Doctor Love: Desperate Mom

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

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Dear Doctor Love,
I am really worried about my fourteen-year-old daughters’ reaction to this uproar about climate change. She has always been sensitive and her focus on various ideals can border on obsessive, but she is making herself sick over this issue. She is very well read on the movement with that Swedish girl and when I try to calm her down, she argues with me and says I don’t care and am uneducated on the topic.
I want to help her, but I don’t know how. If I try to reassure her or tell her she is over-reacting, she fires back with all this stuff about global warming, melting Artic ice and habitat loss.
How do I make my little girl feel safe and secure and hopeful for her future?
/s/ Desperate Mom

Dear Mom,
First and foremost, don’t brush her fears off as foolish. Reassuring an over-anxious teenager is hard enough without her thinking she isn’t being taken seriously. These fears are real and serious to her, so it’s time you listen to her. Don’t argue or try to show her another point of view, just hear her out and let her trust you to help her.
Once you know the main focus of her fear, try to find ways she can make changes in her own environment. Ask her how you can help and participate as a family. Perhaps make an effort to use less environmentally damaging items—buy cloth bags for shopping, don’t buy single use bottled water and so on.
Find out if there are groups in your area who are taking an active role in addressing the issues that make her so anxious. Help her channel her “worrying energy” into positive actions that can make a difference.
She can organize or take part in beach clean-ups. Being outdoors would be a good way for her to get out of her head and it’s something you can do with her as a fun bonding activity.
If she wants to reduce her carbon footprint, eat low on the food chain. Livestock contribute greatly to greenhouse gasses, so go meatless two or three times a week.
She could plant a garden and help others by donating the excess vegetables to needy families in the community. Instead of using an electric dryer, she can line-dry her clothes. Oh, and unplug those devices—phones and tablets, when not in use. Use low energy light bulbs. Turn down the water heater and install a low flow shower head.
Research this together and she will love you all the more for your support and strength.

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