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How to Help Your Child Overcome Fear

How to Help Your Child Overcome Fear

We all face fears, don’t we? Today I welcome my friend, Sandra Bretschneider, to The Better Mom to share how we can model a Biblical way to help our children overcome their fears. -XO, Ruth

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A typical night of bedtime routines was quickly thrown off course with an unsettling outburst from one of my daughters. “I don't want to go to bed!” she yelled. With arms folded, she stood with her feet firmly planted in place. Something wasn't right though. Her outburst was completely out of character. Going with my intuition, I gently asked her, “Why not?” “Because,” she began, “Because of something scary.”

Wanting to understand a bit more, I invited her to sit next to me. Then, I listened. I didn't dismiss her emotions. Rather, I empathized with them because the Lord knows the weight of fears I'm continually battling in my own life.

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We all face fear. Little hearts are no exception. Their fears are just as real as ours. How will our children know how to overcome fear if we do not teach them? We must model a Biblical way to help them overcome fear for now and later on. God's Word provides all the guidance we need.

Guard their eyes.

Psalm 101:3a says, “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. . .” First of all, we must model how to guard against evil by monitoring what our children are exposed to. If they are old enough, we can explain the rationale for making our decision. We won't be able to control everything they are exposed to, but we can make some God-honoring strides in the right direction.

Direct their mind to Christ.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” The way out of fear is Jesus. Look back at the verse. When our minds are on him, he keeps us in perfect peace. Jesus is our peace, (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

In order for children to keep their mind on Christ during moments of fear, they must first understand who he is. Cultivate growth in this area by teaching them several characteristics of him. While reading Bible stories, ask them questions, such as, “What does this story reveal about who God is?” Model appropriate responses. For example, while reading the story about the Israelites, say, “God led the Israelites, and he leads us too. God also kept his promise to the Israelites. He is faithful.” Then, ask them if they can come up with more attributes.

In moments of fear, read Isaiah 26:3 or summarize it in your own words. You can say something like, “In Isaiah 26:3, it says that God will keep us in perfect peace when our minds are on him. We learn about God when we read Bible stories. Let's think about who he is. God is faithful, loving, good, and strong. Can you think of any more characteristics?” Also, help them remember times when God demonstrated specific characteristics to them in the past.

Pray with them.

Philippians 4:6 says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” We must teach our children how to pray in fearful situations. Model how to pray by saying something like, “Lord, it says in your Word that you keep us in perfect peace when our minds are on you. Remind us of who you are as we spend some time thinking of you. You are faithful, Lord. You always keep your promises. You are loving and good. Please take away all fears. Bless us with your peace.”

Jesus conquers all fears.

The night my daughter was afraid, I sat down and summarized Isaiah 26:3 in my own words. Then, I opened a Bible storybook and briefly scanned a few pages to help her recall some attributes she's learned. Finally, we prayed together, and I gave her an opportunity to pray on her own. At the end of our time together, she made no mention of her fear. By God's grace, it was completely conquered by peace that night. Jesus instilled his perfect peace within her because her mind was redirected to him.

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Sandra Bretschneider enjoys pursuing outdoor adventures with her husband of twelve years. Everyday she lives out the blessed life as "Mommy" to her three daughters and also works per diem as a speech-language pathologist. She founded the online ministry, He Gently Leads You, which aims to equip moms with Bible studies. Her passion is to to encourage women to spend consistent time in God's Word. When she's not writing in her spare time, you can find her in the kitchen baking or out on a long run. Connect with her at www.hegentlyleadsyou.com and on facebook.com/hegentlyleadsyou.

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