The experiences of parents raising children in times of climate change: Towards a caring research agenda

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The nascent research on parenting and climate change has primarily put emphasis on parental responsibilities and provided advice for parents. However, so far, the parental perspective has been minimally studied and how parents themselves experience raising children in climate change times is yet to be explored. This article presents a preliminary understanding of the lived experiences of parents raising children in times of climate change. Following a descriptive phenomenological methodological approach, data was collected through open and conversational interviews with the participation of twelve parents. The findings indicated that parents experience sadness, hopelessness and anxiety about the future of their children. The larger systems that parents are embedded in create limitations to the extent to which and ways through which parents can act. In some instances, their actions contradict what they know or perceive to be the right action. This creates a sense of compromised integrity and gives way to feelings of guilt towards their children. The complex nature of climate change information and the prevailing uncertainty around global political decision-making processes are reflected in the experiences of parents as feelings of insufficiency and disempowerment. Based on the findings of this exploratory research, it is argued that parents need to be cared for in order to be able to become caring parents for their children in times of climate change. In line with this argument, a caring research agenda has been formulated with both discovery-based and interventionist dimensions and a series of research questions have been proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Research in Environmental Sustainability
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • parenting
  • climate change
  • lived experience
  • phenomenology

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