In our last post we talked about Preventing Fear in young children. The article referred to new experiences and how to prepare a child by letting him know in advance what to expect.
Today, we are focusing on fear once more. But this post is a different story. For the next month we will be inundated with opportunities for children to take in fear. Halloween horror on television, scary sitcoms, even well-meaning costumed employees in the market place will present challenges for our little ones.
Therefore we must remember that when considering cognitive development, young children cannot differentiate between fact and fantasy. They are not yet able to distinguish between what is real and what is pretend.
We give life to many inanimate objects in a child’s day. Puppets talk, cartoon characters speak, interactive video people respond. We declare that the Tooth Fairy, Santa, and the Easter Bunny are real, then we try to explain to a young child that the lady at the cash register who is dressed as a witch is really pretend? You can see how confusing an issue this becomes for our little ones.
So what is a parent to do? We believe that the best course of action these next few weeks is two-fold:
1. Anticipate and conquer fear at every opportunity. Be aware of what your child is exposed to on television and in public. Be watchful, because fear has a way of sneaking in and taking dominion if it is not dealt with. Fear about one thing tends to bleed over into other areas and before you know it, fear has become a stronghold in the child’s life.
2. Remind your child that – in Jesus – he is well-able to conquer every foe, including fear. In the name of Jesus, monsters in the closet as well as bad dreams have to flee, for your child is more than a conqueror. He is equipped with the armor of God and well protected from all things scary and frightening! Help your child develop a militant mindset against fear. Help him recognize it – take dominion over it – and conquer it.
~ End ~