Fear is a powerful force that we all have to deal with.
As a parent, it is especially challenging when we see our children struggling with fear.
We want to push an “easy button” and turn off the fear however, we can’t control our child’s thoughts, so we can’t control their fears.
We have to teach our kids to control their own thoughts of fear and that is anything but easy.
In times of real danger you may have to deal with your own fears.
One of the most fearful times in my life was when my 17-year old son ran away.
We had been arguing about the ‘house rules” for several months.
I would make statements like, “If you want to live in our house, you have to go by the rules.”
One day he took me up on my challenge and left home.
For two weeks we didn’t know where he was.
Every night before bed, fear gripped my heart.
I would get images of him in all kinds of trouble.
I felt like a failure as a parent.
The hardest part was the feeling of helplessness.
I loved my son and would do anything for him, but I was powerless to help.
The bottom line was that I came to the end of myself and had to totally trust God to take care of my son.
One day my heavenly Father said to me, “Your son is my son too. You may not know where he is, but I do and I will never leave him. You can trust me to take care of him.”
That statement gave me the faith to get through one of the hardest times in my life.
Here are four steps for helping kids deal with fear:
- Think happy thoughts. Fear is a product of what you are thinking about. Here is something inspiring that Fred Rogers said in his book:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
Mr. Rogers is telling us to stop thinking about the bad people and think about the good people. I know this is incredibly simplistic but it works and it’s Biblical (Phil 4:8)
- Turn off the news, especially around your kids. Limit how much negative thoughts you put in your own mind and be mindful of news reports on the radio and T.V. when you kids are around.
- Find a scripture to say when fearful thoughts come your way. This is the scripture I have been saying for the past three days. “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.” 2 Corinthians 4:8 (NLT)
A good scripture for kids is “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4 (KJV)
- Do it Afraid. This is really hard. You may be asking your kids to do something and they may be telling you that they don’t want to do it. Your emotions tell you let them off the hook. Let your kids know that fear is something that you deal with too and sometimes you just have to ignore it.
- It’s not wrong to feel fear, but it is wrong to let fear control your decision-making. Sometimes we just have to do it afraid and trust God to take care of our kids.