How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The Dark

I heard her call out my name…again.  I knew why she was beckoning me…it was the exact same reason she’d cried out every night this week.  She was afraid.  The darkness of night frightened her tender heart.  I quickly went upstairs in order to comfort her and reassure her that she was safe and I was close by.  However, I knew that these truths would be soon forgotten after I left the room again.  A new strategy was necessary.  A new plan.  This is How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The Dark.

Do you have kids who are afraid of the dark? They hate being in their bedrooms alone at night...just in case? I've seen several ideas out there that claim to alleviate this problem, but only one has worked for our family. How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The Dark. Christian parenting.

It seems that all three of my kids have experienced fear of the darkness.  My youngest, though, had it the worst.  In fact, she still walks very quickly to my bed in the middle of the night once in a while.  She is ten;)  PS – I don’t mind her middle of the night snuggles!  I love them! 

Why Are They Afraid?

Before I get into how I helped each of my kids overcome their fear of the dark, I want to discuss why they are afraid.  At least this is what I have found with my kids.

All three of my kids have crazy imaginations.  I’ve asked them to tell me exactly what the are afraid of.  If I don’t know what precisely scares them, then it makes it harder for me to help them.  Sometimes, it was the typical monster in the closet fear or there was something under the bed that will grab them.    

My youngest has the most powerful imagination.  She was afraid of so many things.  Discovering spider crawling on her would be terrifying.  Seeing a bear coming into the house was a scary thought.  A tiger jumping out from under her bed was not enjoyable to think about.  Other times, her dreams were so intense that she would wake up afraid and cry out for me.  For example, one night she dreamt that a bear came out of a small prune plum.  This terrified her (but it was funny and she laughs about it now).  I think that the more intense of an imagination, the more intense the fear and bad dreams will be.  This little girl of mine has been writing a novel with the goal of over 20,000 words…she is ten.  Her imagination is amazing. 

Deal With It

When we know exactly what we are dealing with when it comes to their fear, we can talk about it and reassure much more easily.

My daughter and I discussed the reality of a bear coming out of a plum or breaking into our home.  We discussed where tigers live – after I found out what kind of tiger was in her imagination;).  We talked about spiders when they come into the house and the chance of them crawling on her – and what would happen if one did (nothing).  

Lead Them To Jesus

I didn’t use ‘monster spray’.  I didn’t ‘fight’ monsters out of the closet or from under the bed.  Telling my kids to ‘suck it up’ was not an option.  I didn’t shame them by saying they were being ridiculous.  

How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The DarkSomething that had much more promise of working was what I was aiming for.  

I’ve always discussed spiritual truths with my kids with the expectation that they would understand whatever the Holy Spirit would teach them.  We started with talking about how we can let Jesus be the boss of what we think about.

We started with talking about how we can let Jesus be the boss of what we think about.  We talked about what we ought to think about (Philippians 4:8).  Yes, young children can understand these concepts – just word it differently.  

The Power Of God’s Word

Following this discussion, I introduced scripture verses about not being afraid.  I wrote several on index cards and taped them above the head of their beds.  I told them that when they felt afraid, they can remember these verses (they were simple enough to memorize – or remember the basic idea of the verse).  There was just something about having God’s word covering them at night.  

The finishing touch of our discussion was prayer.  We prayed against bad dreams and asked God for good dreams.  We prayed against fear and asked Jesus to bring comfort and peace.  

Did this solve everything right away?  No.  There were still times of fear, but our kids always knew that we would be there when they needed us.  They weren’t alone in struggling with their fear.  We would be there to help them.  And the biggest reason why this method eventually worked for our kids is because it pointed them to Jesus.  Not a spray bottle.  Not a toy sword.  But Jesus.

I want my kids to place their faith and trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Not pretend ‘monster spray’ or fake monster fighting.   

They started to learn that when they faced troubles, the first thing to do was to turn to their Saviour.

Final Details

There are some extra things you can do to help your child work through their fear.  Get several night lights and place one in their room and in the halls and in the bathroom.  We would have one in our room as well. 

Give them a small flashlight to have beside their beds.  They can turn it on when they feel afraid.  

My kids knew they were always welcome in our bedroom if they were afraid during the night.  We had a mattress on the floor beside our bed.  They would quietly come in during the night and snuggle up near us on the mattress.  This was also helpful when they were sick and when my oldest would get crazy growing pains in the night.   

My youngest preferred to snuggle in bed with me.  She just felt more safe and secure and I was just fine with her in bed with me.  She still comes to my bed at night for cuddles, not because she is scared, but because her love language is touch and she feels very loved and cared for when she snuggles.  

And, well, if I am truly honest…I still don’t like to hang my feet over the edge of my bed.  Did I mention that those with strong imaginations tend to have stronger fears in the dark??

I have made a free printable for you to download and print.  It is a sampling of some of the verses I used with my kids.  Print on either card stock or regular paper. 

Scripture Verses for Kids Facing Fear of Dark

I made these printable scripture verses for my post How I Got My Kids to Not Be Afraid of the Dark.  These are examples of the verses I used for my kids.

Do you have kids who are afraid of the dark?  How did you handle it?  

Do you have kids who are afraid of the dark? They hate being in their bedrooms alone at night...just in case? I've seen several ideas out there that claim to alleviate this problem, but only one has worked for our family. How I Got My Kids To NOT Be Afraid Of The Dark. Christian parenting.

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How To Teach Our Children Obedience

We were eye-to-eye in a struggle of wills…me, the parent and he, the son.  This young man would test my patience…and my grace over the years.  He brought the term “strong-willed child” into my life!  I had not known anything about it before him!  My daughter was the picture perfection of the compliant child.  Teaching her obedience was a dream.  But my son…that was an entirely different story.  I had my work cut out for me.  Some of you…many of you know exactly what I am talking about.  You have a strong-willed child (or children…my 3rd is also of the same sort…**SIGH**) yourself.  And maybe you are here because you need to understand how to teach our children obedience. 

Are you tired of trying to get your kids to obey? Training our children to make right choices is exhausting. We wonder if they will ever get it. In this post, I provide a few tips to help teach obedience to your children.

Photo by liz west “children at play” https://www.flickr.com/photos/53133240@N00/1776265241/

Don’t get me wrong, I love that my youngest 2 are strong-willed.  I have come to embrace this personality trait…and perhaps even see a bit of my own strong will.  In fact, I’ve come to be more comfortable with their strong-will than my oldest’s easy-going compliance.  Interesting, hey?  A lot of that likely comes from my own compliant childhood and how my compliance affected me.     

So, how do we get our children to obey us?      Read More

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When Your Child Says “I Forgot”

We were on our way to church and I notice that he does not have his Bible…again.  I ask my son where it is.  His response has become the standard reply.  “I Forgot”.  I try to not show my extreme frustration as I keep my eyes on the road.  I think to myself, “Will he ever remember these things on his own?  Do I really need to make him carry around a list all day, every day?”  Parenting is just so hard!  That’s why I was relieved to find that Pam Forster of Doorposts addressed this issue on day 9 of her Child Training Bootcamp Bible study.  Here is what I learned When Your Child Says “I Forgot”.

Are you frustrated with the response "I forgot" when your kids have been asked to do something? Me too and here is how I have learned to manage the forgetful ones. For Christian parenting. When Your Child Says "I Forgot"

As busy moms…and let’s face it, we are all busy moms…it is difficult enough for us to remember everything on our own lists let alone someone else’s!  Right?  So, when my son keeps saying “I forgot” after I give him instruction, I can get pretty miffed.  I say things I probably shouldn’t say and we both end up in tears.  This post is more of a reminder for myself than for my readers.  I need this!  Today, I need this!  Here is what Pam says to do…and if you know any of Pam’s work you’ll know she is so full of Godly wisdom and insight! Read More

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5 Ways To Set A Good Example For Your Kids

I sat there and wept.  My heart was broken…again.  The same person trampled my soul with her cruel words and careless actions for the umpteenth time.  Does she not see what she is doing?  Does she really not care?  Is she not aware of how she continues to crush my spirit?  I only wish she had taken the time to truly know my heart…but she never did.  And here I am again, broken.  My daughter, Sarah, has witnessed such accounts more than I ever wished she had.  And I know it breaks her heart as well, to see her mommy so sad and wounded.  She embraces me and hands me a piece of paper.  I look at what she has written and my tears fall afresh.  I know this is the fruit of what I have encouraged and cultivated within my kids.  I know this is His faithfulness to me.  This piece of paper begins the healing of my shattered heart.  How did I get this treasure of a daughter?  What did I ever do?  Yes, I know a huge part is God’s grace.  But it also has to do with the intentions and purposefulness of my husband and me.  Here are 5 Ways To Set A Good Example For Your Kids. 
Are you setting a good example for your children? How do you know if you are? This post explores some questions that will help you determine of you are a Godly role model for your kids...and what you may need to work on (and we all need to work on something!). I pray this post helps you in your Christian parenting. 5 Ways To Set A Good Example For Your Kids.

In The Beginning

I had no clue how to be a Godly mother when my first child was born.  I look back on those days and I am so thankful for God’s grace.  I’d get frustrated (still do) when life got hard.  I’d feel discouraged as a mom (still do sometimes).  I’d wonder if my kids would end up in therapy or on Jerry Springer (not anymore 😉 ).  I was on my own to figure out how to be a Godly mother.  Well, I suppose not truly alone since I had the Holy Spirit, but you know what I mean.   Read More

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How To Get Your Kids To Obey

When I was younger, obedience was doing what I was told no matter what.  As I reflect on my obedience as a child, I don’t believe that it was true obedience.  Not really.  I obeyed out of fear, not love.  At least, that is the way it was for the most part.  For parenting my own children, I desired for them to obey in a biblical sense.  I wanted to have obedient children who were joyful in their obedience.  This is what I have learned about How To Get Your Kids To Obey.  

Do you struggle to make your kids obey? Are you at your wits end with disobedient children? I want to offer you some encouragement...and possibly some conviction in your Christian parenting. How To get Your Kids To Obey.

Parenting is hard and it seems that a new philosophy on how to parent arises every few years.  We want to raise our kids well.  We want to do good by them.  And we want them to ‘turn out’ better than we did.

Demanding Obedience

And because we know about many of the pitfalls of childhood and adolescence, we want to impart our wisdom to our precious children. 

However, our children aren’t always receptive to our counsel of good judgment.  They just seem to want to find out the hard way. Read More

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5 Ways We Can Fight A Spiritual Battle

Fighting for our freedom will cost us something.  When we fight, we are trying to reclaim a piece of territory in our hearts that was stolen from our enemy.  He will not just hand over what he stole when he sees that we are prepared for battle.  He staked his claim and he will do whatever it takes to prevent us from fighting for freedom.  But, there are things that we can do to help us in combat.  Here are 5 ways we can fight a spiritual battle.
Have you ever started to reclaim some stolen territory in your spiritual life only to be met with serious resistance? This is what happened to me recently and I discovered 5 key ways to help me in my battle.

Prepared To Fight Alongside Our Children

Last week, I wrote a post in honour of my oldest daughter.  She has been asked to read the scripture passage (Hebrews 10:15-25) in front of our new church.  At first, she was hesitant due to some past wounding.  I advised her that this invitation was an opportunity for her to receive deeper healing in her heart.  I was leading my daughter into fighting for her freedom…and I was fighting alongside her. 

However, the enemy of her soul was not about to let her have what was rightfully hers without a fight.  He will use whatever means necessary to try and prevent our victory – although Jesus already has the victory.  Our enemy’s tactics include people who are willing to do his dirty work; even family members.  Read More

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Healing Comes Through Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones

I know, I am late in posting my weekly blog post – but Marcus and I got away for the weekend and had a super WONDERFUL time together.  It was just what I needed to rest.  But, on with my new post…Sometimes, our healing requires us to step out of our comfort zone.  Have you ever noticed this before?  These are things that strike fear into our hearts.  If you are like me, you immediately shoo them away.  But then I wonder- how many times have I missed an opportunity for amazing healing for my wounded heart because I was afraid?  I had the chance to help my daughter invite deeper healing to her heart this past week by helping her recognize that healing comes through stepping out of our comfort zone…and into His grace.

Healing Comes Through Stepping Out Of Our Comfort Zones

The Broken Heart

Several years ago, there was an incident involving outright rejection of my oldest daughter by some girls she knew.  It was very painful and I saw her turn from a bubbly extrovert to an insecure introvert.  Not that being an introvert is bad – I am one of the most introvertiest introverts!  Wait – I don’t think that was a word until just now!  But when pain changes your heart into something that God had not intended, that’s not a good thing. 

I go more into detail of that story in my parenting book, Raising Godly Children, and how we started the healing process during that time.  It was very hard for me to turn from the angry, momma bear to helping my daughter take her pain to Jesus.  Read More

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Help! My Child Isn’t Toilet Trained! Our Journey With Encopresis.

We returned from another trip to the children’s hospital…disappointed yet again with the ‘solution’ the specialist gave.  As if there isn’t enough pressure to toilet train your child, add on the pressure of your older child needing to wear pull-ups out in public every single time you leave the house.  Our youngest has not been ‘toilet trained’ – she is 9.  This is our journey with encopresis.  **I’ve asked her permission to share this story with you and she was more than happy to.  Her reason…because she knows what God has brought her through and she wants to share His glory.  She wants to offer hope to others.

This is an extra long post.  I considered making it 2 posts, but I wanted to get this message out.

Help! My Child Isn't Toilet Trained! Our Journey With Encopresis.

Lazy Parenting?  Or Something More Serious?

When one of my kids was 5, she was still having accidents daily.  Not just one or the other, but BOTH bodily functions.  I had tried everything to get her to go on the toilet.  Bribes, rewards charts, spankings, a special alarm watch, yelling, making her clean herself up (which ended up being the worst thing for her!)…the list goes on.

These accidents were multiple times daily.  Many times, it would be ‘small’ accidents, with her not being able to go more right afterward.  This made it even more frustrating! Read More

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How To Help Your Child Deal With Grief In A Healthy Way

We sat together in the tiny clinic room, my son, my daughters and me.  We waited for the vet to give the lethal injection that would end the life of our furry friend.  Tears came easily and quickly – for both my son and I.  I was watching my boy enter the beginning stages of grief.  You see, we didn’t expect this outcome when we brought Fluffy in for his appointment.  But here we were, waiting for death to come.  It was heartbreaking.  My mommy heart just wanted it all to be over and to not have this bother him so much.  But grief doesn’t work that way.  And I had to help him through this.  Here is How To Help Your Child Deal With Grief In A Healthy Way.    

Helping your child through the grieving process can be very challenging and overwhelming. Not a simple task for any loving parent. Here is how I helped my son deal with his grief in a healthy way. How To Help Your Child Deal With Grief In A Healthy Way.

Have you ever had to help your child through grief?  Have you felt helpless while your child cried and felt such deep sadness?  Yeah, I know what that is like.

A Difficult Decision

Last July brought a very tough decision for our family and a lot of grief.  I had the infinitesimal task of guiding my son through his grief and loss.  I wanted so much to just take it all away from him, but I couldn’t.  I really couldn’t do much of anything and I felt helpless. Read More

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Caring For the Heart of My Daughter

I was busy painting the steps outside our front doorway when she came out the door.  I could tell by the look on her face that something was terribly wrong.  She was fighting the tears.  But I know she has already been crying.  I knew I needed to care for the heart of my daughter.  And my heart breaks to see her like this.  If I had my way, I would prevent any kind of pain in her life.  But that is not possible.  And I think that a completely pain-free life would hinder her from understanding more fully her need for a Saviour.  But my mommy heart wants to take that pain for her.  This is Caring For The Heart Of My daughter. 

What do you do when your child comes to you with a broken heart? Do you ignore it? Tell them to suck it up? Or do you care for them?

That Is Love.

She stands outside the door and in a quivering voice she tells me that her friend suddenly wants to end their friendship. 

No reason is given because “she wouldn’t understand”. 

There was no warning signs, no fight, no offenses made. 

It was just over.

I coach her in things to say, questions to ask.  It makes no difference.  The only response left is to let her friend know that if she changes her mind, that Sarah is there for her.  Her friend answers by saying that it is a kind offer, but it is over forever.

My daughter is broken.  The shattered pieces of her heart held loosely in her hands, shards falling through her fingertips.

How will I help her through this?  What advice can I give that will bring comfort to her heart? 

The fact that I am a safe place for her to turn in painful times such as this is a relief for me.  She trusts me.  She trusts my wisdom.

I have cultivated this trust over the years. 

She Trusts My Heart For Her.

I take a few moments to gather my thoughts and to clean the paint off of my hands. 

I tell her that everything will be ok.  She needs to know this.  Life will go on.  Her heart will heal and she will have other friends.  But we need to deal with this brokenness right now – we need to handle it properly.

We go into my room and sit on my bed.  I pray for her and her friend.  The situation is now left in God’s hands.  I pray for my daughter’s heart to be healed and that God will bring someone else special into her life.  We hug and I say additional words of comfort to her. 

JamesWhile I wish she didn’t have to go through this kind of pain, I know that the circumstance has drawn us closer together.  Her heart has grown to trust me more.  She knows she can confide in me and I will always take her seriously.

Throughout the afternoon, I keep checking on her, making sure she is ok.  I am diligent about making sure she isn’t in her room, feeling sad and alone.  I never want her to feel alone in her pain.

She seems to be handling it alright.  Every now and then I’ll catch sorrow on her face and know she is mourning her friendship.

It’s OK

The following day we talk more about it.  She tells me that it hurts.  

I tell her that I know – and believe me, I know about broken relationships.

I tell her it’s ok to feel the pain.  Not so that we can hang on to it, but so that it isn’t ignored and pushed down deep where it can gather dust and cobwebs.  We can feel the pain so that we can give it to Jesus to redeem and heal.  

She understands.  

But the pain remains.

It will take time and lots of prayer.

I also tell her to phone her ‘bestie’ and talk to her about it – her best friend is a strong believer and will also point Sarah to Jesus.  And it is good to just chat with a close friend.

Lead Them to the Cross 

When our kids get hurt, it is so important for us to take the time to lead them to Christ for healing.

Psalm 147It is through our healing that we grow in our trust of God.  We confide in Him and He cares for our every concern.  He longs for us to trust Him with our hearts.

It is through our healing that we grow in our trust of God.

In these difficult times for our children, we are given the opportunity to share the gospel with them.  We have the chance to show them the heart of God. 

How have you revealed His character to your children today?  

How have you shown your children that they can trust you?  And in turn, trust God – completely?

What do you do when your child comes to you with a broken heart? Do you ignore it? Tell them to suck it up? Or do you care for them?

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