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How You Can Make a Difference?

  • Make it clear to kids that you’re an adult they can trust before you have difficult conversations.


  • Be curious about a child’s interests and hobbies. “When a (child) invites you into his world, even in a little way, take that opening” - Karen Landman, 2024.


  • Show your children how you take care of other people and show them own you express a full range of emotions, not just anger and violence. 

  • Show support and encouragement when children show care for others. Let them know you’re proud of them for being compassionate and caring.


  • Let your children know they can come to you if they're worried or confused about something they have seen online or overheard in school or public, or if they have questions.

  • If your child is saying things that are hateful or extremist, encourage them to engage in critical thinking. Ask them where they heard those things and offer to look over the online source so you understand where these issues are coming from and so you can explain why these are unhealthy opinions.

  • Help your children understand that the people spreading these beliefs may have their own motives besides the truth.

  • Ask your children open-ended questions about their own values. “What do you care about?”, “What do you think is right?”, “Who kind of person do you want to be?”

  • Talk to your children about propaganda and strategies used by extremists, such as scapegoating other groups of people or trying to offer simple solutions to complex problems. Talk to them about how extremists pray on people’s feelings of loneliness, vulnerability, and insecurity. It helps to share an incident from your own past where you were deceived by someone who didn’t have your best interests in mind.


  • Let your children know that it is okay to feel uncertain, sad, lonely, or vulnerable. Everyone has these feelings at many points in their life.


  • Talking about extremism, radicalization, and hate is not easy for anyone. If you feel you made a mistake in how you talked to your child or got angry when you shouldn’t have, you have lots of chances to make up for it. You can come back to a topic after you’ve thought about it for a bit. You, as an adult, can ask for a do-over of the conversation. This helps model self-reflection and a willingness to change- important skills to help inoculate kids and adults against hateful rhetoric.


  • Create and find places where your children can grow emotionally and socially. Ask your child what they are interested in and help them find a positive group that they feel comfortable with and enjoy being a part of. This can be a sports team, a science or art club, a band, a Dungeons & Dragons or other role-playing group, a crochet or knitting club, and many others. Once they join, ask them how they feel about the group. Show an interest in what they’re doing.

Adapted from an article on by Karen Landman, MD

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