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Talking to kids about societal collapse

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by pcc, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. pcc

    pcc Monkey+

    I'm at a loss on this one. As I've ramped up preparations my kids have asked more & more questions. I try to explain to them as plainly as I can but I don't think I'm doing a very good job. I can't seem to figure out how to put societal collapse, SHTF, EOTWAWKI whatever you want to call it in terms a kid would understand.

    Here's part of a conversation we had this afternoon while watching a hawk eat a squirrel. The conversation started with them asking why I wanted them to know so much about nature and how to watch for different signs in nature.

    me - if the world goes down the pooper then we may have to leave the house and live in and off of nature for awhile.

    13 yo - you mean like on little house on the prarie

    Me - yes something like that since there would be no public services

    9 yo - does that mean we don't have school

    me - not for awhile bud

    13 yo - what public services

    me - electricity, & running water for us, for people in cities no sewer or garbage collection. Probably no wally world or grocery stores for awhile either. Gas for cars would run out too.

    9yo - so it's like camping out all the time

    me - yes bud that's right

    13yo - but they had grocery stores and other stores on little house

    9yo - so we get to camp out all the time, not take showers and don't have to go to school. That's cool

    me - we may see some trading post pop up but I wouldn't count on it. There were a lot less people back then and the people were a lot more self sufficient. And we could still get clean using water from the pond

    9yo - self sufficient??

    me - the people back then could take care of themselves kinda like the man on the dvd Alone in the wilderness or the movie Jeremiah Johnson. They didn't rely on the govt like a lot of people do today. There are probably more worthless people today that sit around and wait for the govt to take money away from me and the other working people and give it to them than the entire population of the US back in the little house times.

    9yo - oh, you mean like the hobos that live under the bridges in atlanta

    me - actually the ones I'm talking about are worse than the those hobos

    13 yo - so why would all that happen?

    me - our govt is run by idiots that are out for themselves, those idiots may cause our financial markets to collapse or we may be attacked by terrorist again on a much larger scale

    13yo - You're always saying you wished the govt would change wouldn't this be a good thing.

    me - I'm not sure, in the short term a lot of people would die and not just the worthless people a lot of good people would die too. In the long term for you and when you grow up, your kids the US would hopefully be a better place.

    9yo - why would a lot of people die.

    me - no food, clean water, or medicine. those people that sit around and wait for their govt checks every month don't have a clue how to live in or off of nature. Once the grocery stores run out of food they're done. Fights would break out for whatever food and water they could find. Since they don't know how to hunt, plant gardens or sterilize water they can't make their own.

    13yo - I don't get it dad, how do terrorist attacking or the financial markets collapsing make the world go down the pooper

    me - why don't ya'll go see if you can find that squirrels tail that just fell.

    I've had a few similar conversations with them, some more in depth some less depending on the questions they ask. I generally think we're doing great and they understand then I have to back up and start all over.

    Do I need more detail, less detail. any help would be appreciated. My wife has all these "How to talk to your kids" books that she's always trying to get me to read. Is there a How to tell your kids about the collapse of society or SHTF for Dummies guide out there?
  2. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    It sounds like you're on the right track. You might ask your kids what THEY think should be done if there is no electricity, or hot and cold running water,
    or grocery stores.
    They may have some useful ideas that will surprise you.
    At least, it will get their minds accustomed to the possibilities.
  3. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Exactly. Gray hit the nail on the head. The more you get them to answer, the more they will think, store the data, and come up with their own perceptions. If you guide them, you will keep them on track. One thing you could do without explaining all the details to them, is to actually go camping and see how they fair when posed with a particular problem (i.e., no water....creek?, no food...fish?, no power...torchlight?, no store...plant garden?)

    I wouldn't know what works best, but I can imagine (having been a kid myself) that all the hundreds of details don't make sense to a child because the definitions of "government" and "politics" and "society" are concepts which apply to adults. It is just irrelevant to a kid (for me it was) because I was dependent upon my parents for survival. The "how" and the "why" our society is collapsing is not as critical as being self-sufficient, and explaining the "how" and the "why" for self-sufficiency is not to be equated with the former as long as you explain this to them. I was told, and I still believe that self-sufficiency is the most practical, sensible way to live. If you do not offer an alternative, it will alleviate a lot of the details which are, for the most part, irrelevant. Of course, kids are inquisitive...and you could ask them to tell you which they think is better: "Do you want to go on expecting others to provide for you, or wouldn't you rather be able to provide for yourself?" and "What are the benefits of having your own stuff, making your own stuff, and selling your own stuff?"

    Kids are amazing. They don't share as many of the errors and falsities that we Adults may have accrued over the years. Starting at base zero will help a great deal. I wish you the very best!
  4. Sherman

    Sherman Dog Eat Dog

    Mine are 9 and 12. I don't go into too much detail. it's hard enough being a kid w/ out Dad's added paranoia, think of the nuclear PSA's they used to show in schools, did they make kids feel safer? Kids need to feel safe. If they ask "why do I need to know this stuff?
    my response is "you might need it someday" but thats it. As long as you have imparted the knowledge and the skills. And I poiont out things happening in haiti and katrina, how you have to know how to depend on yourself and not wait to be "rescued".

    Shows like survivorman really help not because of the info but because my kids think it's cool.
  5. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Preparedness (for anything) is a lifestyle. Show it, live it, and your children will learn it. My parents didn't bother me with the details why we had a whole bunch of life's necessities stored away, I just knew that it's what you're supposed to do; plan for a "rainy day".

    Politics, government officials, and employers will come and go. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst in any and all situations and you're able to have a small sense of security for yourself and your family.

    They'll learn these very important life skills from you and carry them on. Your personal motivation for preparing may differ from their (eventual) motivation, but in the end, the results are the same.
  6. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Now, I can consider myself as one of the lucky parents out there...
    I only have to deal with parenthood as it pertains to young adults, 18 and up!
    Still, it's not easy competing with MP-3's and computers, etc.
    But at least they do pay attetnion, on occasion....
    I found it was easier to guide them, make them think, and ask as many questions as they can....The take them out into the NON-city areas, and see what they can do for themselves....So far, so good!
  7. kansasrebel

    kansasrebel Monkey++

    Have them watch what's going on in Haiti. Tell them you don't want to be like the Haitians waiting for a handout from someone else when something bad happens. Watching people fighting for food in the streets should open their eyes. It may be a little harsh for them, but better this way than learning it as it happens to us.
  8. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Good thoughts, all of them. Keep in mind, that camping, hunting, and hiking all give you time alone with your children when they are much more receptive to mental stimulation, away from the Ipods, games, phones, laptops, etc. You are doing a good job, just keep working on them. Try not to hit them with too much at one time. Little things here and there. They will come to love you even more for the time you spent, the things they learned, and the care you showed.
  9. pcc

    pcc Monkey+

    thanks for the suggestions. Haven't tried asking them questions. I'll try that next.
  10. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I grew up during the Cuban Missle crisis and was terrified of being turned into a light-bulb filament. Somehow, the 'duck and cover' plan didn't seem like it was legitimate. Watch Kennedy get whacked and then South East Asia became the next corporate coupe. Whole damned scene made me suspicious and distrustful of .gov and the world around me. Too much negative dulls the sense of pride in one's self and thwarts the desire to achieve. It is good to prepare for the worst, but pray of the best. Sociopaths are bred from having no hope.
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