How to Reassure Your Children When Scary Things Happen

child_father_hand-680x380 By Dr. Mike Foell, Care Pastor, The Bridge Church; Campus Pastor, Mission Hills Christian School

Yesterday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino is yet another reminder that our world can be a scary place. These kinds of events are all too common, and try as we might, we cannot shield our children from their unpleasant consequences. What is the appropriate response as a parent when events happen that beg for an explanation from the parental voice?

First, recognize that your own emotional state communicates volumes to your child. If you are anxious, frustrated, or allow your anger to find an inappropriate avenue of expression, that will be “picked up” by your children. Remain calm and communicate in an age-appropriate manner, remembering to pepper your comments with reminders that our trust in these moments needs to be in the LORD.

Second, there is evil in the world that has cast off its moral and spiritual foundations, and our children need to know that the actions of terrorists and other evil people is not pleasing to the LORD. This is the appropriate time for us to teach them that good overcomes evil and that in the face of tragedy, history records that it is often the church’s finest hour as we reach out to help, to instill hope in the face of adversity, and to point people to Jesus.

Third, assure your child that their protection, safety, and well-being is always at the forefront of your thoughts and actions as a parent. Remind them of all you do to keep them safe but that their ultimate safety is wrapped up in the arms of a loving Heavenly Father. Encourage them to talk about their feelings. Assure them it is alright to be a little frightened by things we cannot control but that Jesus is there to listen, to comfort, to remind them of the truths of Scripture, and to walk with them through any storm they may encounter throughout their lives.