• Pastor DJ Harry

11 Simple Helps for Parenting a Fearful Child


Is your child dominated by fear? Would you classify your son or daughter as a fearful child?  If so, you are not alone in this realm of fearful parenting.  Most statistics show that fears are a normal part of early childhood; if fears are allowed to germinate they can develop into serious obstacles for your growing child!

How are you addressing the fears that surface in your home?  Your reaction and guidance will be the major influence that navigates your child through the troubled waters of fear.  Here are 11 foundational truths that have helped us guiding our children through their fearful times…in countdown fashion!

11. React calmly

Your reactions will either help dissipate or stimulate their fears.  A calming voice and a gentle reaction will go a long way in helping to ease the stress of the fearful times. Plus, reacting calmly also puts you in the driver’s seat!  You are demonstrating that you are not controlled by fear and your are helping them see that they can control their fears as well!

10. Don’t be surprised by fear

Fears seem to surface at the worst times.  Maybe your child has fears that are always present.  Don’t let their fears surprise you!  Children are constantly developing their ability to recognize and discern the world around them…this brings about new experiences and new circumstances that your child has to ‘categorize’ as either ‘safe’ or ‘fearful.’  It is your responsibility to parent them through these changing times and learning experiences.


sources of fear


 9. Ask questions / be a good listener

You don’t know how to help them understand their fears if you don’t take the time to really listen to their heart’s cry.  Ask probing questions.  Ask follow-up questions.  It is likely that the initial fear or superficial issue is really being driven by an underlying fear or uneasiness.

8. Recognize rational and irrational fears


If my son was afraid of heights, I would not tell him to ‘just get over it.’  Why?

fearful children


Because a fear of heights is a rational and natural fear.  Your child should have a natural fear for the injury that could come from climbing up a 90 foot oak tree!  They need to be able to put that fear into perspective…and to do that you need to help them see the difference between rational fears (heights, speed, dangerous locations, drowning, falling) and irrational fears (clowns under the bed, monsters in the closet, the bogey man).

7. Don’t minimize their fears

Irrational fears don’t feel any less ‘fearful’ than real dangers!  While you may guide them differently through those emotions, don’t act as if irrational fears are silly.  Some part of their mind has been convinced that there is a monster under the bed!  Monsters are scary!  To a 4-year-old, that is a real fear.

6. Foster Independence

Studies have shown that ‘overprotective parenting‘ often leads to ‘controlling fears’ in children.  Remember, the goal of parenting is to prepare your child to step out on their own in adulthood.  If everytime a ‘fear’ comes along and you step in to ‘fix it’, you are training your child that you are the only one equipped to handle their fears.  You are teaching them that they are not capable of dealing with their own emotions.  Do you see how over-dependence breeds more fear?

5. Demonstrate Faith

Think of fears that you have faced in the past year.  Have you ever shared with your children how your faith in God helped you through those struggles?  When a family stress is placed on the family, don’t let that fear control you…demonstrate the faith in God that you want your children to have!

4. Pray with them

Dependence on God is nurtured through prayer with God.  Demonstrate prayers of faith!  Claim the promises of God during your prayers.  Don’t pray asking God to do the small things …pray expecting God to do the big things!

Pray with your children


3. Have a big God!

Small gods can handle small problems.  We serve a BIG God!  Does your child know that God’s omnipresence is a comfort?  Do you live in the reality of God’s omnipotence?  Teach your children about men and women in the Scriptures that did big things and faced big fears because they served a big God!

2. Help them see the big picture

Often the smaller fears in life dominate us because we don’t have a proper perspective on why we have fear.  Fear is a God-given emotion that is there to protect us…not to keep us from living life!  Don’t minimize fear but use fear as a teaching opportunity for greater life lessons.

1. Lay the groundwork early in life

If you wait till your child is 18….good luck!  Fear is a tool that Satan wants to use to ‘handcuff’ your children and limit their potential for God.  If God calls your child to be a missionary to a remote jungle in Indonesia, will they be willing to trust in God’s leading or will they be limited by their fear?  The answer to that question will probably be determined by how you trained them early in life!

Fearful Parent…fearful child


Have you considered that your own faith may be the hinderance to your child’s victory over their fear?  Parents, grow your own faith so you can demonstrate victory over fear in your home!

What are some things you have done to help your child through a time of fear?  Please share them below and be a help to others!

In Christ,


DJHarry

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Pastor@needhamsgrovechurch.com

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