Helping Kids Deal with Fear

12 12 2012

Hurricane Sandy

    Hurricane Sandy

The shooting in an Oregon mall yesterday may have scared your child. How can we help children deal with fear? Especially when we don’t understand how it could happen. Especially when our own sense of security is rattled.

I learned a powerful lesson about helping children cope with anxiety while teaching second graders.

One fall, I had a student who sometimes seemed reluctant to go out to recess. The Lord helped me notice a pattern. He resisted going outside only on cloudy days.  To confirm my suspicions, I took him in the hall.

“Are you afraid to go outside?”

His eyes got as big as saucers. With sheer terror written all over his face he reported, “Yes. It’s because one day in after-school care we had to run quickly inside before a huge storm got us!”

That experience gave him a phobia of going outside on a cloudy day.

I reassured him saying, “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. I believe God will take away that fear by Christmas. So, I want you bring in a change of clothes. I’ll also bring in a change of clothes. When you tell me the Lord has removed your fear, we will celebrate by walking together in the rain.”

God honored my words spoken by faith. He removed the boy’s fear. One day—before Christmas—we rejoiced in God’s faithfulness by walking together in the rain.

That same God can remove  your child’s fear. And replace it with His perfect peace.

Kids worry about lots of things. One day, I asked my second graders what they wanted to talk to God about—to say what worries them.  Here were some of their responses:

  • I worry about fire (in my house, at night, etc.)
  • I worry about a burglar or robber breaking into my house (that he might steal me).
  • I’m worried I might break a bone.
  • I worry about noises.
  • I get worried about if someone gets sick. I get scared that they will get so sick that they will die.
  • What I worry about is fires, my mom getting cut, burglars, bullies, sickness that makes people die, heart attacks, guns, noises, and darkness.
  • I am worried that someone might get shot, get stabbed with a sword or just die.  I am so worried about that.  I’m also worried about someone taking me at night time. I’m worried about my family getting hurt like in a fire.  A bad dream is definitely one of the most scariest things of all.
  • I’m worried about people fighting in Iraq like my brother.
  • I’m worried about bullies.
  • I’m worried about my fish dying.  All the other fish died and most of them were babies.
  • I am worried that I will get the spirit of fear.

God honors the Truth we invest in our children. Calm your child’s fears with verses like:

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you.”   Jeremiah 29:12

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Isaiah 26:3

What does your child worry about? How do you calm his/her fears?

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One response

30 01 2013
Enongé M

I thought this post was pretty insightful and a great reminder. Sometimes it is easy to overlook the unspoken emotions of our children. Plus, I agree that, as parent & teachers, it is our job to teach our children and students how to properly cope & deal with their fears.
~Enongé Mallard

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