When it comes to family members supporting preps, I feel like I’ve heard it all. At one end, you’ve got the prepper families where each individual takes prepping seriously, and each member of the family works together toward the end goal of being more prepared. At the other end, you have individuals whose families really don’t get prepping and ostracize them, making them feel like the black sheep of the family just because they don’t understand. For these people, I’ve penned a couple articles in the past: My Spouse Doesn’t Like Me Prepping: What Can I Do? & How to Have the Prepper Talk With Your Family.
Then you have all the in betweens: the father whose family puts up with his prepping so long as he doesn’t try to involve them, the mother whose stockpile is perfectly fine in her family’s eyes, but who can’t get her family to take prepping more seriously no matter how much she tries, the individual who’s hiding his preps from all his family and friends, because he just finds life easier that way.
I’m wondering where on this “spectrum” you and your family fit, and if you’re happy about it or whether you’d prefer things to have been differently. As for me…
Legacy Freeze-Dried Emergency Food Bucket – LegacyFoodStorage.com / eBay
Luckily, I’m with Thomas, and while he’s always been into the survival aspect of things, he’s gotten more and more into prepping and preparedness after being with me. I think the fact that we each like to concentrate on different aspects of survival makes us stronger as a prepper couple, but all in all, I couldn’t be happier about the fact that Thomas does see a point in prepping and actively supports me with preparedness endeavours. I know a lot of people whose spouses are not supportive, and while I would still prep if I happened to fit in this group, I wouldn’t be as happy about it as I am being in this lucky camp of preppers.
As for my extended family: my mom’s side gets it on some level. They’ve always been the food stockpile type; my grandmother has had a generator in case of electricity outages before, and my mother would’ve essentially been an extreme couponer if we lived in the States (can’t really do that kind of thing in Canada). This side of my family, while they aren’t technically preppers and never have been, does understand the importance of being prepared at a fundamental level, especially for short term emergencies and for weathering financially difficult periods in life, which is what spurred me to write an article way back entitled, “Are You Only a Prepper If You Call Yourself One?.” I feel like they’ve got the heart of prepping in their lifestyle, even if they aren’t going to agree that they’re preppers if you ask them outright, and they would never bother to prep to the extent that most “real” preppers would like to.
That being said, this side of my family would not see me as crazy for trying to be prepared. Just a little strange for wanting to be so prepared. A month or two’s worth of food, they get. A few years, they think is extreme, but not completely insane.
The other side of my extended family is another story. I’ve never spoken to any of them about prepping and never would care to, but I do believe if I did they’d think I was nuts. They’re not the type to deem any of it important, and I’m not looking to create converts out of them.
As for the one family member who actually lives in close proximity to us here in the UK, Thomas’ grandmother, she’s not a prepper either. Though we will talk to her about our preps (we’re certainly not hiding anything) we’re not trying to make a convert out of her, and in case you’re wondering, yes, if there should happen to be any kind of emergency, she is welcome to “come over” and wait it out with us. I absolutely do not mind taking on extra prepping on her behalf.
She is the type who doesn’t really get prepping, but doesn’t try to convince us it’s crazy or a waste of time either. I don’t think she thinks prepping is completely unreasonable, but I get the vibe she considers it unnecessary, because it’s unlikely anything of the sort we’re prepping for will take place. Fine by me! I’m 100% happy with this, as unlike many preppers who hate the whole, “If there’s an emergency, I’ll just come over to you” attitude many non-prepper family members have, so long as the non-preppers are willing to give a little (i.e. at least house a bug out bag or some other stuff I give them in their house for me), and as long as I care about that person enough, I don’t mind: they can come over, why not. I’d rather have you come over than leave you to fend for yourself and fret/worry over it later, and I don’t mind prepping for extra people if I can take that responsibility on. I’m prepping anyway, just add more of the same.
Now it’s your turn to let me know about how your family dynamic works around prepping:
Are your family members currently supportive of your prepping? Have they always felt this way? Have they changed over time? Which direction have they gone in?
Do you wish your family was more supportive of your preparedness? If yes, what type of relationship would you be happy with?
Is indifference to prepping okay as long as you’re not ostracized or actively looked down upon? Would you rather your whole family be preppers or do you not mind too much either way? What about your nuclear family versus your extended family?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
I read David’s comment of December 29, 2017. I became a single parent when my son was 7. I had him study and become licensed radio operator. He put his radio and survival pack in the principal’s closet. He trained as well. When we had a multi-day riot and the city was closed down, he had an escape/survival plan in place and used it.
You just accept that your relatives believe you are nuts and carry on.
Thomas Xavier says
Haha, great sentiment BDC & one I agree with fully. Glad your son was alright (any further insights that we can learn from?).
Love your site.
Im a 50 yo single father. I have a 12 yo and two grown ….My family all look at my lifestyle as an amusement and as long as they came just filter into my house then they are fine with it. I don’t think that will happen, My relatives are like most I reckon, money better spent on the latest gadget or meal out is more important than insuring their children or loved one safety or health. My life changed the day that the “plane to Hawaii” was launched out of the water off the coast of California and it took norad three days to tell us it was “a plane ”
Yeah , of course it was.
It took months of reading and investigation to notice that this threat was pointed at my family for years and I didn’t know it. Talk about failure as a father. I focus on EMP as worst case because a wise SOF trainer of mine told me that “if you prepare for the worst then all the rest is easier” Makes sense to me.
After years of reading…I read the entire Congress EMP report…whew. EMP is in games ,movies , books, tv shows, news reports , and all manner of discussion online.
I tried my best to raise awareness and finally succumbed to the realization that people don’t want their little world shaken, much less rocked. There is enough info out there that if not exposed to it now then they don’t want to know….. I don’t accuse. THese people have been conditioned and to do otherwise would open them to the scoffs and jokes that we as preppers endure…that being said anyone outside my little group, after the event will need to show skills and or knowledge.
Thomas Xavier says
Ignorance is bliss mate, as long as you do the best you can to protect yourself and whats yours- thats the real end goal. Everything else is just bonus so don’t sweat trying to convert people who just don’t acknowledge risk in their lives.
DW tolerates what I have done and simply shakes her head when I “tell her” that we have enough food for a month if all the kids/grandkids show up. Since she has bad knees she rarely goes to the basement I have a bit more than that and what she doesn’t know wont hurt me.
Also put in a 10 x 10′ patio using pavers which she likes. Little does she know that the patio gives me 200′ of cement blocks for inside if necessary. I try to do what I can to duel purpose purchases and it seems to be working so far.
Elise Xavier says
“What she doesn’t know wont hurt me” Haha. Love that!
As long as all you get is a shake of a head and tolerance, I’d say that’s not a bad response at all in my books ;)
Dual purpose purchases are really ideal in situations like this. A coal barbeque “for the family to enjoy,” a fireplace in a detached garage “to have a cozy man cave to spend time in in the winter..” Tonnes of ways to make preps look like they were bought for solely entertainment purposes. Well, besides the food stockpile that is.
Kent McManigal says
My family looks on it about the same way they view my anarchism/libertarianism/Voluntaryism/abolitionism: a bit odd, but harmless. The times I have been able to help with the minor inconveniences which make up most of what preps get used for, they are grateful. But they still tease me a little. Strangely, even my first ex-wife says she’d try to make it to me if there were ever a TEOTWAWKI event (not sure how she’s make the 700 mile trip in such circumstances, but she’s welcome to try, and I’ll share if she gets here).
But my daughter and I are my primary concern. As long as we are OK, I’ll share what I can. But not if it’s going to put us at substantial risk.
Elise Xavier says
Sounds pretty reasonable to me. I’ve never minded people like that (who are okay with what you do, but make light of it with jokes because they don’t really get it on the same level). Definitely feel you on the whole as long as I have enough for my immediate family, a few others can jump in if there’s enough to share.
Several years ago, I had my first moving violation is over 20 years, so I went to Traffic School. The instructor asked each student to describe what they carried in his car for an emergency. Of course, I said nothing. The lack of preparations of even a coat/pair of shoes/jug of water was simply amazing. I live in Los Angeles with the public service messages of keeping a three day (now upped to 7 day) supply of food and water on hand. Yet, the surveys indicate less than a couple of days worth, max. This is why when there was the Boston Bombers and the curfew, I laughed. Sure enough, most people didn’t have even a day’s worth of food on hand – so it was lifted after a few hours.
Elise Xavier says
Wow that must’ve been very interesting to hear! I’m surprised he asked that question to his class actually. I don’t think a lot of traffic school instructors really care about anything besides teaching you how not to get tickets.
I didn’t know that about the curfew! Really interesting, though of course, can’t say I’m even a little surprised.
I only have my wife who knows I prepare for a SHTF experience. She thinks it’s a hobby or phase I’m going through. She actually doesn’t say much to me about it, she takes a neutral stance. I’ve tried to get her more involved but she is of the mindset nothing is going to cause a societal collapse or breakdown so I tend to explain to her we need to be prepared more in the line for a natural disaster as she can relate better to that. I use a 60-90 day time frame for self sufficiency needs for the two of us so she doesn’t get overwhelmed while behind the lines I slowly build up past that time period as I’m able without rocking the boat.
For weeks now I’ve asked her to take a look at her personal BOB I assembled for her. She keeps putting it off and I don’t push it although I’ve made sure she has a quality 72 hour bag except for clothes and shoes she needs to pack in it. I inventory all our preps quarterly just to make sure. The long term food storage presents the same struggle as she figures we probably won’t use any of what I have stored that will last for 20-30 years. When she does go grocery shopping I ask her to pick up extra paper products or canned products with a decent shelf life, not a lot, maybe $20-30 extra a month. That way it doesn’t hurt since retirement we’re on a tight budget. Personally I want to feel confident we can ride out a short to medium disaster.
Deep inside I worry about what happens after 3-6 months if the grid is still down or basic necessities are non available like what is happening in Puerto Rico. I keep bringing up not having electricity for 6 months or more and how would we deal with that? Honestly, not very well.
We wouldn’t be starving or lack water, but other areas we’re lacking in what I consider essential preps such as a gas powered generator and fuel. Maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas if I can figure out a way to make her see it’s a valid need, one of these years!
Elise Xavier says
Well it sounds like you’re in a better boat than a lot of preppers whose spouses outright disapprove of their prepping, and in my opinion it looks like you’re approaching this the right way (i.e. being open and honest about it, and continuing to prep but without creating conflict).
If I were you I’d just specifically ask her for clothes (1 t-shirt, 1 pair of pants, 1 sweater, and 1 pair of shoes) that she no longer cares to wear and stick them in the BOB myself. If she’s putting it off, get the important stuff out of the way without her having to look through the bag and give yourself some peace of mind that it’s done.
Maybe you could “take up gardening” and work on putting together a decent prepper garden that could help you sustain yourself a while longer alongside the food you’ve already stockpiled? And maybe since she won’t really like the stockpiling of fuel, you could try to go a no-electricity route when it comes to prepping like a lot of preppers seem to prefer anyway (since eventually, everyone runs out of fuel). Not sure! It’s tough to say the least, but again, I think you’re doing a great job so far, and it sounds to me like you’ve managed to accomplish quite a lot with very little – so good!
Wes Edwards says
Really good question – Fortunately my two sons are firefighters and therefore support what I am doing and also contributing. We talk about it often and give each other a few tips. Now that my oldest son has children of his own, he is MUCH more involved. Other family members are not nearly as interested and I think that is a general trend. Even with the recent hurricanes, floods, and now fires here in California, it is challenging to keep my family members on board with general emergency supplies. It is frustrating. I gave everyone in my immediate family bug-out bags for their cars a few Christmases ago, and only two of the 7 still have them in their cars. I sometimes get rolling eyes when I remind them (gently) about re-supplying water and food, batteries, etc, but it is very difficult. I have over supplied myself so that I can help them out in time of need. But in terms of communication and transportation links in case of a catastrophe, they are very reluctant to stay on board. Very frustrating and I sometimes think I am “too concerned” when I look at their complacency.
Elise Xavier says
Wow I actually never thought about there being more preppers/more people who valued prepping for disasters in certain careers over others. That’d make for an interesting study, and actually makes perfect sense!
Glad to hear your son got serious about prepping after having children of his own. That’s really great. Guess it takes being responsible for other peoples’ lives for some to get more serious about prepping.
It sounds like you’re trying the best you can. I feel you in terms of over supplying to try to help out as many family members as you can in times of need. I think your concern makes sense: you can’t help but want the ones you love to be safe. I don’t think it’s weird or that it’s something that’s easy to change about yourself; hard to turn off the concern over those you care for, and that does include worry over what will happen to them during an emergency.
Only one of my siblings has the remotest interest in prepping. Talking with family is unavailing. This is also true of the general public. Put aside the hype associated with the most recent hurricanes. People don’t prepare for a number of reasons – the money is better spent on the car payment, the new cell phone, the 50 inch t.v., the rock concert, and the pack of cigarettes.
Apparently, the average American spends about 5 hours a day watching television. Imagine what 5 hours a day watching youtube videos on sewing/sharpening an axe/doing car diagnostics/changing a flat tire/baking bread and/or similar prep items would do!
Survival is a function of equipment/skills/physical and/or mental health. You already know the evaluation of obesity in the country. People don’t generally give a darn about that as well.
Two of my brothers are in the 70 year old range and go to the gym 5 days a week. This makes them extraordinary for that age in their preps.
Elise Xavier says
It’s true, though I’ll be honest, with how draining jobs are (we’re all overworked!) I can see why people want to spend 5 hrs vegging out in front of a TV. Not saying they should, but I do feel it takes a great deal of discipline to go home after a hard day of work and do more work of a different kind. I don’t think most people have that discipline, even if they wanted to prep.
Definitely agree though that most people just don’t care about prepping or see a point to it – or like the fact that it takes away from their entertainment fund essentially. ;) Even during the hype around natural disasters, I still think people do a lot more talking than doing.
Wow to your brothers – that’s damn impressive. They go to the gym more than the majority for all ages combined at that rate. Puts my lack of gym-going to shame!