatened.

The good news is you don’t have to do this alone.

The advice below is the collective wisdom of other parents who have helped their loved ones get out of extremism and go on to lead normal lives.

How to have conversations without ending up in an argument

The main thing is to avoid arguing and telling them they’re wrong – it could push your loved one further away.

  • Try not to use words like ‘extremist’, ‘racist’, ‘groomed’ or ‘radicalised’, which could make them feel attacked.
  • Talk in a relaxed atmosphere for example at home over a cup of tea.
  • Pick a time that’s good for both of you, try to avoid interruptions and turn off your phone.
  • Tell your loved one you genuinely want to hear what they think – not just what the media says.

What to expect from conversations

Far-right groups are experts at brainwashing. You may be shocked to find your loved one now holds beliefs that are just not true.

Avoid telling them they are wrong or dismiss their views – after all, who likes to be told what they should and shouldn’t believe?

My child won’t talk to me

Sometimes with the best will in the world it’s hard to even get the conversation started. If you are in this situation, please get in touch. We can suggest ice breakers to encourage your loved ones to open up.

When conversations don’t go to plan

This is real life and your conversations won’t always go the way you expect.

If arguments start, the smart move is to take a break. Suggest making a cup of tea or walking the dog – or tell them you have a chore you must do, like going to the shops. This will give you the space you both need.

Once the heat is out of the conversation, ask if you can continue it another time. That leaves the door open to talk again, which is important. 

Above all, try not to feel disheartened. It’s a long road, but helping your child is possible. And we can help.

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When you get in touch with our team you don’t have to use your real name if you don’t want to. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

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