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With Fear After Tragedy
Day to day life provides opportunities to teach children about God.
It's the job of parents to frame the picture of world events, to help
children understand life from God's point of view. Teachable moments
become available in times of crisis. That doesn't mean that you preach
or lecture. It means that you ask questions and carefully share information
that can guide your children to right thinking.
So what do you say? How do you respond to their questions? How can you
draw your children into productive discussions? What kinds of things
can you do that will help your kids during this time?
Here are some things to consider when helping children deal with fear
and questions about world events:
• Be careful about lying to your children
by saying, "It's all
okay." Your children can see that things aren't okay. In fact, this
kind of statement can be counterproductive and cause children to feel
like they can't trust you, further increasing feelings of insecurity.
• Explain that the world isn't out of control and help put these events
into perspective. Pray with your kids about those directly involved in
• God is with us always. We can trust him. His angels protect us. God
loves us and cares for us and he is in charge (Psalm 46).
• Answer your child's questions. Explain the details briefly in clear
terms and then focus on the good that we see in God and in the people
who are helping.
• The solution for fear is to learn to trust. Trust is the ability to
release control to another. Children can learn to trust when they take
small steps of risk and have positive experiences over a period of time.
Gently encourage children to take small risks of separation and then
provide the comfort they need. During that process children need a lot
of parental love, patience, encouragement, and support. Remember, it's
God's presence that helps us through difficult times.
For other suggestions about helping children deal with anger, fear,
and grief, consider the book Parenting
is Heart Work. After all, emotions
reside in the heart, and learning to connect with kids on a heart level
and help them explore emotions in a healthy way.
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