Age appropriate family preparedness is often a topic left off the table due to the wide variety of family approaches to preparedness planning. However we have seen some key elements that need addressing when discussing this wide and varied topic.
At what age is it reasonable to begin teaching our children about preparedness planning? Do we deny them a ‘normal’ childhood by drills, gas masks and fear? Do we allow them to live in oblivion thinking life as they know it will always be lollypops and fluffy clouds?
Parenting is difficult enough as it is in our current time, but throw in the prepping mind-set, some young children, a tight budget and the signs of the times ahead and a family could be headed for a disaster greater than the collapse of our economy. That disaster would be: resentful children, bitter parents and a disassembled or at least disconnected family unit.
At this point we will refrain from giving a LIST of things to do or accumulate for Family Preparedness. Although that is often what people are looking for to prepare their families for emergencies and we WILL get to that. Look for lists, steps and ideas in the upcoming June 2012 issue of PREPARE Magazine. For now, this short article will focus on just a few of the intangibles that Prepare your Family.
Parental Attitude must be Peaceful and not Anxious. Kids (from infant to teen) are thermometers. If you are prepping in a fearful or dogmatic fashion, they will react based on that attitude. Either they will become overly anxious and easily triggered to react poorly or they will simply rebel. After all, aren’t we as parents supposed to protect them? How much faith do they have in us if we act like people possessed by fear and anxiety.
Include, educate and involve kids. Explaining why you prepare and want them to be a part of it is more bonding than showing them all you’ve done for them (and expecting the accolades for it). Make it a fun, Family affair to learn new skills or build bug out bags. Keep fear at by by your attitude and enjoyment of doing this. Isn’t it a joy to provide for and protect your family? Yes. Show that.
Respect each teen and adult family member’s’ right to opt out. As painful and worrisome as it may be, forcing someone to ‘buy into prepping’ is usually the most counter productive thing we can do. If you’ve fostered the other two above traits and a loved one decides not to live as you do, relax. By shear raising, when the time comes – he or she will know what to do or at least they will feel welcome enough of where to come (to you) in an emergency. By then, they will have understood the need and will be willing to contribute.
If you shove Preparedness in the face of loved ones, if you Prepare out of fear like a control freak, or if you become the Martyr of your Family’s Preparedness Plan (you know, the mentality that “you have to do everything”) then your family is more likely to suffer a casualty of dismemberment than if you foster the ideals listed above. That casualty is likly to occur far sooner than an event of cataclysmic proportion that proves you need to have been prepared. You’ll want your Family Unit in that situation. Lay the groundwork NOW to keep that most precious commodity.