LidiceHaus Bremen: Right-wing boys, right-wing girls – helpless parents |

LidiceHaus Bremen: Right-wing boys, right-wing girls – helpless parents

Project: Right-wing boys, right-wing girls – helpless parents. Advice for relatives of right-wing extremist youth
Institution: LidiceHaus gGmbH Bremen
Duration / funding: 2011-2014, model project as part of the federal programme
“TOLERANZ FÖRDERN – KOMPETENZ STÄRKEN” (Promoting Tolerance – Strengthening Competence)
Gender-specific:  clear gender distribution – mostly mothers seek out advice, mainly about their sons

LidiceHaus Bremen offers counselling for parents and relatives of right-wing extremist youth. The organisation has offered training since 2003 to contact personnel for affected parents and families as part of entimon – Together against Violence and Right-Wing extremism, a programme of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. It was possible to expand and complete this existing offer as part of the model project from 2011 to 2014.
In addition to a counselling service for parents and families, LidiceHaus also offers:

  • information and information materials for parents and relatives
  • qualification to counsellors working with parents and relatives of right-wing extremist youth
  • further training for counsellors
  • Iinformation materials for counselling work which is in context
  • advising for counsellors – case coaching
  • support for developing regional counselling services
  • support to communities in institutionalising counselling services
  • Counselling parents and relatives

The goal in counselling parents and relatives of right-wing extremist youth is to help them learn to help themselves. Affected individuals are helped to better assess and cope with their current situation. These individuals are the ones responsible for their own actions at every step of the counselling process, not the counsellor. It is essential to not merely solve the problem but, rather, help parents change how they view the situation as well as support them in developing successful coping strategies. At the beginning of the counselling we help parents be better able to withstand the current situation. This is important because the parents need strength both for dealing with their right-wing extremist oriented child as well as for other everyday tasks. For this, the parents should keep or restore their ability to take action. As it cannot be left to chance whether or not parents receive professional help, LidiceHaus also offers training and advising to professionals and establishes regional contact centres.

Further training for professionals:

Youth project and youth welfare staff, the police and exit programme staff are often confronted with a completely new area of counselling when parents and relatives seek help and support because their child is active in right-wing scenes or right-wing extremist organisations and are usually not very well-prepared for dealing with the specific and interdisciplinary demands: In some counselling centres the staff has psychologically savvy counselling and dialoguing skills and can also assess the importance and ways in which family relationships function; however, they do not have professional knowledge or skills on the topic of right-wing extremism. On the other hand, there are other (socio-pedagogical) projects and counselling teams who may be experts on right-wing extremism but, however, have no real skills and knowledge of client-centred counselling and dialogue. This was the impetus for developing the additional qualification “Right-wing boys, right-wing girls – helpless parents” in the spring of 2002. The goal was to design a further training programme which can both impart knowledge on the topic of right-wing extremism as well as build counselling skills. In addition, it became apparent that family relationships must definitely be worked on as a separate training focus. In the counselling, the parents can only thus recognise how much they themselves play a part in the current problem. For example, in addition to talking about their son when addressing the problem in the counselling session, they can also explore parental and family behaviour and thinking. As a result, a further training structure with three central themes was created: right-wing extremism, inhumane ideologies and youth cultures – youth subculture and lifestyle tensions and conflicts on the one hand and the development of a more right-wing extremist and authoritarian identity on the other family relationships – the parent/child relationship and its relevance for turning to and exiting from extreme thought and behaviour patterns fundamentals of counselling and dialoguing – learning, practising and further developing counselling and communication skills both staff from counselling centres as well as multipliers from right-wing extremist prevention participated in the additional qualification “Right-wing boys, right-wing girls – helpless parents”. However, despite considerable efforts, it was unfortunately not possible to convince anyone from from educational guidance centres to participate in the training. After performing much analysis, we have also still not discovered the reasons for the reluctant attitude of individuals in this field to become involved in the training.