Climate Change: Don’t Scare Your Children

Have you discussed climate change with your kids? Perhaps you should, as climate change has an effect on more than just the world’s weather and economy; it also affects children’s healthy psychological growth and has sparked an increase in eco-anxiety. Here are some suggestions for you if you want to talk to your kids about climate change.

Children become anxious about the environment when they hear or see how climate change is causing natural disasters, food shortages, and human misery all over the world. They experience loss, helplessness, anxiety, and despair as a result of it, believing that the world is ending and that there is nothing they can do to stop it.

Find out what your child already knows about the subject before telling them the truth if you see that they are concerned about climate change or if they ask you questions about it.

While acknowledging that “human activity greatly impacts the climate,” Ilan Kelman, Professor of Disasters and Health at University College London, adds that “neither climate nor climate change can be, or may create a disaster.” Apocalyptic views of global warming, such as that we will run out of food in X years or that the Planet will be completely destroyed in Y decades, can only increase your child’s dread and anxiety.

Ziv Cohen, M.D., is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical College. He provides care to those who are experiencing sadness and anxiety related to the environment as a result of climate change. He advises parents to refrain from upsetting their children too much. Dr. Cohen warns against instilling worry in children. “We want to foster in them a sense of accountability.” Reframing the debate is one approach to achieve this. Children need to understand that the Earth is vulnerable and that there are things we can do to keep it in good condition.

By Parcsen Loke, Family Life Coach, Centre for Fathering.

Chat With Your Child: What does your child already know about climate change? What misconceptions you need to correct so as to reduce your child’s anxiety level?