It’s the same old conversation again. You know the one I’m talking about. That one you have with your adult kids (often in their 20s and 30s) about how they need to start prepping. How they really should have a little extra food in the pantry, a little water set aside, and for heaven’s sake, if they can afford it, that emergency fund would be a lifesaver.
And yet, the conversation ends how it always ends. An eye roll, a flippant comment about how the world isn’t ending and everything is fine and that you’re being “crazy” or “overdramatic.”
Sound familiar? If you have adult kids or even anyone in your life who takes a similar stance, you know how insanely frustrating these conversations can be. To you, it’s common sense. Why wouldn’t you prep, because, after all, you never know what will happen?
Sometimes it’s all about the stigma
I’ll be honest, I’ve been on the eye-rolling side of this conversation many time. Just ask my mom, Daisy. I think a large part of it has to do with the stigma. When the general public hears words like “prepping” or “preppers” or “preparedness,” they’re not picturing what the everyday modern version is. They’re picturing gas-mask-wearing bunker-dwelling survivalists, they imagine scenarios like the 90’s movie Blast from the Past or that TV show Doomsday Preppers.
Pop culture and media like to show the more extreme side of prepping because it’s interesting, it’s different, they can glamorize it, and it gets and keeps people talking. Just not in a good way.
It’s the stigmatization like this that keeps people from even considering prepping, let alone actually doing it.
I don’t see what I do as prepping
I’ll be honest, when I think of my day-to-day living, I don’t use the word prepping. I don’t see myself as a prepper. That is the God’s honest truth. At the same time, I do know that if something were to happen, I would be okay. Just because I don’t call myself a prepper doesn’t mean I’m not prepared.
Here are the preps I pretty much always have:
- I have a supply of water in jugs, enough to get my household through a lengthy storm because, living on well water, if the power goes out, which happens at least every month or two, I have no running water.
- My pantry is stocked with enough shelf-stable food to get me through a reasonable period of time. I live in a cold, snowy climate so I have to be ready to be snowed in.
- I have a pretty decent first aid kit that covers all the basics, and I also have a first aid and CPR handbook sitting on my shelf (from the last time I was first aid certified).
- I always have an extra pair of runners, clothes, a blanket, snacks, water, and an extra dog leash in my car in case of an emergency on the road.
- In the winter, I also keep kitty litter in my car in case I get stuck in the snow or ice.
- I have so many candles that if the power went out, I’d be able to light my place up at night, probably for a month straight.
There are other things, but those are my highlights. To the preparedness world, it’s seen as prepping. In my eyes, I see it as common sense. Both are right. It’s just a matter of the label I put on it.
Try changing up your approach
When trying to get the younger adults in your life to start prepping, introduce them slowly, and try changing up your words. If having the exact same conversation over and over again hasn’t changed their mind thus far, it probably never will, so you need to change your approach. To them, they see nothing wrong with their way of living, and things, like scare tactics or arguments, won’t change that.
I recommend starting small. People aren’t going to change their way of being overnight, and most can’t afford to do it quickly. Take inspiration happening from the world around us, both nationwide and in your (or their) town. Here are some things you can try:
- Work on building up their pantry a little at a time, but with things they’ll actually eat. In the early stages, I wouldn’t go in for food buckets. While they can be useful, they can sometimes be unappealing and costly when buying in volume. Instead, start with maybe getting just 5-10 extra canned or dried goods every time you hit the store. Say, “I know you love ___. I saw it’s on sale at the grocery store this week. Why don’t you pick up a few extra while it’s cheap so you have a little set aside?”
- If they don’t have any first aid supplies, try getting them a small first aid kit as a gift. After all, one can never have too many bandaids, and whether its a sprained ankle, a slice on the finger while chopping veggies for dinner, or just a need to sanitize a little scrape, it’s good to have the basics, and it’s something that can realistically be needed and used at any time.
- Live close to all those wildfires going on right now or somewhere that gets cold and snowy in the winter? You never know when you can get stuck in your car, so it’s good to have a few things in the trunk, like a sleeping bag or blanket, a few granola bars, and some water. Nothing crazy, but when the weather is bad, you never know when you could slide into a ditch or get stuck on a highway for hours on end. (It actually happened to my younger sister.)
- Talk about realistic things, like the number of people losing jobs or being unable to find work right now. It’s things like this that make you really need an emergency fund, or, as my grandparents called it growing up, a rainy day fund, as you never know when you could have an unexpected expense like changing your brakes or replacing your refrigerator pop up.
At the end of the day, they are adults and have to make their own choices
It can be so hard, nearly impossible, when something makes so much sense to you, to drop the topic. It’s like your loved one is wearing blinders to the possibilities. I get it; truly, I do. But, at the end of the day, your adult children are just that. Adults. They have to make their choices for themselves, and if they chose not to prep, you can’t force them. Trying will only drive a wedge between you, make them less likely to listen, and make it harder for them to come to you for advice and support when they actually need it. (Remember, no one likes being told, “I told you so!”)
What you can do, is gently encourage, change your wording so you’re not using those heavily stigmatized words, and show the realistic, day-to-day sides and reasons for prepping, avoid the extreme stuff for now.
Have you had this experience, either as an adult child or as the parent of an adult child? Do you have any advice for the parents out there who want to see to it that their offspring are prepared? What are your ideas? What roadblocks have you run into?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
About Chloe Morgan
Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea.