We recently told you about Nicola Benyahia, the Birmingham mother whose son, Rasheed, was killed fighting for ISIS in Syria.
A few weeks ago, Nicola visited ODARA to tell the story of how her loving, intelligent 19-year-old boy came to be radicalised.
In the year following his death, Nicola set up Families for Life, a Birmingham-based organisation that offers support to families who fear their son or daughter may be susceptible to extremist views.
Like Nicola, we’re also committed to supporting women and their families through difficult times. We run a range of workshops on wellbeing and personal development, while offering an opportunity to unwind in our spa and gym.
We believe women have a right to relax, away from the pressures of work and family life. However, we also want to guide you through the issues both can raise. So in light of Nicola’s story, we wanted to share advice on supporting young people who may be at a stage where they’re impressionable, vulnerable or searching for their place in the world.
Remember – unusual, isolating behaviour is often typical of any teenager. But you know your child better than anyone. If they’re acting particularly out of character, here are some ways you may be able to help them.
– Communication is key. Always be willing to listen and reassure them that they can talk to you about their worries.
– Radicalisation tends to take place in a digital space. We recommend asking your child what apps, games or websites they like. It’s often an easy way to strike up a conversation about their online activity.
– Monitor their internet usage, but don’t be too restrictive. Outright bans can lead to even more secretive habits.
– Away from the internet, take an interest in your child’s social circle without being critical, and even suggest meeting them.
– Encourage them to take pride in their identity, in their faith and community. A strong sense of self-worth fosters better connections with the people around them, including family. Let them know that they can talk to you if they’re feeling unsure about where they fit in.
– Positive activities and hobbies, like sport and volunteering, are a great way to instil a sense of pride, something that will also give them the confidence to question unfamiliar situations and people, whether online or in real life.
– Ensure you child knows who they can confide in, whether it’s you or another trusted adult who may be able to help them.
If you would like more information on the issues in this post, please get in touch with us via the contact details at the botton of our website.