Fear wreaks havoc on a child’s psyche. Just ask one! To be so small and vulnerable, it takes courage to be a kid in today’s big, dangerous world. The funny thing is, adults spend a lot of telling kids “there’s nothing to be afraid of;” for the most part, that is true. However, handling fear, whether real or imagined, requires some practice. As a parent or children’s ministry leader, it pays to know what kids are the most afraid of.
1. The dark:
It’s a common fear but no less real. A fear of darkness often shrouds the real fear, like the fear of being alone or the fear of monsters. You’ll have to explain and demonstrate to children that there is nothing in the darkness that isn’t there in the light. Night lights and flashlights often empower kids to overcome fear of darkness. 2. What’s under the bed:
Kids believe in monsters, even if they’ve never seen a scary movie or read a scary book. Telling kids there are/were never any monsters isn’t entirely truthful. Remember Leviathan and Behehmoth? What about Goliath? Share this verse, “You can go to bed without fear, you will lie down and sleep soundly.” Proverbs 3:24 NLT 3. Parents getting a divorce:
This is a real fear and sadly, it really happens. Remind kids that they can trust God, no matter what happens. A good verse to share is John 14:1, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” 4. Getting lost or left behind:
Perhaps you can relate to this fear. Your parents take you to a mall or large department store and you get lost or left behind. Help kids understand that no matter where they go, God is with them. “For I am the Lord your God who holds your right hand and who says to you, do not be afraid. I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13 NLT). Remember this movie?
5. Public embarrassment:
Humiliating a child into submission isn’t merely bad parenting, it’s cruel. Children need to trust that the people they love won’t humiliate them. Teach children this important verse about people and fear. “So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” 6. Not fitting in:
Kids have dual needs that might at first appear as if they are polar opposites—the need to fit in and the need to be an individual. The first day of school, the first time in a youth group—those all come with a fear of not fitting in. Once again, remind kids of Psalm 56:11, “I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” 7. Speaking in public:
That first oral book report is a doozy! Help children gain confidence by encouraging them to practice talking to themselves in a mirror. We think Psalm 131:24 is great for instilling courage too! “So be strong and courageous, all you who your hope in the Lord!”
October is a great time of the year to teach kids about not being afraid. We have produced several Children's Ministry curriculum series' that are focused on helping kids overcome their fear. Click on the graphics below to view each of these series':