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One of the biggest problems preppers have to deal with is the lack of understanding or even opposition towards prepping coming from their own families. I was lucky enough to have my wife and kids’ support from the very beginning, but I hear so many stories of fellow American patriots being considered lunatics and paranoid simply for being passionate survivalists and looking after their family’s future…
If you’re confronting with the same issue or know other preppers who do, here are some things you should consider before trying to win your loved ones over to your team. Remember that a wrong approach might make them turn against preparedness even more and possibly forever, so make sure you’ve analyzed the problem thoroughly and have chosen the right way to approach your spouse and kids.
First, you need to identify the reasons why they’re not supporting you. I’ve made a list with the most common reasons (mostly prejudice that can be easily eliminated by having a good, argumented talk) and :
1. Prepping is for paranoid people
Oh, haven’t you heard this a gazillion times so far? I, personally, am tired of hearing comments about how crazy preppers are and how they all believe a giant meteorite will hit Earth and squish us like bugs.
But when these comments come from the members of your own family, it’s not just annoying. It’s hurtful. And disappointing. It makes you feel misunderstood, mocked and… well, betrayed. Unfortunately, when you feel this way, you tend to act in ways that make it all worse. You tend to defend yourself and what you believe in more and more passionately, which makes them believe they were, indeed, right: you are paranoid and a bit looney.
So instead of trying to convince them prepping is crucial for your family’s future, try an argument that’s more practical from their point of view. You see, people who believe survivalists are conspirative theory freaks like to think of themselves as very practical and down-to-earth. So the best approach is explaining the advantages of prepping in terms such as developing skills and gaining knowledge.
When you’re prepping, you don’t prepare for disasters and crises only, but it’s a good training for living a better, more balanced life, as well. You learn how to manage a budget, how to make a thorough, step-by-step plan that takes into consideration multiple scenarios, you learn how to keep your calm in a stressful situation, you develop your problem-solving and decision-making skills. These are all things you can use in your day to day life, so even if a disaster isn’t going to hit, it’s a good way to develop useful skills and learn something new.
2. Prepping costs too much money
I had this talk with my wife when I started the prepping craze. She was worried we’d spend too much money on supplies, bug-out bags, tools, and weapons. Luckily, I knew this would be one of her major worries, so I had already made a budget plan for the first six months and followed it closely all throughout this period, as I promised her: no more than $40 a month.
In 6 months, our pantry was full and diverse, we each had a DIY bug-out bag and I’d already started implementing some home defense methods that didn’t cost me a dime. I had everything I needed around the house or I got the scraps off a building site right outside town. Needless to say that in less than two months, I had my family on my team, helping me with the weekly survival shopping, with storage and rotation and even with changing door locks or moving furniture around the house.
So if your family opposes to prepping due to “low budget”, I strongly recommend you to make a solid financial plan (as detailed as possible) and then to follow it closely. If you keep your promise and show them you can prepare for disasters and crises with a fixed amount of money per month, you’re going to win their trust and their enthusiasm. If you can’t follow the plan and exceed the budget, however, you’ll just prove them preparedness is as costly as they thought. So stick to your budget.
3. Prepping takes too much time
People have this wrong impression that prepping is everything survivalists do, but you and I both know that’s not true. Whether we have regular 9-to-5 jobs or were unemployed or retired, prepping only takes us a few hours per week. Sure, at first it takes a bit longer until we’re done with the whole survival plan. But afterwards, when we know exactly what we need to do and what we need to buy, it all gets much easier. Routine takes over and prepping become one of your habits, like reading the news in the morning or taking a walk in the afternoon.
Just as I suggested at #2, I think making a timesheet that you can present to your family would be the best way to show them it will not interfere with their program. Plus, the more they get involved, the faster it all gets done and the more time you get to spend together.
If you’ve got young kids, you can make prepping a lot of fun for them, by including them in your activities. You can assign tasks and organize mini-contests, you can let them choose what to participate in or make an Activity Lottery, where no one knows what task they’ll have to do next. No matter what variant you choose, make sure they’re having fun and learning something new and interesting every time.
4. Prepping is just a hobby
When your family sees prepping as your hobby and not a way to secure their own future and well-being, they won’t find any use in getting involved. After all, you don’t go to ballet with your daughter just because she’s into it and you don’t go skateboarding with your son because he thinks it’s cool.
What you’re dealing with here is a lack of knowledge that prevents your family from seeing the big picture. What you can do here is explain them, rationally and in an argumentative manner, exactly why prepping is much more than a hobby and why they should get involved. Don’t get apocalyptic about it, or you’ll lose credibility. Just give them facts, show them what happened to unprepared people in past events and how much difference prepping can make.
Warning: At first, it may be hard for them to assimilate and accept all this info. But after they’ve thought about it for a while, it’s very likely they’ll come to better terms with the idea of prepping and join you. Just give them time and give up.
5. Prepping is absolutely useless
If that’s your family’s opinion about preparedness, then you’ve got a very tricky issue on your hands. Ignorance is a very difficult “illness” and you can’t heal it with arguments and explanations. Usually, when a person is ignorant about a specific matter, he/she doesn’t respond well to rational arguments and tends to have a defensive behaviour.
What I advise you to try if you’re dealing with this sort of attitude is the emotional approach. Ignorance may be blind to technicalities, but you can still melt it if you touch a sensitive chord. Show them powerful images of people who’ve lost everything to disasters, tell them what can happen to them if a disaster happened and caught them unprepared and make sure you give them examples: “Imagine you were at work and your daughter was at home when a flash flood hit. How would you feel if you knew she’s completely helpless, without her mommy, when all hell breaks loose?” Dig into their emotions and make them see what they risk if they don’t prepare.
If this doesn’t work, then I honestly don’t know what could… This should be the last card to play in any of the situations above, in case no other strategy works. I truly hope these methods will make a change in your family’s behaviour and attitude towards preparedness and you can all become an unbreakable team. Times are about to get even rougher and we, survivalists, need all the help we can get. Especially support and unconditional love from our families.
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