Author Topic: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)  (Read 8377 times)

Offline C.J.

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Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« on: September 21, 2010, 03:51:29 PM »
I was looking through and couldn't find anything on this, perhaps you all can help me!

I am trying to teach my 10 year old (and 5'3" so she's a bit mature for her age) daughter things like:

How to eat/fix from supplies
Basic first aid
Staying warm / out of the elements
Building fires
You know, the basic stuff

The problem is A) she could really care less if it doesn't involve Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers *sigh* and B) she asks an awful lot of questions and seems to get nervous at the prospect of having to actually do any of this for real.

Thing is, I would have to be dead or in a coma before she would have to do anything on her own, because I am the most over-protective mom in the world (as i am sure many of you are as well) - but she needs to know this stuff!! Here's my question, what have you all taught your kids and how have you gone about doing it so they don't get scared?




Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2010, 05:36:10 PM »
My children are pretty young, but I'm teaching them what I think they can handle.  For instance, I'm teaching my two oldest, 7 and 4 years old, to shoot BB guns and a pellet pistol.  It's just a fun activity for now, but as time goes by and they grow up a bit, this survival skill will develop.  I'll move them up to .22 rifles at some later point.  They don't get scared because I don't tell them, "Kids, there may come a time when you need to shoot someone in order to protect yourself, so I'm training you to shoot someone to death right now."  It's just target practice, just some fun time spent with dad.

Ditto with fire starting.  It's just something fun to do with dad.  I don't explain that some day they may need to know several ways to start a fire because the end of the world as we know it might strike and mankind could be destroyed, leaving them on their own in a bleak world filled with crazed zombies out to eat their brains.

What, exactly, is scaring your daughter?  Can you avoid scaring her while you teach her what she does, indeed, need to know?  Is there any way you can tie learning these survival skills with what she is interested in?  For instance, you spend some mind-numbing time with her that in some way has to do with Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers, maybe listening with her to her favorite songs or maybe even taking her to a concert, and she in turn spends time with you learning something you want to teach her?

If you endure either Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers in order to get her to learn some survival or prepping skills, you've got my vote for mother of the year. ;)

Offline cartpusher

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2010, 05:49:36 PM »
One thing is to take advantage of those "teachable moments".  My wife, who was originally skeptical of my prepping, has stepped up each time she saw it pay off.  Whole family was sick for a week, couldn't leave the house, and we were able to keep pulling food out of the preps and eat well.  That hit home for her. 

Another great tool to get her prepping, was watching the series Jericho, but that is not really appropriate for a 10 year old, and would scare the hell out of her.  But there may be some other good shows, books or movies that people could suggest that would at least get her thinking.  The book Snowbound might be ok, not sure what grade i was in when i read that though.

Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2010, 10:50:21 PM »
I'm not sure I understand why she's scared (other than possibly using fear and/or tears to get out of having to do anything that looks like "work").  Take her camping, and teach her while you're there.  No ipod allowed, no phone (keep hers in the car), no internet, no TV.  Only what you might need to build a fire, and make food.  There's nothing scary about it.

I'm seriously baffled by this.  I mean, Miley Cyrus is awesome, but dang, even she goes outside once in a while.

Online bartsdad

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2010, 11:26:37 PM »
I've got the opposite problem. My little guy(3 1/2) just loves helping Mommy or Daddy and he gets upset when he's not allowed to help because something is not safe for a kid his age to do. We have also encouraged him to do things for himself whenever possible. Trying to get him out of the house when he's trying to  zip his hoodie and its not working and he WON'T accept help can be a bit trying.

The bottom line is kids are kids, lead by example.

Offline C.J.

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 02:06:50 AM »
Well, kiddo is pretty sharp, and she understands quite a bit. I think that she has picked up on a lot of things from conversations and she seems to have a sense that "something" is coming...I have never said anything like, "you might have to do this someday" - but she is the one who asks me if she will. Like I said, she just seems to have a knowing of some sort that I just don't understand.


When the ice storms hit 2 winters ago, she LOVED that time. We cooked on the wood stove and her and the other kids (there were 4 families in one house to stay warm) played board games and pretended to live in another time. That was all good, but when she looks into the basement and sees the stock of food, etc - she starts asking questions. I'm not sure if I have answered those questions to suit her yet. she might be 10, but has the mind of a 14 year old (which, in some ways is DANGEROUS...WHOA)


She has a great love of the outdoors, and we are not an iPod, phone dependent, video game playing, television watching pair. Matter of fact, she has one of the original playstations, and I would be willing to bet it has been 2 years since she turned it on. She gets about 30 minutes of internet time a day to watch her Jonas boys and Miley stuff (lol) and the rest is spent with her nose in a book. :)

I just wondered if anyone has shared stories with their older/young teen kids and if any of you all have experienced the same thing I have been with mine...

Thanks!






Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 03:39:34 AM »

I am trying to teach my 10 year old....daughter.....    ....she....seems to get nervous at the prospect of having to actually do any of this for real.

Here's my question, what have you all taught your kids and how have you gone about doing it so they don't get scared?

My Sweetie & I raised two good kids (a son & a daughter) and I am now helping out with our daughter's three grandkids, ages 5, 7, & 10.

The grandkids had been a little over-protected before The Babysitter showed up.

That's changed.

I've introduced them to fire-making, background camping, trap-making, BB guns, atlatls, knife and axe throwing, and the fine art of eating whatever is good for you, if it isn't moving too fast.

And a lot of other stuff, from politics to astronomy. Chicken farmin', & how not to get your toes pecked. Useful stuff.

Kids really like to learn, but they may only want to learn what they decide they want to learn.

Take food. My daughter's a terrible cook. So she just cooks whatever's fast & easy.

There were many foods the kids simply weren't familiar with, and that made those items politically unacceptable to the absolute max.

The list of what they didn't like was as long as my arm and included all twelve of the Five Food Groups.

"Ewww! What are these little GREEN things?"

"They're called peas. You don't have to like them, you just have to eat them. NOW!"

Man cannot live on Mac&Cheese, Beanie Weenies, and frozen pizza. Or Shall Not, if The Babysitter hath anything to say about ith.

We've made a lot of progress, though avocados are still a problem at the moment.

(The daughter, BTW, is now actually learning how to cook. Times have changed. It is no longer optional.)

Fire-making was easy: kids are natural pyromaniacs. It was fire safety that was harder.

I use two basic strategies: if something can be made fun, I make it funnest.

If something isn't fun (like dishwashing) I teach the science of Getting It Over With Fast--the most efficient way of putting an unpleasant job squarely in the past.

Thus leaving more time to play, and getting back to playing again sooner.

As far as fear goes, most children are much more afraid of the "Unknown" than the endless lumps, bumps, thumps, and scrapes of just being a kid.

That they can cope with.

Learning a new skill can be scary if it is perceived as making "having to experience the Unknown" more probable.

Lessons become less scary if they are slanted toward make the "Unknown" perfectly ordinary.

That was probably why your daughter rose so well to the occasion during the ice storms.

A future ice storm is scary, to the uninitiated. A person's first ice storm is no longer an unknown/uncertain event. It becomes the normality of the moment when the moment arrives. Then, actually having the resources to handle it becomes a real hoot.

A joy, in fact. A positive relief: "Ain't nothin' goin' on here I can't handle."

So, between the choice of learning:
"Here's what you have you do if there's a tornado."
and
"Here's what we always do when there's a tornado."
version two usually works a lot better.








Offline P_Coltrane

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 04:50:17 AM »

The problem is A) she could really care less if it doesn't involve Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers *sigh* and B) she asks an awful lot of questions and seems to get nervous at the prospect of having to actually do any of this for real.

Thing is, I would have to be dead or in a coma before she would have to do anything on her own, because I am the most over-protective mom in the world (as i am sure many of you are as well) - but she needs to know this stuff!! Here's my question, what have you all taught your kids and how have you gone about doing it so they don't get scared?


Maybe she is not as scared as you believe and your over protective nature is causing you to misinterpret her reactions.  Maybe you are doing the right things the right way and are projecting your concerns on her. 
If the prepping is new to the family, going from over protective behavior to more self sufficient behavior could be a bit confusing to a 10 year old.  I wouldn't worry too much about it.  Kids are resilient and usually open to new experiences if given the opportunity to adapt at their own speed.

Offline OKGranny

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2010, 11:39:22 AM »
I don't understand the fear thing either. I taught mine with what if's. What if there was another ice storm and Mom was sick, which I was fairly often back then. Here's how you cook on the wood stove. What if the house caught fire, can you get out if the fire is between you and the doors? We had practice fire drills. You say you're over protective but babying her to the point you can't make her learn self preservation isn't protecting her, it's leaving her vulnerable. If she's really afraid for some strange reason getting competent will ease those fears and let her enjoy life more.

Offline C.J.

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2010, 01:46:34 PM »


As far as fear goes, most children are much more afraid of the "Unknown" than the endless lumps, bumps, thumps, and scrapes of just being a kid.

That they can cope with.

Learning a new skill can be scary if it is perceived as making "having to experience the Unknown" more probable.

Lessons become less scary if they are slanted toward make the "Unknown" perfectly ordinary.

That was probably why your daughter rose so well to the occasion during the ice storms.

A future ice storm is scary, to the uninitiated. A person's first ice storm is no longer an unknown/uncertain event. It becomes the normality of the moment when the moment arrives. Then, actually having the resources to handle it becomes a real hoot.

A joy, in fact. A positive relief: "Ain't nothin' goin' on here I can't handle."

So, between the choice of learning:
"Here's what you have you do if there's a tornado."
and
"Here's what we always do when there's a tornado."
version two usually works a lot better.









This seems to sum it up pretty well. I remember being her age/stage as a young girl. EVERYTHING was scary. Your body is changing, the way you think is changing, you aren't quite a teenager, but you don't want to play with Barbies anymore, either. Any deviation from the norm raises a gazillion questions, whether you actually share those with someone or not. As I was growing up, I didn't, I kept all that inside and had many sleepless nights and crying fits for what seemed like no reason. I feel lucky, though, that the kiddo is able to vocalize her thoughts and fears with me, and want to be able to answer her questions to the best of my ability.

I've been thinking about this thread a lot since i posted it, and over the conversations that kiddo and I have had on this subject. They are few and far between, like I said, she's REALLY distracted by sparkley stuff and is getting a bit "pop starry" LOL The latest one was:

Kiddo: now tell me again why we have all that food in the basement?
Me:  'cause I'm hungry. HA
K:  seriously, mom. Dang.
Me:  because that way we always know we have something to eat, like when it snows a lot or if we ever have another ice storm
K:  the ice storm was fun. Or like when the tornado sirens go off we have to use those lamps in the basement, right?
M: yep
K: the tornado siren is loud. I'm glad we didn't have to do that this year.
M: yep, me too...gives me a headache.
K: those kids in Haiti didn't have food after the earthquake
M: no, honey, they didn't. that's why we made packages at church for them.
K: Yeah, they were really poor. Oh, I heard you talking to that guy about hyperinflation and read that article you had on your computer. what's that?

See where I'm coming from now? She is asking very valid and intelligent questions, and the answers may not always be wine and roses, but deserve intelligent answers. And my problem is the answers sometimes bother her. Perhaps I'm the only one that is encountering this, but I seriously doubt that. But, she deserves the truth and to not be kept in a bubble like I was growing up. Then when reality hits, it hits harder than it should.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2010, 03:10:08 PM »
I think your girl sounds very intelligent, and certainly deserves good and true answers to her questions. Truth is, the truth is often upsetting, but not nearly so upsetting as finding out latter that things were sugar coated and that you had not been trusted with the truth.

If you see that something has upset her, it might be good to try to get her to express exactly what points are bothering her. You may discover she has some misconception, which can be corrected, or talking about them and ways to deal with whatever bothers her can ease her mind some.

Much about today's situation upsets me. Mostly I worry about my four boys. Two are adults and two are very close to the age of your daughter. They all always get straight answers from me. Sometimes this upsets them. I would rather they face truth than be wrapped in thick blankets and be unaware. In time, they are able to deal with it and I believe it makes them stronger. Some bumps and bruises are required to grow up. IMO, protecting children from all of these robs them of the chance to grow and learn.

Offline OKGranny

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2010, 05:03:38 PM »
If she's asking valid and pertinent questions then answer truthfully. She may have a few bad days because the answers are unsettling and she may have even more questions but I'm not sensing fear in the questions she's asking you. Concern, yes but that's good.

Offline Lara

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2010, 10:20:17 PM »
I saw in your Intro post that you're from the New Madrid fault line area, so let me suggest Rock Bridge State Park near Columbia MO, if you're anywhere near there.  At Rock Bridge, there's a permanent orienteering course set up, and I've taught outdoor skills to many young ones there.  Kids around age 10 are awesome because they still have a lot of natural curiosity about the outdoors, and about how things work.  I'm a big fan of the teachable moment, and we can actually create an environment for many of those moments to occur.  For example, teaching orienteering in the late fall is great because it's easier to see the red/white striped posts in the park without the leaves on the trees/bushes.  Late fall also creates chilly kids who think hot chocolate is a great idea.  (TM#1:  Oh, you're cold?  Let me teach you how to build a fire...)  Late fall also has the sun going down earlier than we're used to.  (TM#2:  What would we do if we twisted our ankle, and had to limp to the car in the dark?  Let's talk about what we should have in an emergency kit for hiking...)  and TM#2 lends itself well to (TM#3: What could we do for our twisted ankle?  Let me teach you how to do some basic first aid, and how to make splints out of whatever supplies we have available...)  I'm sure you get the idea.  This approach might be a little less scary to her, if you can just get her to go orienteering in the first place.  You know your own kid, and I'm sure you know what might work for her.  I just wanted to share with you about Rock Bridge in case you haven't heard of it, and share my approach to teaching kids in the woods.   ;D  Welcome to the boards.

Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2010, 11:20:31 PM »
And just for the record, Lara is an absolutely amazing human being.  I would trust her with my life, or the life of anybody I love.  If you have the chance to take your wee lass for any sort of class that Lara might be offering, I highly recommend you (and anybody else) take her up on it.  :)

Offline Lara

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2010, 07:49:26 AM »
Aw shucks.  Thanks.   :)  That's the great thing about the forum...lots of great folks with lots of skills, and I'd love to learn some things from you and TW too!

Offline C.J.

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2010, 03:13:10 PM »
Thanks, Lara! Columbia is about 6 hours from me...but that sounds like a fun weekend adventure! Is there a schedule of events that you all follow or something similar? I'm actually thinking that might be a pretty cool spring break or long weekend kind of thing...we'll be spending a couple days this fall break in the smokies, hiking, running the trails, and attending a pow-wow at Cherokee to name a few things...so I'm not sure we can get your way till spring. I would love to know more about what y'all do up that way!!

Offline Lara

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2010, 04:51:18 PM »
I don't really do any formal outdoor skills teaching these days, but I'd be more than happy to throw something together.  There's not a formal schedule of anything right now.  I've been too busy doing career-related stuff.   ::) There are several TSPers in MO, and if we all had a get-together, we'd have a lot to show each other, I'm sure.  The orienteering maps for Rock Bridge are available at their ranger station, and I have a "key" map with all the answers that I made for myself years ago, and then waterproofed. 

Hope you have a great time near Cherokee.  I love that area!

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2010, 09:39:37 PM »
C.J., one of the reasons my family preps and builds our skills is so we don't have to be afraid if or when things go wrong.  Yes, I'm nervous about when hard times may hit, but that's because I don't know exactly what that will look like.  I do know me and my family have a set of skills to cover a lot of situations and a fair amount of equipment to back up our skills.

When I think about the hard times that may come in my lifetime, another thing I try to keep in mind is that I'll be in a position to help others as well.  Looking at it that way, I consider it a duty to learn and prepare, something I'm doing for others as well as myself and my family.  Most likely, whatever happens will not be TEOTWAWKI, a complete collapse of civilization.  If it's a localized or short-term event, I intend to give till it hurts and help as many as I can until help arrives.  In other words, if I know help will arrive eventually and civilization is up and running elsewhere, I'm going to expend preps and energy helping others in an effort to hold the line until help arrives.  Hurricane Katrina would be a great example of an emergency where I would help my neighbors and friends as much as I possibly could until help arrived.  After all, the whole country didn't get hit by the hurricane, so it was reasonable to expect that help would be there within a few weeks.  I would have known that I could resupply my stocks of food at some point in the near future, had I been in the middle of that mess, and I would have helped my friends and neighbors without worrying about my diminishing preps.

If you've read my posts, you'll see I'm very interested in alternative ways to make power for both vehicles and to run my home with no reliance on OPEC or the power company.  Yes, I intend to do this for myself and my family.  But, can you imagine how valuable that knowledge would be if we run into hard times when the established systems are no longer capable of providing and transporting power or if people simply can no longer afford to purchase gasoline, diesel, or electricity from the power company?  I'll be able to use what I know to help others at that point.

Maybe approach your prepping and learning skills as something you do so you don't have to live in fear.  Instead of answering her questions from a place of fear, try answering from a place of confidence.  And emphasize the fact that if hard times hit, you all will be in a position to not only help yourselves, but also assist your friends, neighbors, and extended family.

Offline Ditch

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2010, 06:44:50 PM »
I agree with mangyhyena.  Teaching a child does not require them to know the why behind it from the start.  When, as a kid, I found out the hard way how to be ready.  The family was caught on an island for two weeks and had to survive.  Dad made it a game for us and we never forgot what we were taught and we all have the abilities that we built on from those days.  Make it short and sweet for each task and most of all fun.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2010, 07:34:24 PM »
We have been very open about everything, including the political situation, the possibility of needing to be more self-reliant, etc. with our two boys (ages 10 and 12). We stress the point that the reason we do the prepping we do is so that there is less reason to worry when we are better prepared. We also have them involved in scouting, which has been a really fun way to apply the wilderness survival stuff (and give them some time camping with their dad).

If she senses that you are a little bit scared, she may be tuning in to that... I would suggest that you just try to make it a matter-of-fact thing that you do to make your lives better. We worry less about our kids being scared than that they tend to blab and try to recruit everyone they meet to the TSP forum and podcast (LOL).

Offline dodgetruckmom

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2010, 06:21:17 AM »
My younger daughter (13) and I spent this past weekend at Girl Scout camp. Two of the older girls from her troop sponsored a Junior Pow-Wow for younger girls from area troops, and they had to present four different seminars. I overheard my daughter talking to her friend, who was in charge of the "survival seminar." The friend was asking my daughter for ideas about different kinds of survival situations. My daughter suggested a couple, and then she said to her friend, "You really need to talk to my mother. She's an expert at worst-case scenarios." My kids are always making fun of me for being neurotic, but I guess they're paying attention.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2010, 06:51:21 AM »
The friend was asking my daughter for ideas about different kinds of survival situations. My daughter suggested a couple, and then she said to her friend, "You really need to talk to my mother. She's an expert at worst-case scenarios."

You do realize, of course, that those words constitute an immense compliment, as well as an affirmation of extraordinary respect and trust?

+1 for exceptional child-rearing!

Offline dodgetruckmom

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Re: Teaching the Kids (Without scaring them)
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2010, 07:44:56 AM »
Thank you! Yes, I've got two truly wonderful girls, with very level heads. I enjoy spending time with them.