Leading Your Kids Through Difficult Emotions

God has blessed Sara Hall @sarahallph with a unique wisdom or ability to merge spirituality and mental health for the holistic well-being of parents and their children. We are blessed to have her on the Christian Mommas team! Last month, Sara published her second YouVersion reading plan. Many families have been blessed, and we invite you to partake of this blessing as well. I have applied a lot of the things I learned from the reading plan. There is always more to learn.

Be blessed as you read!

Day 5 Preview

Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)

Although anxiety is often considered a negative emotion that we want to completely remove from our lives, it is a normal emotion to experience in our fallen world. Sometimes, anxiety does an important job for us and our kiddos; it helps us anticipate and prepare for future needs. To lead our kids through fear and anxiety, we can use the steps we learned earlier about anger to help them apply Philippians 4:6-9 to their lives.

We help our children:

1. Recognize that they are feeling anxious or fearful

Again, we name our child’s feelings until they do so for themselves and help them explore what they are anxious about. You can clue into your child’s anxiety by studying what they do when they are feeling afraid or anxious. Do they bite their nails? Do they complain of an upset stomach? Do they wake frequently in the night when that is not normal for them? Do they have angry outbursts with siblings? Do they become clingy or whiney? How does your child express their fear and anxiety physically?

You could say to your child, “I’ve noticed that you are biting your nails, and you often do that when you feel afraid. What are you feeling nervous about?”

Or, “When we feel scared of something that might happen in the future, it’s called anxiety. What are you worried might happen at school today?”

2. Use words to express their fear to God and us

When our kiddos start naming their fear and anxiety for themselves we guide them to say why they are feeling nervous both to God and to us.

“Thanks for telling me how you’re feeling. I want to help you, and God does too. How about you take a second to tell God that you feel anxious about starting a new school?”

3. Ask God and us for what they anticipate they will need and thank God for how he has helped them in the past

The next step is to lead our kids to what they might need for the future situation and ask for help from God and us. And also, to thank God for his help like Philippians 4:6 says to do.

“What would help you feel more confident about tomorrow?” If your child says they don’t know, try asking them if they would like suggestions. “Would you like to hear some ideas? You can tell me which ones sound good and which ones don’t sound helpful.” When your child picks an idea or several ideas, you might say, “Great! Now, what do you want to ask me for to help make those things happen? What do you want to ask God for to help make those things happen?” After your child asks you can lead them to the thanking part like this, “Awesome! Now let’s say ‘thank you’ to God for his help and for all the times he has helped you before and for being a God we can trust to help us.”

Try incorporating Psalm 94:19 into your prayer of thanksgiving.

4. Choose to think about positive things if/when the fear and anxiety try to come back

Philippians 4:8 has a list of categories of positive things to choose to think about if the fear and anxiety try to return about a situation we have already dealt with. Help your kiddo plan ahead of time for things to think about that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Maybe your child has a favorite book, movie, or Bible story they could choose to “press play on” in their mind, or the two of you together could find some way to help or serve someone else as a positive distraction. If the anxiety keeps returning, maybe there is more to the fear that has not yet been expressed or another anticipated need that your child wants to ask for help with. Just repeat the process and try again!

These practical steps are how we go about obeying Jesus’ instruction— “do not worry about your life” in Matthew 6:25. And again, modeling these steps for our children is an important part of how they learn to navigate difficult emotions.

http://bible.us/r/7k3

If today was your last day on earth, do you know where you will spend eternity? Are you sure you will make it to heaven? If you are not sure, you need to give your life to Jesus Christ. Please say the prayer below and let me know about it here.

Say this: Heavenly Father,
I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe you exist and you sent Jesus to die for me. I receive your love and forgiveness. Reveal yourself to me. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Amen

Welcome to God’s family!

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Author: Temi Michael-O

Temitope Michael-Olaniran (Fafore) is a wife and #boymom. She is the author of A Christian Mother’s Creed. She created this space to share spiritual experiences of motherhood, provide emotional support to families and develop a virtual community where Christian mothers can share Biblical viewpoints on parenting and other aspects of life.

As a lifelong learner with a passion for mental health, Temi is a PhD student (Infant and Early Childhood Development specializing in Mental Health and Developmental Disorders). She is a Perinatal, Infant, and Early Childhood Mental Health consultant, Certified New Parent Educator, trained Postpartum Doula, and U.S. Army veteran.

Click here to contact Temi

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