Would Your Children Survive On Their Own?

pic of childWe’ve all read about the street children in Argentina after the economic collapse there, who wander the streets begging, stealing and scrounging through trash to survive. 

Many were forced into child labour and prostitution.  Some by their own parents that could not support them or worse exploiting them for their own gain. In many ways children  suffer most after a disaster.

In the aftermath of the 7.0 Earthquake  that shook Haiti on Tuesday, 12 January 2010 many children become parent-less. We seen the same thing happen to children in Sri Lanka after the tsunami on Sunday, December 26, 2004.

Many more examples of orphaned children after disaster could be presented here, but let’s get to the point.

There is a distinct possibility that something could happen to you during or after a disaster leaving your children or grandchildren on their own. Could they survive. Have you done anything to increase their chances? 

Could your children survive on their own after a major disaster or teotwawki event? What would they do if you were no longer there to care for and protect them? Could they make it on their own – would they know what to do?

This is one of those things parents don’t want to think about, but not thinking about it won’t lessen the possibility.

Most kids today have few survival skills or an interest in such things, most kids are more interested in playing video games or when the latest teen celebrity is getting released from rehab.

If you can get them interested and motivated you have already won over half the battle.

How you do this will depend on the child, but most will respond best if you make it a game, in other words do your best to make it fun. Don’t go screaming at them that the world is going to end, or that you could die leaving them orphaned and on their own. This is especially true when dealing with younger children.

Make it fun and use it as an opportunity to spend time together. Teach, them to fish, hunt, trap, shoot, use tools, build a fire, grind grain, garden, cook etc. The important thing is to make it fun and don’t stress them out by being pushy or militaristic when teaching.

Books and videos can help your children learn some needed skill, and give you an idea of what to teach them and how to go about doing it. I suggest, “Willy Whitefeather’s Outdoor Survival Handbook for Kids” and “The American Boy’s Handy Book“, and don’t forget to teach other skills such as gardeninghunting and staying safe.

A few months ago, I wrote this post “How Cross-Dressing Makes You a Better Survivalist” where I stressed the need to cross gender lines when learning survival skills. The same thing applies when teaching your children. Don’t just teach boys the “guy stuff” or the girls  “girlie stuff” both should have a well-rounded and complementary skill set.

Even disciplined and well-trained children would be at great risk of being harmed or exploited without the guidance and protection of a loving adult. Having an arrangement with a relative or friend to take care of your children, if something were to happen to you is important,  but not always possible.

Many will decline, not wanting the responsibility or make a promise to do so that they never intend to keep.

If you are lucky enough to find someone ready to take on the responsibility of caring for your children in case of such an unfortunate event, the next thing you have to consider is their capabilities.

Let’s face it, many people aren’t ready or capable of taking care of themselves or their own children after a disaster. How can they be expected to take care of yours. Can they do it? If not it’s best to keep looking until you find someone who can.

Whoever you choose be sure your children get to know and trust them. Spend time with them, hang out, go camping or whatever both families enjoy doing, this will give them time to get to know each other. The last thing you want is a frightened child shooting the stranger who is coming to help them.

Depending on the circumstances, it is probably best if your children stay put or move to a close and predetermined location and wait for the adult to come to them, instead of going out on their own. This should be understood in advance. Be sure your children know what to do ahead of time.

This is one of the most difficult survival situations to contend with and unfortunately, there are no easy answers. I wish I could give you a guaranteed way of keeping your children safe after such an unfortunate event, but I can’t. There are to many variables,  most of which we have no control over.

All you can do is teach them the best you can, make arrangements for their care and pray that God will protect them.

What have you done to prepare your children if you are no longer able to care for and protect them?

IMAGE BY: Oakley Originals

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Wow what a great post. This is something I had not put much thought into. It is making me rethink my plan and include some more family time with my brother and sister in attendance. My kids are very close with them already but I think this next camping trip I will atleast have my brother go too. Very good article. One that really makes you think. Keep up the good work.

  2. I dont have any kids(that I know of;) but I teach my neices and nephews. Also, we live so far in the country that camping hunting and fishing and things like that are pretty much the norm, so even the ones that havnt been taught it as survival, have pretty good foundations anyway. Some of them have been taught survival, weapons craft, bush craft, martial arts and a few other things we wont get into. We are very active, anything fun and adventurous to keep us busy.

  3. Now that my kids are in their late teens and will soon be on their own they are capable of having their own BOB. But it actually goes beyond “things”, doesn’t it? They can have all the goodies in the world and it won’t help them if they lack the knowledge on how to use those things.

    Camping is a great way to get started as it involves many useful skills such as hiking, navigating, fishing, fire making, outdoor cooking, etc. It can also be a gentle way of getting us out of our comfort zones (away from television, running water, clean toilets, air conditioning, etc) and challenging ourselves to become comfortable and knowledgeable with nature. In my own opinion, a great service has been given to a child when they can camp and have fun despite cool weather, rain, insect bites, and eerie noises in the night.

  4. GoneWithTheWind says:

    Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Pick the troop carefully some are “playgrounds” for the kids one night a week and some troops teach/train in their meeting and deploy/campout once a month. Which one do you think will teach your kids to survive.
    Take a Red Cross first aid class with your kids/grandkids.
    Teach your kids to cook!! Boys and girls. Could your 13 year old son/daughter make bread today?
    Teach you kids how to make a safe campfire and how to cook on one.
    Do you have a dutch oven (the kind with legs) and do you use them when you are camping? Our troop cooked a lot of meals in dutch ovens.
    Winter camping. Our troop had the boys dig their snow caves/trenches and sleep in them.
    Martial arts; good for self defense, good for conditioning and good for mental preparedness.
    Teach your kid cheap eats on the road; we go into a supermarket and pig out on $1 each. Concentrate on bulk foods. It is amazing but $0.10 worth of bulk rice is a meal (you have to cook it of course).
    Always dress for the weather even if you are in a car, it’s a long walk home.

    • Gone with the Wind – Right on target with picking your Scout unit carefully. I am a Scoutmaster of a small yet active troop in the BSA and we are more into traditional scouting – not the politically correct socialist eco babble that is working it’s takeover of the movement. We call the indoor -bound units “parlor scouts”. Our meetings are outside most of the year and we don’t earn badges just to check the box. Our boys have to show mastery of the skill before being signed off. Too many Eagle Scouts now could not even begin to use a compass or build a decent fire. We are going against the grain. And yes – inside I have always seen my role as a Scout Leader as a sort of prepping trainer – .though I don’t openly say that to most parents. Duh the motto is ‘Be Prepared’. As a Boy Scout, my Scout Fieldbook was with me constantly (not the Handbook). It’s really where I started my personal survivalist adventure. I had my first BOB at age 12 and I shocked the crap out of my Emergency Preparedness merit badge instructor when he saw my disaster kit. In some ways I was more organized back then than I am now – less “clutter” in my life and definitely more focused.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        As your scouts get older, keep in mind that there is another option in scouting. The High Adventure or “Venturing Crew”. This is a coed organization that allows young men and women ages 14-21 to do things that Boy Scouts (and especially Girl Scouts) don’t or can’t normally do. The activities are somewhat regional, for example a crew in a coastal community may be involved in sailing. Here locally, one of my fellow NRA instructors runs a crew that is strictly shooting sports. This can include handguns and muzzle loading which generally isn’t available in boy scouts and shooting in general which isn’t part of the Girl Scout organization. I’ve worked with my friends’ crew of young adults, and they are some of the most safety conscious, honorable kids you’ll ever meet.

  5. Great post on an important topic that I haven’t seen covered anywhere else. Keep up the great work this blog is number one.

  6. Teenageprepper says:

    What can I say, your posistion is admirable. But if your child is in boy scouts than they know alot already. Swimming, camping, hiking, cooking, knots, shooting, orientiering. Before I left the boy scouts this is what I learned. Many of teh boys in my school are the same, and most of them aren’t exactly kind of heart. It will be my peers with the knowlage that I have that I will fear most dureing the apocalypse. But your concerns are well founded. The best advise I can give you is to teach your kid to be a good person, and get them in a scouting troop.

    • Teenageprepper,

      I think you would be interested in this post “Be Prepared”: Scouting as a Prepardness Training Tool.

    • TeenagePrepper –
      I gotta say, I just love it when you post! It is well-grounded young people like YOU who give me hope for this great country of ours. Eyes wide open; action over words! I hope your parents realize what a great kid they’ve raised 😉

      • Teenageprepper says:

        I wish I could agree with you and say that I’m a great guy, but a couple years ago my family used to move around alot, so in an effort to quickly make friends I met alot of bad influences. I used to do anything if someone had the “nerve” to say that I couldn’t. My so called “friends” and I got into alot of trouble, ie: smoking dope, drinking, and being a little too interested in our female peers… The first year I spent in Spokane was interesting, to say the least, and the cops around my school still keep an eye on me and my NEW friends. But I’m proud to say that those days are behind me. I met Jesus in a church that I didn’t want to be in at the time and I arranged to have myself re-baptized. Not everything is going to be O.K. though, and I’m ashamed of how many people I hurt and effected negativly. But I’m only 16 so I’ve got plenty of time to make up for it. Sorry to ramble but every time I get a compliment like yours it goes strait to my head and I have to remind myself what I once was…

        • Teenageprepper says:

          Almost forgot, It’s not me in the photo but I am flattered. No my hair is a little scraglier so I’d need a hair-cut and I would need to get a better work out every day to get in better condition before you could compare me to him. thanks though:)

  7. Once again a great post. You seem to be on a roll M.D. yours is the best survival blog by far. Time to get my girls in gear learning survival skills.

  8. I have been teaching my 5 girls from day one. They work along side of me what ever I am doing from cooking, cleaning, canning to helping at a funeral dinner. My goal has always been to teach them how to be productive adults. None of them have ever had any trouble getting jobs because people see their work ethic and offer jobs to them. I am not saying they are perfect, none of us are but we work towards that goal.

    Only two girls are still at home and I think I have done a good job. I think if I died today they would be fine.

  9. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    I think Teenageprepper is onto something. Probably the best thing you can teach your kids is to be good people. So many of today’s problems would be nearly eliminated if people would raise their kids right. Raise them to stay off drugs, to have respect for others, to do their best, to be honest and to have integrity, and to seek God.

    What I fear most about TEOTWAWKI is the potential for roving gangs of young murderers and thugs. Just as gangs are a real threat in almost every city in America today, they will be the biggest threat in a societal collapse. Remember New Orleans after Katrina? It was the gangs that caused most of the trouble for months after the water receded.

    Raise your kids to be decent and upstanding people, then they will already have the necessary skills to survive because they will know how to work together peacefully and to help others.

    Oh, and an Eddie Eagle course will help, too, because there will always be some kids who have no regard for others.

  10. One thing I notice about the comments is that the parents want to put the training of their children into the hands and responsibility of others like the boy scouts, or NRA instead of taking the responsibility and doing it themselves. That is the trouble with parents today they want to put their kids off on someone else.

    • Matthew H. says:

      Not necessarily. Sometimes its good to have an outside source to “get the ball rolling.” Also, with scouting especially, it may prove to be good encouragement to have a scheduled time/meeting place to practice and learn new skills. We all have a tendency of forgetting things outside of our daily routine.

    • Matt in Oklahoma says:

      I agree to an extent however just because you get them into Scouts or NRA or anything for that matter does not exclude the parent from being involved. They are tools to use when the child gets tired of hearing the perents head rattle. I have my daughter in golf which I proudly can say I know nothing of, however I attend all the tournaments and I sit myself in the truck and watch from a distance during practices. My responsibility as a “parent” REQUIRES my involvement. Now I know what she was taught, know nothing bad happened to her and we have discussion material on the ride home. Scott W is dead on in that PARENTING (espescially as a survivalist/prepper ) is not a dropoff event like daycare.

    • Lake Lili says:

      Scott – I think that most of us parents with young children view programs offered by Boy Scouts and the NRA as tools to reinforce what we are teaching at home – in the same way that we use Sunday School as a means of reinforcing our faith. I acknowledge your frustration with parents who do not mentor, guide or take an active role in the direction their children go in life, but using programs to support what you are teaching is not abrogating responsibility it is simply making good use of available resources.

    • Scott, It is a parent’s responsibility – you are right, but not every parent is skileld and experienced in self relaince. As a past Cubmaster (6 years), current Scoutmaster , NRA rifle Instructor, and the list goes on, I am always looking for “others” to train my boys. My training (as ‘fun’ as I might make it) does not have the same effect coming from ‘Dad’ as it might from a trusted highly qualified good teacher. As a boy, I learned a heck of alot from my Dad, but very little of it was intentional training. I got that from “other people’s Dads” in Scouts, 4H, sports, shooting camp etc. Although I have a trainer role, as a Dad I just try to make camping, hunting and other stuff just plain fun. I like to challenge them instead of “instruct” all the time.

  11. Great post M.D.

    • Richard Muszynski says:

      Greetings. have to agree. you seem to be on a really good track lately. with the nuclear plant question and this one as well. one thing i would note though is if you are a adult the boy scouts you were in are not the boy scouts of today. Here in Maine they are going toward the boy scouts of Germany in world war 2 model, They were called the Hitler Youth. simply to teach young boys how to live in the outdoors in the military. we even have a group called Young Marines that teach young children to be Marines as soon as they are old enough to enlist. they would arrive already indoctrinated to be cannon fodder, just like the Hitler youth were. Teach your own children. if you don’t know how to do something then learn how to and teach. teach them what they actually need to know and not the propaganda. in the Marines we were taught a whole lot of totally useless information like how to polish brass and shine shoes and march around in pretty formations and salute everyone who was superior to you. Go in combat and such things get you killed. so teach them what is actually important and leave the indoctrination to those unlucky enough to be snared into the services. and most certainly teaching them to be good and trust in God will not help them to survive at all. God is usually busy, just ask the survivors of Haiti how much help they got from belief.

      • Teenageprepper says:

        Are you sure? I was in a couple years ago, but could it have changed that much in so little time? Mabey it’s just in your area but if it isn’t please let me know.

  12. YEs, Scouts and NRA are both great training tools. A lot of people would be miffed if they new what we were discussing here. This is the method used by white supremecists in the 80s and 90s and now by street gangs and the black panthers currently. They send thier kids into the military to get sepcial training(EOD, Special Forces, weapons etc) and then they return home to teach thier own people. I think the scouts is a great place to learn survival skills. I have two nephews that are Eagle Scouts. The NRA training is a lil harder to find sometimes, but it is good training I was a certified pistol instructor until this fall, I let it lapse for lack of use.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      Unfortunately in general, but fortunately for you, NRA Training is a little lax in their treatment of instructors who have gone dormant so to speak. I’ve known of instructors who dropped their credentials for a year or more and then contacted NRA Training and were able to re-certify. Just something to keep in mind if you should change your mind.

      • Just because their credentials expire does not mean they have lost their skills. I was a master train the trainer in the U.S. Army for six years and I still know how to set battle sight zero and do dime/washer training for proper trigger squeeze.

  13. OhioPrepper says:

    I guess no matter how old the kids get you’re still concerned. My 2 stepsons are in their 40’s and have both the work ethic and skill that would help them get by. They’re both within a few hours and if the manure ever seriously hit the impeller, would load up the 3 B’s in their trucks & head here. The oldest is an engineer with a penchant for nearly as many firearms as I, and the youngest is a former USMC trained Sniper who currently works as a retail grocery store manager. He’s the one that gives me heads up on rising food prices, and is very aware of keeping food on hand.
    My little girl is in college, and has been shooting since she was 5. A few Christmases ago she received a Gerber Firestorm in her stocking, and went out back on Christmas day to try it out & build a fire. She’s been around prepping and firearms since she was born and you’d be amazed at what sinks in when you’re not watching. During her junior year in high school, a teacher (English composition IIRC) gave the class a writing assignment. What would you take with you to survive two weeks in the woods alone? Her female peers wrote about generators to run the TV and hair dryer, while most of her male peers wanted guns, knives, and MREs. She produced the definitive wilderness survival kit, including some feminine hygiene products. The teacher left those products off of the list and read it to the class, asking them to guess whose essay had been read. No one could even guess. The interesting thing to me was that nearly all of the boys in the class had taken my Hunter Education class, where we covered this subject matter, including building a fire with glint & steel in the classroom.
    I was both proud and amazed. I think the best way to teach hard work, honesty, or even preparedness, is simply to demonstrate it as part of your life style. Kids will learn amazing things when we show them what’s important.

    • Richard Muszynski says:

      Greetings. do as i do is always the best way. never the do as i say and not as i actually do. that doesn’t work at all.

  14. Scott, it may not be that parents are shirking their responsibilities, but that we have been indoctrinated as a society to believe we are not ‘good enough’ to teach our own children. You and I know that is not true. So, how do we enable the others to have the confidence, to believe, that they too can teach their children the life skills to make it in the world come what may.

  15. Tigerlily says:

    MD, Thank you so much for answering my question. I also read through everybody’s comments and I’m slightly comforted to see that I am not the only one with this concern. My son has been in scouts since he was 5 (currently 13), but I still don’t feel like he has the knowledge he would need to make it on his own. We do go camping a lot, so I think he could build a fire and cook on it, but I really fear for his long term survival possibilities. I don’t think he could plant, care for, and harvest a garden, and I’m sure he couldn’t can the food if he did manage to harvest some. I’m also sure that he couldn’t care for and milk a cow, let alone butcher it when the time came. I feel like I have tons of work to do. We have plans in place and he knows where he is supposed to meet us if we were to somehow get separated, but if I never show up to meet him there, I hate to think what he would go through on his own.

  16. Sheri (Indiana) says:

    I’ve been teaching my 2 boys to take care of themselves since they were little. They are 18 & 20 now and I have no doubt they could make it if they had to. Both have been cooking since pre-teen years and doing other things that most kids don’t do now a days. The one thing I taught early on is to respect others, but never allow anyone to control them. I believe that lesson came when the first overbearing girlfriend came into the picture. My sons have never been afraid of the dark, scary movies or anything that most little kids are afraid of. Self defense comes natural and both own guns and are very comfortable with them. Prepping has become common topic and they are in agreement with every aspect. I know this is no guarantee but it’s a good base to start with. It takes talking in a subtle way that they understand it is a very possible scenario and it’s better to be prepared than not. Starting young is good.

  17. irishdutchuncle says:

    after the world (as we’ve known it) ends, i doubt the insurance companies will be in a position to pay our survivors. our prep activities and materials need to be in place as “plan B”. we need to model self sufficiency for our children. that is even more important than talking about it.

    the foster care system will likely be in shambles as well. (it would be wise to specify in our wills, whom we would prefer to care for our minor children) orphanages will make a huge comeback, out of necessity. (do your children even really know their aunts and uncles?)

    forty years ago the scouts were a fine institution. i’m glad my parents were able to give me that experience. (and i hope my poor old scout master knows, he was a positive influence in my life) (sorry i was so much trouble, Mr. D) scouting and church are the two places outside the home, where children can be taught to be, and can be expected to be: “Morally Straight”. (phoebophiles, and pedaphiles have always been there, though only they and their victims were aware of it)

  18. My son 11,is part of a church group that is like boy scouts. He shoots shotgun compatitions with 4-h shooting sports. He hunts deer,hogs,duck and squirrl and can dress them. He helps me process all our meat. And is quite helpful in the garden.He’s been researching tanning hides recently. I guess thats our new project.His “go bag” is comparable to mine without the handgun.However he is quite good with a handgun. When you grow up camping,hunting,and fishing as second nature, it’s just part of ya.
    Get em off the streets,and on the creeks…..

    • Richard Muszynski says:

      greetings. you certainly are leading them in the right direction. too bad the children in the cities will never get a chance to do those things with the fear indoctrination propaganda being practiced now against firearms and self sufficent lifestyles. note the constant increase in government laws against the same. against herbs and self medication. against firearms and knowing how to use them. against hunting, unless it is humans you are hunting, they are all for that. Genocide in action. has always confused me how we can be against firearms, but so hot for war to send our children into without the life long training that would be such a help to them in the service. know how to hunt and it is much harder for someone else to hunt you.

  19. I have tried to install into my kids a mindset of self sufficiency and awareness with mixed results. Every parent has seen the deer in the headlight look or the classic eye roll and sometimes they think I am the second coming of chicken little , but I continue to chip away. My eight year old grandson is all boy and he is keen of being able to camp and learn survival techniques. Son in law is slowly coming around, I think this last economic snafu has altered his belief of it ‘never happening to me’ idiom. My two daughters think I have more than one screw loose and anything I say goes in one ear and out the other , although both are now fascinated by guns, so i feel I am getting through somewhat . Every generation of young people always feel bulletproof and invincible, it is always the long road and wear and tear of time that brings everyone to the realization of the limitations we all have. Only thing I can offer is to lead by example and have solid core beliefs and never get knocked off the ol pedestal kids place you upon.

  20. Interestingly enough, I have spoken to a few people around this topic. They happen to live in NJ where I live, and each of them are teaching their kids how to trap small game, start fires, shoot, use a knife for various tasks, procure and make water drinkable, etc. Each of them knows that if they are not around, they want their kids to be self reliant. Each of them have told me stories about how they put a fire pit in their back yards, and go outside in the back yard and work with their kids. Keep in mind we are very “suburban” here. Every county in NJ is considered a metropolitan area because of the population level.

    I commend the parents for taking this position. Most parents I know worry about themselves thinking they are the ones that will be able to handle any situation, and this is simply not so, as noted in your post mentioning the prior earthquakes…

  21. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    I don’t know how they will fare. It won’t be for lack of effort on my part and based on the best discussion I have ever had with my teen daughter this week on what would we do if the birds fell out of the sky and the fish died in our area I believe I am on the right track. I was blown away on what she said on the matter and the fact that she brought the convesation up to begin with and that it was a topic among her and her friends at school. One of friends told her that she would “just follow her becuse she knew my daughter would know what to do”. Thats crazy they are 16 and one is viewed as capable by a sheeple already.
    My son is now a man and he is of the mindset and becoming more so as he begins to see things going on around him.
    Awesome post!

  22. Richard Muszynski says:

    Greetings. on the cross dressing theme. unfortunate title. it draws in my minds eye a male dressed in a dress trying to be a female. but that is not what the article said. I am a former, if there is such a thing, Marine, and when i was in one was expected to do more then be simply a rifleman. we had to know how to do the duties of the others in our group. know how to be a machine gunner, a spotter, a radio operator, and to take over the next highest ranks duties in case they got wasted. same with the submarines. they had to be able to fill in for anyone else on the sub in case of need. the more you know the more valuable you are, not only to others in your group but to yourself as well. I am a 68 year old male who spent years as a hermit in the woods. learned to cook, to preserve food, to make do. built a log cabin with a tomahawk and a double bit ax and learned to sew and make many of my own clothes. never felt any of it was womans work. if i had that opinion i would have starved to death long ago. up here the common way of expressing this would be “You have to be able to wear many hats” be able to step into someone elses life and do what they did. it doesn’t hurt not to be loaded with testosterone and manly. the mountain men didn’t have that problem, neither should you now. learn to do as much as you possibly can and teach others to do so as well. there is so much to learn and so few places to learn how. we are now a very weak nation that has been regulated to hell and every year less capable of survival without big brother. Note in New Orleans the people stayed on their roof tops after the levee broke and waited for help that took a long time to come. they did not realize they could get the hell out of where they were even if they would have had to take out the mercenaries that the leaders had sent in to keep them sitting on their roofs and drinking polluted river water. old saying. It was time to “get the hell out of Dodge” and they didn’t. Best not be like that. You can do so much more then you think you are capable of and that people keep telling you that you are not capable of doing. Want to and you can. as they said in the Rocky movies. to be a champ you have to really want to.

  23. I often say that I’ve been in this game for 40 years, but when I look back over my life, I realize it has been many more years than that. I started as a Cub Scout when I was 7 years old. That’s when I learned how to start a fire without matches, read about the basics of first aid and other survival skills, and did a lot of other things that became the basis for my survival skills. To us 7 year-olds it was exciting to learn how the Native Americans did things and to learn how to take care of ourselves. Rather than thinking that we were being forced to do something “for our own good”, we had the feeling that we were enjoying a certain degree of independence from out parents. It was my first lesson in survival as a child – and it was a lot of fun.

  24. axelsteve says:

    Well my kids are grown men now. My youngest will be 21 in may 5 th and my oldest will be 23 next weekend. They both shoot and camp.I started buying them guns a few years ago and they have friends with handguns and bigger long arms. I bought them both 22 rifles and my younger has a mosin nagant carbine.Model44? They both can cook and work on there cars.I just need to start teaching them fieldcraft. I also need to teach them on how to dress game which means that I need to learn how myself ha ha.Anyway my kids are a good start I just need to work with them. Steve

  25. Wow! what a great post MD.. You hit a big button with me. I find myself wanting to comment to every comment. As a Scout Leader focusing on traditional scoutcraft, I just want to offer a few tips and resources for readers interested in “training” their children – but in a fun way hoepfully.
    1) Obtain OLDER Scout handbooks and fieldbooks for your boys and girls. They have the right skillsets and information. Don’t buy anything from the early 70’s or after the 90’s. Only new book worth anything is the 9th edition handbook started in 79 and used until the mid 80’s. The fieldbook from the same era is still good too.
    2) Go to public domain (Archive.org) to get really old scans of campcraft books for boys. There is some good stuff there and it’s a bit fun to read.
    3) Old Boy’s Life magazines 50’s and 60’s and the old Patrol Leader’s Handbook (1969 and older) have great articles (with detailed instructions) on homemade gear and how to plan outings.
    4) Get them into making and using their own selfmade gear before buying a lot of stuff. Example, ease them into using a tarp tent on a campout where you have your own regular tent as a back-up plan.
    5) Use the backyard.. You really don’t have to go far into the woods to practice.
    One of my favorite “training sessions” was when we tried some Mountain House dehydrated meals in the backyard for lunch one day. The boys were 4 and 8 and we boiled the water on the backpacking stove and tried the lasagna. When Mom gets home, she asks what we had for lunch.. And the boys go wild yelling “we made lasagana with Daddy!!” We still break out an MRE or dehydrated meal once in a while just for fun.
    Thanks MD

  26. Personal assessment of my kids my 4 year old son would be fine on his own and his baby sister could handle herself with assistance from him. My oldest being so picky and so dependent I am afraid would not beable to make it on her own. I am working on self confidence and soft preps with her and her siblings.

  27. Kids are still little. My oldest is five. Right now we’re exposing them to our lifestyle and teaching them a little at a time. It’s a little nerve-wracking not being able to teach them too much more.

    They take care of each other and are slowly picking up the basics.

    They see us can and dry food, go shopping with us, come with me to the garage to tinker. We took them to the LDS cannery with us. Once the youngest is out of diapers we’re moving on to camping. Next year the oldest gets signed up for the first stages of Girl Scouts.

    They’ll be good to take care of themselves when they’re older, but at this age? Maybe enough to get help, maybe get food from the fridge and cupboards, maybe stay clean, but that’s finite. In a full scale disaster they wouldn’t be okay for very long.

  28. SrvivlSally says:

    For the next generation of children of all ages, “parents, start out right and do not buy a television, video games, television for the kid’s rooms, nor anything electronic” (you are too poor to buy the batteries or you just cannot afford the electricity that it takes to run their machines) that way maybe you will be able to get through to your children, return them to a down-to-earth state and save them from some unnecessary troubles if a scenario of their being totally on their own ever comes. Nice article, really hits home. It’s good you’re thinking on the children and what they’re going to do when nobody but them is at home. One of the best movies I have ever seen is “Home Alone” with McCauley Culkin. It was amazing what one young boy could come up with to defend his home and how ingenious he was when it came to taking care of himself. Not quite like a true survival situation but, in my opinion, close enough.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      I don’t think having a television is a bad thing, although not in the child’s room. There are a ton of educational offerings, and current events programming. As for video games, I simply didn’t buy them and really didn’t get much complaint; however, this was with a daughter, since the step sons are older and were mostly pre-video game. NOT having these gadgets IMHO is a crutch, simpler to the discussion of having someone else raise your kids. The most important thing to remember in all of this is that you are the parent, not the friend or the buddy. In the end you set the rules and may have to put up with the whining. Keep in mind that you must also follow the rules. I told all of my kids that I value their input on any subject, but that they should never mistake the family unit as a democracy. They’ve all three turned out rather well, despite TV & Public schooling, but that is another whole discussion.

      • Lake Lili says:

        Education is perhaps an completely seperate discussion but having mentioned it, I have to say that if you can do it homeschooling is the way to go, especially in our area where the dropout rate for boys is 60% after grade 10. At five, my son is looking at the stars and discussing galaxies. The five year old down the road is learning to spell “star”. My son is learning addition and subtraction through our kindergarten curriculum but our school board feels that grade one is when it should start being taught… another good reason for HS is that we are finishing up the kindergarten math next week and are free to start grade one math the week after. This is the same PBS Dinosaur Train addict that can be found in most households but HSing means we can turn it into a lesson – every moment becomes teachable. But HSing is not for everyone – the time commitment alone makes it hard for some not to mention the days where its just a bit too much “parent-kid(s)” time.

        I know that there are other HSing families out there – I’ll put a note over on the meeting page if anyone wants to share – I always appreciate suggestions/ideas/discussions on the topic and how to combine it with prepping.

  29. I haven’t read the comments on this thread so forgive me if I repeat something previously said.

    I was reading a wire service piece in our local paper today about how parents have given up on trying to get their kids to dress for cold weather. Apparently kids now days go to school in shorts, tee-shirts and sneakers now in the winter. It showed kids playing in the snow in light weight shorts and tee-shirts with no gloves, hats, etc.

    Now it’s nice that kids have it so good these days they can have the luxury of sleeping in a warm house, riding in a warm car or bus and learning in a warm school room. That makes it really easy for them to “chill out” as the article said during recess or for brief play periods, but tell me, what is going to happen to these kids if tshtf in the middle of a winter day while they are at school or in the school bus or at the mall?

    The parents interviewed for the article said they had to choose their battles with their kids and at the end of the day it really didn’t matter much what they wore. ……. OH REALLY???

    What have we let this country/world become? I don’t remember many battles with my dad. I knew what I was supposed to do and what would happen if I didn’t. NO he wasn’t mean and he didn’t beat me or anything but I knew if liver was served and I didn’t like liver then I just wouldn’t eat. I knew if I went out without my coat and got cold that whining about wanting to go home didn’t matter. I’d made my choice I had to live with it.

    Oh well enough rambling.

  30. Looks like I need to go digging through my old foot locker and find my SERE training manual I picked up in the Army. Too bad I didn’t get t go to the actual course. That and the basic training handbook we all were issued. There is a lot of great info in those. A little lean on tropical survival though. But for those of you in N. America; a great resource.

  31. One question here. When do you think it is appropriate to even bring up an issue like this with a little one? Modern teaching says it is the job of a parent to make the child feel safe (sometimes they forget that the child should also actually BE safe). But, it seems wrong to talk to a five or six year old asking them how they would take care of themselves if mommy and daddy aren’t around. At twelve I think it seems like an interesting discussion. Where does that split come in for you?

    • Foolie,

      From the post:

      “How you do this will depend on the child, but most will respond best if you make it a game, in other words do your best to make it fun. Don’t go screaming at them that the world is going to end, or that you could die leaving them orphaned and on their own. This is especially true when dealing with younger children.

      Make it fun and use it as an opportunity to spend time together. Teach, them to fish, hunt, trap, shoot, use tools, build a fire, grind grain, garden, cook etc. The important thing is to make it fun and don’t stress them out by being pushy or militaristic when teaching.”

      • Rev.Chance says:

        As a young Grampa, I really agree with teaching children in a way that is fun and friendly. The mind is a great tool but knowing and doing are two different things. My grandkids helped me build and feed a fire in the pit tonight. It is my obligation to pass information and lessons forward.

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!