The other day, my daughter freaked out during one-on-one with her teacher (which I was watching via messenger kids because nobody talks to my kids without me present). She had been given a goal for her work and some assignments she needed to make up, and there it was: her smile faded, her eyebrows furrowed, and the color faded from her face. Tears were welling up in her eyes and I could hear in her voice she was ready to cry. She completely shut down and wasn’t herself. After her one-on-one was over, she ran to the bathroom to get tissue.
While she was away, I was reminded of something my pastor said in a sermon recently: as parents, we have to take our kids’ emotions, sort them out, then hand them back, organized and able to be handled. I realized I had an opportunity to put that great advice into practice.
God Bless the Children:
Our kids are going through a lot right now, aren’t they? The world is in fear, schools are shutdown, normal life has become a bit of a mess. With everything going on in society right now, our kids are in turmoil. They’re frustrated, depressed in some cases, overwhelmed, and uncertain. Anything can send them over the edge. They aren’t able to handle crisis well yet (how many adults do you know who are?), so we need to teach them to dissect their emotions and deal with them. We need to empower them to know they control their emotions, not the other way around.
Back to Reality:
My daughter came back to the table, still visibly overwhelmed, so I asked her to tell me what she was feeling. “Frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed, sad, and worried,” she said. I first explained that these are all feelings we all have in times where we feel out of control, but that they can be handled if we take them one by one. I asked her to explain what was making her frustrated, then annoyed, and pretty much everything boiled down to two or three major issues (major to her, not to me, and certainly not to God). I shared some Bible verses with her, then presented a few options she could choose for solutions to the issues she presented.
Almost immediately, the color came back to her face, she lit up, and I was even able to get a smile out of her. She was able to get her work done and have a good rest of the day. Four big points to use from this little lesson today are below.
Four Things You Can Do as a Parent:
- Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Teach your kids the Bible. Make sure you know it so when times get tough or you recognize a problem arising in your child, you can quickly find a verse to encourage them. It really can make all the difference. Remember the Word is living and active, a double-edged sword which can cut through even the most difficult emotions. If you’re not sure of a Bible verse, pray together and ask God to show you in His Word how you can be encouraged in this time of trouble. Then look in the glossary or Google (we use Duck, Duck, Go for a search engine) to find encouraging Bible verses. This can be very helpful and can instill faith in your child that God has the answer. He always does!
- Talk through the emotions. Don’t baby them. Tell your child that what they are feeling is not uncommon, but can be overcome. Ask the right questions: What emotions can you identify? What brought those emotions on, or what is causing you to feel that way? How can I help? With boys, you may have better luck keeping it short, simple, and practical, brass tacks, less emphasis on feelings. With girls, more talking and explaining, feelings talk, etc. Every child is different, so find out what works best for yours. And if you get the glazed over looks, you’ve gone on too long (happens to me a lot). You’ll find what is the best method for each of your children as you deal with these emotional times, and you’ll be amazed at how God made us to be so unique, with such varying personalities. What a creative God!
- Come up with solutions together. They need to be able to see this process and duplicate it later. It comes down to the idea of ‘give a man a fish’ or ‘teach him to fish’… You can give a hug and say it’s going to be okay, or tell them to walk it off, but if they don’t know how to navigate these emotions, they will overtake your child at some point. They must learn to deal with them rightly. Write down the solutions or implement them right away, and remind your child of those solutions when things get hard. P.S. Hug your child. Often. Tell them they are loved and that you’re there for them any time. You’ll never regret these moments.
- Be a Good Example of Positivity. I realized even this week that I’ve sowed negativity. My daughter woke up this morning and said, “Great. It’s Monday.” I quietly repented of teaching her this mentality and pattern. I decided also to start each day with positivity and gratefulness. My answer to her was, “This is the day that the Lord has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I explained that our attitude can change everything. We can choose to assume Monday will be terrible and watch how our self-fulfilling prophecy unfolds before us, or we can say, “I’m not going to let myself think today will be terrible because of it’s name or it’s history. ” God is good. His plan for each day is good. We should align with that as parents and teach our kids through our example that every day can be a great day no matter what it looks like.You’ll be surprised the change you see in your kids when you yourself choose to be positive each day. I challenge you to wake up every day this week and be grateful for all you have been given by God. How good a Father He is.
Counseling/Outside Help May Be Required – Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help:
Sometimes, these situations turn out to be more than “just” emotions. In some cases, your child might need more professional assistance, or an outside voice you both trust to help get through hard times. If there is an underlying issue that needs to be resolved, it can be helpful to have your Pastor provide counseling, or a therapist, or psychologist. I recommend for Christians to go to Christian counsel, not secular, because secular helpers tend to have a different worldview and counseling technique. This isn’t always helpful for a Christian. Been there, done that. Too much emphasis on remaining the victim and not dealing with responsibility. Not a Biblical approach. Just be prayerful about who you go to in any situation.
Not Only for the Kids…
These tips are great for adults, too. I get overwhelmed easily and should really take my own advice (and will have a copy of this nearby so I can re-read it for myself). In any situation, God wants to help you through it. He is closer than a brother, near to the brokenhearted, at your right hand that you should not be troubled, is a Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, and a very present help in times of trouble. Look to Him for guidance in all things. When you’re overwhelmed, pray. Find what you can be grateful for and thank Him that He has given you so much. Praise Him that He sees the outcome of the problem and how you get to the answer. Remember, He’s a good Shepherd who leads you beside quiet waters and restores your soul. Don’t forget He is the God who sees. He is our provider, protector, and a good Father. Share that with your kids. Make sure they know the One who made them can see them through any circumstance. And remember:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”Philippians 4:13
Be blessed and encouraged. <><