If you volunteer in your child’s school, Church Bible classes or even their extracurricular activities, you have probably realized there are entirely too many children living in crisis. Often, these children will never turn to an adult for help. Instead, they will share their concerns, fears and problems with a peer.
If your children are loving, kind and supportive in their interactions with other kids, they may be the ones to whom these hurting children turn. Unfortunately, no matter how mature and godly your kids may be, they just don’t have the training and life experience to handle this vital task fully.
You can however, teach your kids some important Christian Life Skills that will help them step in and give their peers some hope and direction while facing life’s problems. So what are the skills most children should be able to handle when trying to help a peer? Here are some of my favorites.
Growing up is emotional. Your body is constantly changing. You are learning all sorts of new things – sometimes the hard way. Bad things happen because you live in a fallen world. You often feel like you are never doing things the way everyone else expects you to do them. Your emotions are swirling and confusing. The emotions you are feeling are often so very strong, they surprise and frighten even you.
Unfortunately, all of the emotions caused by life as a child can become overwhelming. As a result, kids are often tempted to act out in not so godly ways. They may say or do things they would normally never even think of saying or doing. They may cause harm to themselves or others. They often lash out at the people who love them the most. Some young people become so tired of the pain and confusion they will try anything – even things they know are harmful – in an attempt to get relief.
The good news is you can help your kids process their emotions, while making godly choices. In fact, even toddlers can often put the lid on tantrums by learning these tricks. (Although they may need your help – especially if they are already in the habit of throwing a tantrum.)
In Are You Accidentally Raising a Victim, I shared why you need to raise kids who don’t see themselves as victims. 10 Signs Your Child Has a Victim Mindset explained how to tell if your kids are beginning to view themselves as victims. Whether your kids already view themselves as victims or you just want to make sure they never see themselves in that light, it’s important to know how to give your kids the tools to survive and even thrive in the face of adversity.
There are a lot of things you can do to help your children become survivors instead of victims. In fact, the Bible is full of stories of people like King David who experienced a lot of really negative things. Have your kids read how David shared his feelings about his adversities in Psalms. Then have them read the stories of how God helped David survive and even thrive in spite of the adversity in his life. If you regularly share these stories with your kids, they will begin to see the pattern of how God still works in the lives of His people.
There are other things you can do to give your kids the tools to avoid developing a victim mindset. In the case of serious trauma, your child may also need help from a mental health professional to process the event in healthy ways. For those with less traumatic negative experiences, here are a few more of my favorite tips for helping kids survive and even thrive.
In Are You Accidentally Raising a Victim, I shared the negative effects a victim mindset can have on your children and the best way to stop it from developing. Unfortunately, your kids may have already started developing a victim mindset – even if they have never experienced a particularly traumatic event. Our society loves convincing all of us we are victims. It’s a great way for others to gain power and money, by promising to “fix” our victim status.
So what are the signs your kids may already think of themselves as victims? Here are some of the most obvious ones.
As your children enter their teen years, you may begin to feel a sense of urgency in your parenting. You only have a few years remaining when you will see your child daily and have hours a day to help build their spiritual foundation. By your child’s senior year of high school, even the most proactive Christian parent can feel a sense of panic. What have you forgotten to teach? What more do you need to say?
There is a way though to create a special gift that will be a subtle (or not so subtle) reminder for your child of the spiritual truths that were so important to you – the ones you pray are also a part of who they are and who they will become. The great thing is you can put your own special touches on it that will also reflect your love for your child and the value you place on your relationship.