Teaching your kids survival skills is a wonderful thing to do… whether it is in backpacking and outdoors skills, gardening, food preservation, self defense and firearms, or maybe even a little bit of all of them– these skills are important, and could potentially be life-saving for your children some day. In addition, learning how to be self-sufficient is usually easily turned into a fun task. You can teach your kids all about hunting and fishing and have a great time while doing it. However, there is another side to preparing your children for TEOTWAWKI– and that is the psychological side.
When your child is old enough, it’s time to consider preparing them for the possible mental effects that come with potential disasters and end of the world scenarios. Consider discussing these 6 topics to with your kids– when they are mentally ready. Remember everyone is different and matures in different ways, always consider your own child’s maturity before you discuss these subjects with them.
Children are creatures of habit, a small disruption in their routine can often throw them, and their parents, into a tailspin. Scheduling and consistency is important, but making sure your children are able to adapt to different situations will help them is a disaster turns their world upside down. When they reach an age where they can better understand, explaining examples and showing the importance of being able to easily adapt to certain situations will help your children manage whatever if thrown at them. Teach them how to use the items in their bug out bags too, make sure they have the tools and knowledge both to adapt to their surroundings.
Judging and Trusting People
Sure you’ve taught your children at a young age about “Stranger Danger” but in SHTF scenarios, it will take a much better judge of character than that. It’s important to instill a certain level of skepticism… and imparting this to your children will enable them to make careful decisions about who to trust in a survival situation.
In real life you don’t want to make you child leery of everyone they meet, but in a SHTF scenario a higher level of guarding is necessary. Teaching your kids this important difference could save their life or their supplies in a situation down the road.
Kids have a hard time making decisions– just try and ask one what they want to eat for lunch sometime, but in a survival situation there is no time to waiver. Teach your kids about solid decision making, and how dangerous flip flopping can be in a disaster scenario.
Prepare Them For Being Alone
As sad as it is, you need to prepare your children for the possibility that you may not be there to take care of them. This comes when you children reach a certain level of emotional maturity that they understand they do have the ability to be self-sufficient and take care of themselves if it comes to it. This is a great place to interject another text, there are many teen survival readings that feature a character that is alone, but surviving. I always mention Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, it will always be my favorite young adult, survival book, but I’m not going to lie, the Hunger Games was pretty entertaining too. I’ve heard wonderful things about, If We Survive by Andrew Klavan, about four high schoolers who get swept up in a revolution in Central America– can’t wait to read that one. You may consider something like Swiss Family Robinson for the younger kids too. Filling your children with images of people who can and will make it no matter what, teaches your kids to fight, rather than flight, when the important time comes.
Depending on the situation, priorities could be the difference between life and death. For instance, in a survival situation especially in the wilderness, one of the first tasks should be to find and filter clean, drinkable water. If this isn’t a main priority in your child’s head, you should probably talk to them. Make sure they understand what it takes to survive and how to choose the most important tasks first.
Sometimes It’s Them, Or You
When you teach your child self-defense, one of the major cornerstones is not to use your techniques unless it’s absolutely necessary. At some point though, the necessity to fight could become very real, and you need to prepare your children to avoid hesitations in self-defense. It’s a hard lesson to teach but your children must know that sometimes if your life depends on it, you must use force, lethal if necessary. You don’t want your child to have to hurt anyone, but in a survival situation, you want to give your child the psychological, as well as the physical, tools to be the one left standing if it comes to it. (When they are old enough I would give them actual self-defense tools too).
Preparing your child for whatever may happen is a large proposition. You must give them the proper tools– consider exploring self-defense with them, teach them survival skills, take them hunting and fishing, teach them how to grow and can food for storage— but don’t forget to prepare them mentally when they are ready. With a strong mind, your child will be more prepared and more safe no matter what comes their way.