Identifying and Coping with Drought-Related Stress on your Farm or Ranch
Drought, like other disasters, causes stress in the lives of farmers and ranchers. Drought is an extended event without a single moment of impact. Anxiety and stress build over time and become chronic, making the source less noticeable to ourselves and those around us. Drought may not be viewed as seriously as other events, such as a tornado, because the damage is not as immediate or as visible.
Recognizing the common signs of stress can help families respond in positive ways. In turn this can help empower them to find peace in the midst of the stressful situation rather than the stressful situation slowly taking their happiness, appetite, or any of the many other facets of mental, physical and emotional health. When we proactively face our challenges each day, we will become stronger and better able to face other difficult circumstances that life will inevitably throw our way. By focusing on our strengths and partnering with our community supports, we can take steps to grow ourselves and our families.
Read More to learn what you can do to identify and manage stress as well as sources of community support you can turn to.
Keeping Lines of Communication Open During the Drought
Keep your children in the loop by answering their questions clearly without burdening them with too much information. Enlist their help and creativity in reducing expenses, especially on family activities. Try to make this a positive and rewarding experience by focusing on challenges instead of disappointments.
Read More tips for keeping communication lines open with your family.
Help Your Preschooler Deal with Family Stress and Drought
It’s important to remember that preschoolers know something is wrong but cannot understand the full effects of the drought on the family. Preschoolers need loving reassurance and support. They have little control over their lives and are too young to use adult problem-solving skills to work through situations.
Some of the stressful situations for preschoolers include: adult conversation about the drought; parent stress; and being separated from a parent.
Read More to learn about other stress situations, how you can tell when preschoolers are suffering from stress,and what you can do to help them.
Drought and Children
Parents and caretakers play a vital role in helping children who have been affected by the drought. Children will respond to the stresses brought on by the drought in different ways. They may become upset or cry easily. They may get angry or act out. They may become restless, or have difficulty paying attention. Some children may be quiet and withdrawn.
You can help your children by making sure they understand the disaster. Sometimes young children may think they are responsible for causing a disaster because of something they did. You can explain how tornados, storms and drought happen, and how these are unfortunate, but natural patterns of weather.
Young children sometimes have difficulty understanding complex situations; they can easily exaggerate their normal fear that they may be separated from their parents. Reassure your children about the security of your family and that you will be staying together.
Resources for Assistance
Nebraska Rural Response Hotline
Confidential crisis aid and counseling, including free Farm Clinics with an ag law attorney and ag financial counselor.
More Drought Resources for Families & Youth
- The Human Element: Weathering Tough Times in Drought
- Tips for Identifying and Coping with Stress on Your Farm or Ranch
- Government and Community Resources for Managing Stress
- Keep Lines of Communication Open During the Drought
- Stress and Coping Related to Drought for Rural Families
- Signs of Heat Disorders and What to Do When They Occur
- Be Smart and Stay Hydrated to Beat the Heat
- Extreme Heat Information on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Families, Children, and Youth
- Building Family Strengths in Times of Drought
- Understanding the Impact of Disasters on Children and Youth
- How You Can Help your Preschooler Deal with Family Stress and Drought
- Children as Victims of Natural Disasters
- Farmers' Children Feel the Same Stress that Farm Owners Face in Droughts
- Drought Information for Kids — from National Drought Mitigation Center
- UNL Early Child Development — Information for parents, early childhood professionals, teachers and communities
Family Financial Management