Conversations about the big things

The other day my nine-year-old walked in the door, put down her school bag, looked at me and asked “is all of this flooding our fault Mum?”

I knew it was a significant parenting moment. One where I couldn’t just rattle off some half-arsed answer as I continued to wash the dishes.
While I feel like I navigated the conversation ok, it got me thinking… Climate Change is such a big deal, and as its impacts become more visceral and real in our everyday lives, how the hell do we talk to our kids about it?

So I went to my friend Bex (aka Rebecca Lee Health Psychologist who has done heaps of work with families and children) and asked her to give me three top tips on ‘how to talk to kids about big important stuff like climate change”. You can listen to the full chat Bex and I had below, or read on for the summary of the top tips.

#1 Be open to questions or hearing worries: We want our kids to come to us with the big stuff! Encourage discussion, share in concern, validate feelings
“Yeah, climate change is a pretty big deal mate. I feel upset and worry about it too

#2 Understand it ourselves: You don’t have to have answers to all the questions, but you can help build a story and a mindset with facts
“What a great question! I am not sure I know the answer to that but let’s write it down and do some research”

#3 Work together on meaningful action: Empower our kids to engage positively with the environment and to know their actions count.
“Do you have any ideas of changes we can make as a whānau to help look after our environment?”

I gave this approach a whirl with my daughter and it was so damn helpful. I loved the way creating a meaningful action together gave us something tangible and positive to focus on and keep the conversation going.


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