When Your Child is Afraid

Fear - Graffiti

My daughter has recently become very fearful.  In parking lots when other cars come near, out in our yard if she hears a noise she doesn’t recognize- it weighs heavy on my heart.

I picked up a book my Mom gave me on parenting that she read as a young Mom-looking for some answers on how to deal with fear in my children, and it lead me to this Psalm.

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.

How do we handle our child’s fears?  What do we do when our children are exposed to violence, evil, crime, a car accident?

What is your first reaction when you see your child injured?  Do you panic with them?  Or do you immediately petition God in prayer on their behalf?

Part of being an example to our children is showing them how to handle fear.  I got a call this weekend that my Dad was having chest pains- he was going to the ER.  At first, I was in shock.  I couldn’t say anything- my husband started praying immediately, and then I prayed- and then we prayed with our daughter.

It was amazing the peace that flooded my soul when I talked to God about my fear.  It was replaced with trust.  It reminded me that God is in control and I can trust Him.

Psalm 34:4: I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

We do not have to live in fear and we can pray that God will give our children peace- that He will protect them from allowing fears to cripple them and keep them from enjoying life.

Phillippians 4:6-7:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We can claim this promise for our children.  Do not be anxious, but pray in every situation and the peace of God will GUARD your hearts and minds- He will guard our children’s hearts and minds.

I want to claim this promise- for God can be with my children when I cannot- to protect them from fear taking hold- to block their ears from hearing things they shouldn’t hear-to protect their eyes from seeing things they should not see.

I believe God can do this- I have seen Him do it in my life.

Many years ago, a man approached me in Walmart.  He had a look about him that sent alarm bells going off in my mind (I was in my early 20s at the time).  He approached me and said something to me and walked away- to this day I have no idea what he said- everything he said was all garbled- I couldn’t understand it.

I have often wondered if God protected me from hearing the evil intent of that man’s words.  There are so many times when we don’t see God’s provision.  The things He protects us from all around us- and I know that there are many who faithfully pray for me- my parents and family.

I have faith that God honors those prayers and protects His children from a variety of evils in this world.

We have the responsibility of creating an environment where our children feel secure and safe.  We should also be sensitive to the television and other media our children are watching and how these things influence them.

What are some ways we can create a secure and safe environment in our home?

  1. We are called to fill our child’s mind with things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praise-worthy (Phil. 4:8-9).  We also need to remember that many times children cannot differentiate between imaginary and reality- and when they see things on television or in video games, they can create very real fears in our children’s minds and hearts.
  2. We are called to guard our child’s heart (Proverbs 4:23); we cannot expect them to know how to do that on their own.
  3. We are also their model for what unconditional love looks like.  1 John 4:18- Do your children know that your love is not based on right behavior or pleasing you- but rather a constant and stable force that they can rely upon?

This is a great segue for teaching them about God’s love- and its constant presence in their life- that His love represents permanent security and peace (Phil 4:7).

***Much of this post is inspired by Barbara Cook’s book How to Raise Good Kids

2614-22 World Bank

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2 Responses to When Your Child is Afraid

  1. Denise says:

    Amen, so true.

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