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Parents Forum Newsletter | July 15, 2021 Cambridge MA, USA
Helping Children Cope with Climate Change

  Kelsey Hudson, Ph.D., is a child and adolescent clinical
                                          psychologist at the Center for Anxiety and Related
                                                 Disorders at Boston University, Boston MA

 
         Media coverage about climate change and its consequences on children’s physical health has grown exponentially in the past several years. We rarely hear, however, about how climate change impacts children’s mental health. Many children feel anxious, fearful and angry about climate change. Some even feel hopeless because they feel that adults are not listening to children or doing enough to help.

        Parents have a critical role in helping children of all ages cope with climate change. Parents of young children can support meaningful engagement with climate change by spending time in parks, growing herbs, or reusing household items. Parents can also encourage them to express their concerns about the environment through conversation, crafts or family-friendly climate events. Parents of older children can boost resilience and sense of control by encouraging their children to actively combat climate change as students, citizens and consumers.

Here are some specific things you can do:

        First, acknowledge and validate your child’s feelings, then help them think of realistic ways to approach the problem. For example, “There are a lot of things that we can do to help, like recycling and eating less meat.”  

       Second, help them learn about, and build trust in, people -- including other kids -- who are working on solutions. Recognizing others’ pro-environmental behavior can help children develop confidence in their own ability to make a difference. 

        Third, help children turn their growing confidence into action by identifying concrete things they can do now to combat climate change. This could be adopting an environmentally-friendly practice at home or raising awareness about climate change with friends, family members and classmates. 

        Last, we can help children build citizenship and activism skills by showing them how to communicate with influential people like government officials or fossil fuel companies by drawing pictures or writing letters. As in most areas of life, our children are more likely to do as we do, than as we say, so we need to follow the above suggestions ourselves. We can start a conversation by acknowledging our own feelings about climate change and discussing what actions we, as adults, can take – and are taking -- to help meet the many challenges of climate change.
 

         

Notes from the Editor . . . 

      Here is welcome news for parents in the US:
          As of today, July 15, the new Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan Act provides monthly benefits of $250 per child between ages 6-17 and $300 per child under age 6. Find information at
https://www.whitehouse.gov/child-tax-credit/
          The new policy is expected to help cut child poverty in half. This recognition of the cost of raising children and the value of investing in parenting is long overdue. We hope that the American Families Plan will continue so that families and society at large can benefit from it for years to come.
 
The following two announcements, good news for both parents and parenting educators, came to our attention from ECDAN, the Early Childhood Development Action Network:
          A Global Initiative to Support Parents: A Call to Action
https://covidaction.ecdan.org/parenting
and Global Support for Parents: Inter-Agency Vision
https://drive.google.com/file/d/17lAlskZbP2BqDCNhaMdUelDsDZAc3oQC/view
 
Further, our colleagues at the National Parents Union invite members to appear on their Facebook channel
https://www.facebook.com/nationalparentsunion
and on Friday, July 30th at noon Eastern Time, I will be a guest of NPU’s Colleen Cook – live on Zoom – for half an hour. I invite you to mark your calendars and tune in. That date is just before August 1st Respect for Parents Day, which I will be sure to mention, as we all need R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Thank you, Aretha Franklin).
 
In May we invited agencies to license our program and received two strong responses. Starting very soon we will partner with The Confess Project
https://www.theconfessproject.com
in Arkansas and with an agency in Algeria, SARP, to bring our unique ‘brand’ of parent peer support to the parents they each serve. We are excited about both opportunities!
 
As we wrap up our first year of ‘Voices of Parents Forum’ I want to thank Jon Akhmedjonov for his capable help in producing the newsletter each month and Karen Beck, our web developer, for providing images for many issues and keeping the archives up to date. I also owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our board members, advisors and volunteers from around the world who have offered their wisdom and good wishes to all our efforts, and especially to those who have written for this publication.
 
This issue is the first to have a guest contributor, Dr. Kelsey Hudson, and the first to have a letter to the editor. The following, from a friend, and fan of Parents Forum, was received in early June:
          Nice to hear from you and Andericus Jamesa Wagwau today, Eve. I had marked my calendar to help me remember Global Day of Parents, June 1st. Your latest newsletter is timely, of course. Best wishes to you and all your colleagues across the world and to all parents globally…
          Molly Porter, London, England  
Flag of the United Kingdom - Wikipedia
 
Thanks for reading! Please let us hear from you and have your say in an upcoming issue of Voices of Parents Forum.


Eve Sullivan
Founder, Parents Forum 
Cambridge, MA USA 

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This newsletter was edited by Eve Sullivan, Cambridge MA USA,
and produced by Akmaljon ‘Jon’ Akhmedjonov, Istanbul, Turkey.
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