Positive Parenting: Climate change fears for kids

 

We've heard a lot in the last few years about natural disasters, wicked weather extremes, and climate change. There is widespread acceptance that climate change poses a critical threat to our future. How much of an impact does the changing environment have on children?

From scorching heat to snowstorms in June; how much of a global impact is climate change having?

Ann Sanson, PhD, is an internationally-known developmental psychologist. She says previous research shows children who are exposed to sudden, extreme weather- like hurricanes or wildfires can experience PTSD, depression, anxiety, and learning problems. But long-range environmental changes, like drought, hit hard, too.

"They might be living through a drought with their family and have to be very careful with water or if they are in farms they have to sell their animals," Sanson told Ivanhoe.

Sanson said parents should talk in age-appropriate ways about climate change and show support for those teens who choose to take action or participate in activities to protect the planet.

"Helping children do something to address climate change is actually really good for their psychological well-being," said Sanson.

Social scientists say with young children, it's important for parents to create opportunities to enjoy time outside in nature, so they foster an appreciation for the environment. As children age, they begin to understand how human actions impact climate change.