Helping Your Child Fight Fear
Out of my four kids, my oldest daughter struggles the most being fearful at night. She also struggles with vivid and scary night terrors. Thankfully, they’ve gotten better over the years but when they strike, they’re awful screams that wake my husband and me up at night.
Fear is natural for children as darkness settles in our homes at night. There’s just something about night time that causes our children to worry about the “what if’s” and to gaze their eyes upon the nearest night light. My daughter often asks,
“Mommy, what if someone breaks in at night? I always feel like someone is going to break in. Will robbers come here?”
I confidently say God is watching over her and she’ll be safe. Daddy protects our home. We go over this line of dialogue often. Sometimes I grow frustrated having to tell my girls that daddy and mommy are right above them upstairs.
I also tell her to look at her pink porcelain cross on the wall so she can think about Jesus’ love for her.
I tell my daughter she can think about God and all the good things in heaven. I help her see the differences between God and Satan and the sinful world we live in. I even tell her to think about unicorns, lollipops, loved ones in heaven, and more to get her mind off the darkness that can feel so oppressive.
Obviously, there’s only so much we can do because we can’t make fear go away but we can help remind our kids of truth.
Often like us, what they’re fearing is not reality- it’s made up in their imaginative minds. And as parents, we need reminders too. We’ve lived life long enough to know that the darkness eventually passes and the sun will shine the next morning. But for children, time goes much slower and it feels like fear will last forever.
We can tell our children, “God is with you. Even though you don’t see him. He is here. He watches over you when you sleep. You can always talk to him about how you feel.”
We’re told in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.”
When our children fear, we can remind them of his great love for them personally. How he knows every strand of hair on their head, how he calls them a masterpiece, how he’s aware of every need they have and much more. Perfect love drives out fear, and we can help our children pray:
Jesus, help me not to fear so much. I know your great love for me, just help me to believe it. Help me to know you care about my fears this very minute. Your love gives me peace to overcome my greatest fears.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
As my girls grow older (now 7 and 9), they’re beginning to better trust God is with them in the night hours. When they were 3 and 4, it took more convincing from mom and dad. But over time, I’m confident that as they see more prayer answered and that the sun does shine the next day, their faith will grow stronger.
Throughout life, we’ll help our children fight fear just as we have to as adults. What a gift to work through our fears together and help them through their most vulnerable moments as children. When they’re grown, may they say,
“My dad and mom cared for me, they loved me and helped me fight my greatest battles.”
Like what you read? Read more from Samantha in her book for moms: Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.