Facing Fears

Facing Fears

by Charlotte Adelsperger

A horrible highway accident kills a mother and her two children. When third-grader Ashley learns that one of her classmates died in the crash, she runs to her mother’s arms. Her mother holds her a long time but struggles with what to say.

When nightmares haunt Ashley, she wakes her parents who cuddle her and tell her how much they love her. “I’m afraid you will die! Or I will,” Ashley admits.

Children are sometimes afraid of being left alone or hurt in some way. If you don’t carefully monitor your child’s TV viewing, children take in horrid scenes of war, terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Some fear death when a parent is in the military.

Children are also bombarded with news of accidents, murders and fires. Some children will face traumas of their own, such as the death of loved ones or serious illnesses. Though many children are able to work through fear and grief, others can become emotionally paralyzed.

How can I help? is a universal cry of parents in a fear-infested world. The best course of action is to fortify your kids by teaching them how to face their fears.

Help your child know and trust God by keeping Him as the center of your own life. Connect with a strong church, and set an example of taking all situations to God. His eternal perspective sheds light on our worries. The following ideas will also help:

  • Express God’s truth when your child shares a fear, whether realistic or magnified. “People who don’t follow God’s way sometimes do bad things such as killing or stealing. But remember God is with you. He cares for you.”
     
  • Lovingly listen when your child expresses fear. Put your arm around him and pray for him. Let him know you understand and have had similar feelings.
     
  • Explore and plan practical steps to help your child overcome a given fear.
     
  • Teach your child how to pray openly to his heavenly Father. The goal of prayer is to build faith, become wise and alert to life’s situations and walk closely with God.
     
  • Show your child God’s promises from the Bible. Memorize verses together and put them in key places around the house.
     
  • Talk with your family about ways to face fears in God’s strength. Cite examples of Christian people who have overcome tough situations. When troubles come, share how God helps you.

Fourth-grader Jonathan says he often talks with his parents about scary stuff he sees on TV news. His parents respond by limiting his media intake and teaching Jonathan to pray. When asked what he would tell another kid who is afraid, he says, “Let God help you in your life. Constantly ask for His help.”

As parents, you can build a lasting sense of security by helping your child know and love God. Then watch your child develop wisdom and confidence to face fears.

Charlotte Adelsperger, a former teacher, is an author and speaker who encourages families.

Fear-busting Scriptures
• “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5).
• “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23:1).
• “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
• “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
• “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”     (John 14:27).
• “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
• “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way, and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).
• “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you and help you” (Isaiah 41:10).

This article appeared in Focus on the Family magazine.
Copyright © 2005 Focus on the Family.
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