We’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 labor and prostitution. Some of their own parents that could not support them or worse exploiting them for their own gain. In many ways, children suffer most from a disaster.
In the aftermath of the 7.0 Earthquake that shook Haiti on Tuesday, 12 January 2010 many children become parent-less. We have 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 a 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 gardening, hunting and staying safe.
Awhile back, 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 too 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?
Recommended Reading and Resources
- Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival
- Ultimate Explorer Guide for Kids
- Realistic Self-Defense
- Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Knife with Fire Starter