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  • Jan Hastings

Climate change is one more (gigantic) stressor for parents.

There hasn’t been a lot of research on parenting and climate change, and the added parental responsibilities to teach and prepare kids for climate change. There has been even less research on how parents themselves experience raising children in climate change times.

Gaziulusoy (2020) reported that living in times of climate change is very unsettling – climate change-induced grief is becoming part and parcel of our experience with the current status of the world. Many parents feel responsible for shaping the future for their children, and for shaping their children for an incomprehensibly uncertain future.

You aren’t alone

Emotions about parenting in climate change run the gamut. From every fear about the worst-case scenario coming sooner than was thought, to wondering

? “Why am I freaking out about my kids’ futures at the same time I don’t really change my behaviour?” to dealing with

? “for your kids, you always want to be there, but you can't in this case,” and lapsing into

? “I'm not even preparing myself. I'm just hitting the wall when it comes to climate change.”

Some parents spoke of actively preparing or planning to prepare their children to cope with the impacts of climate change. “It sounds good, but the challenges of keeping things together on a daily basis for the family and the risks kids face every day, like accidents and harassment and bullying, dominate the worry scale.”

Time to be properly informed about the issues, not to mention figuring out what to do simply doesn’t exist for most parents. Many parents feel like only politicians and businesses have the power to choose between alternatives. Or, that alternatives don’t even exist. When you put all that together, it takes a toll.

Research about parenting in times of climate change shows

· parents don’t know what to do,

· parents feel what they do can never be enough,

· parents feel guilt if they can’t model eco-parenting, and

· there’s a lot of info but parents don’t know what is right, or how to make a difference.

Parents want to help their kids with climate change. The ones who are taking steps for climate change feel like outliers in danger of losing influence with their kids. These parents wish wearing reused clothing and carrying eating utensils could be normalized. Normalizing things that help the planet is a good place to start.

Research also says that even just talking about climate change helps. Family-based discussions on climate change, regardless of parents' outlook and concern levels, brings about climate change mitigating behaviour among children.

Take a breath.

Research also says that doing something—anything—sustainable helps the planet and helps to ease the mind. No one has to be a perfect parent; it’s the same with climate change. Do what you can—it’s good enough, and it makes you want to do more.

Some easy suggestions

Choose Reusable Food Storage Systems

Reusable Zipper Bags

Choose Reusable Bees Wax Food Wraps

Carry Reusable Utensils for To Go Lunches

No need for expensive reusable “to go” utensils set. Regular utensils from your thrift store are more sustainable.

Grab a coffee and watch: The Story of Plastic Video

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