Q&A with Geoff: How do I deal with my ‘prepper’ parents who think I’m unprepared?Jan 06, 2022
My parents are what I would describe as “preppers.” They spend inordinate amounts of time researching, experimenting and even building survival gear. They spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on preparedness.
They mainly associate with other like-minded preppers and spend hours talking about how to dispose of human waste, how to cook food storage, how to set up camp when we’re “called out,” what vehicles are necessary to own, et cetera.
I’m a mother with my own family, who believes my parents are extremists. I believe they look beyond the mark. I believe in preparing for the uncertainty of the future, especially in the middle of a pandemic. I believe it’s important to gradually build reserves of food and water, build financial reserves and, most importantly, prepare spiritually.
The leaders of my church have counseled us not to go to extremes.
How do you deal with family members who treat anyone who believes they’ve gone down the road of fanaticism, as ill-prepared, foolish or spiritually inferior?
Even though we all get to choose the kind of life we want to live, it becomes difficult when others, especially our own family members, are openly critical of our choices. While there may be areas of agreement in your relationship with your parents, the areas of disagreement have become wedges that sabotage unity. Thankfully, you can choose to have peace as you respond to your parents.
You have a responsibility to sort through the competing ideas about how to best prepare for the future. No one, including your family, can decide for you what strategy is going to work best for you. Recognize that it’s hard to not be thrown off by someone else’s confidence in their plan, especially when those people are your own parents.
We are wired to care what our parents think. It’s built into our survival reflexes and those don’t automatically disappear with time. You can certainly consider their input, but, ultimately, you’ll want to embrace your own conclusions about how to best protect yourself and your own family. As you do this, you’ll be able to better tolerate any undue pressure from your parents.
Your parents are getting answers that work for them. Remember that their answers don’t have to work for you. They sound like they’re deeply connected to their purpose and community. You also can feel deep purpose and connection as you continue your own preparations. You and your parents are spiritual people and are seeking answers from God about how to best prepare for the future.
Thankfully, you can find great unity in seeking direction from spiritual sources even while our individual answers have some variance. As you get personalized spiritual direction, you will need to tolerate a certain level of differentiation from each other. None of us are the same, so how could our individual spiritual answers be carbon copies?
Healthy families are based on connection, but they’re also based on a certain level of separateness. Too much closeness can be smothering and enmeshed. Too much distance can leave us isolated and disengaged from important supports. It’s challenging to find that balance of connection and separation, but it’s a healthy tension that allows us to thrive both individually and as families.
Your confidence in the answers you’ve received for yourself and your family will make it easier to respond to your parent’s assertions that they know what’s best for you. You can share your appreciation their concern for your safety and well-being. You can also let them know that you are receiving direction for your life and don’t need them to manage your life.
If they are intrusive about their opinions on how you’re living your life, you can respond with directness and clarity. You will grow emotionally and spiritually as you learn how to respond in loving, confident and healthy ways to your parents.
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