Helping Your Child Conquer Fear

Helping Your Child Conquer Fear - Parenting Like Hannah
Photo by Matthew Straubmuller
Last week we were watching Dave Ramsey’s town hall meeting about the economy. My daughter has become a fan of his through his homeschool finance curriculum. At one point, he made a comment that fear is actually the opposite of hope.

Or at least that is what I think I heard, because at that point a huge thunderstorm blew in from the west. The kind where you aren’t sure if it will blow a tree through your house or your roof will get struck by lightening first. The one where even your bravest child starts calling for you and her dad. Of course, the electricity also went out just at the point where the weathermen were about to tell us if it were a tornado heading straight for our house and if Dorothy really just blew by our window.

The entire experience started me thinking about fear. How much of our reluctance to dedicate our children to God is actually from some fear on our part. Fear they will always be poor or murdered by someone on the mission field. (Ever notice how most missionary films end up with someone innocent getting killed?) How many of our fears do we pass on to our children?

What if we could find a way to pass on a legacy of hope instead? A way to teach our child God is in control no matter how out of control things may seem at the time. I think if we could find the secret, we would not only willingly, but enthusiastically dedicate our child to the Lord. More importantly, she would be willing to follow the Lord’s will for her where ever that may take her.

I wish I could say I have the formula that will banish all fear from you and your child for life. Unfortunately, I come from a long line of card carrying worriers and hypochondriacs. I have discovered over the years; however, that there are a few things that seem to help me when I start to feel the fear welling up inside of me.

The first thing I try to do is pray. Sometimes that is all it takes and I can move on without fear. Honestly, many times I will continue to repeat the prayer throughout whatever is worrying me. It is not so much that I haven’t turned it over to God as much as it is that it comforts me to talk to him when I am nervous.

The Psalms are my favorite scriptures when I am scared. I can tell how fearful I am by how many Psalms I read before I start to feel calmer. You may also want to use a thesaurus to look for God’s promises on the subject that worries you.

Distract yourself or your child by helping others. When you are involved in a project for others, it is easy to distract yourself from worrying about your own problems.

Physical exercise is another great way to release some of the stress on your body. Fear programs our bodies to fight or flee. If we just sit there and worry, those responses are not satisfied. Our daughter will take laps around our cul de sac when she is nervous until she calms down. A long walk or bike ride will also help.

Help your child discuss his fears with a godly adult. Hopefully, it will be you. Any godly adult will help steer him to appropriate responses to his fears. Especially when your child is in her teens, you want to surround her with lots of godly adults she can turn to when the inevitable fears of adolescence appear.

If you have other ways you have found to help you face your fears and conquer them, please comment below. If we can find a way to really let perfect love cast out fear, I think that we and our children will be more willing and effective servants to the Lord.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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