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Beyond Sunday

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Archive for April 2013

Helping your child through tragedy

When faced with tragedy, such as the bombing at the Boston Marathon, we turn our attention to our children.  We want them to feel safe as well as have the opportunity to process, grieve, and ask questions.  Unfortunately, we ourselves feel ill-prepared or unsure at times on how to discuss such a sensitive subject with our little ones.

Here are some helpful guidelines to tackle such questions:

  • Make sure to pray before any conversation.  God is our ultimate counselor and provides wisdom to those who ask for it (James 1:5).
  • If your children are in early elementary or younger, consider asking a question such as, “What have you heard regarding what has happened in Boston?”  This question will allow you to respond without perhaps giving more information than they have been exposed to.
  • For older children, consider sitting down with them and sharing the basic points of what has happened (i.e. There was a bombing in Massachusetts, at the Boston Marathon and 3 people were killed, one a young boy, and hundreds were injured).  If they ask questions after this, you can respond to their level of concern.
  • Music is soothing and can bring comfort.  You may want to make a special CD To play in your car, home, or in your child’s room at bedtime.
  • Endeavor to keep normalcy in your daily routine (i.e. children sleeping in their own beds or rooms, attending classes or outside activities, etc.)
  • If your child exhibits unusual fear or anxiety over this issue, consider consulting a school or grief counselor.  Pray with them and for them, showing them how they can turn to God in difficult times.
  • Allowing your child to do something productive or compassionate during this time gives them a sense of empowerment and hope.
  • Life and death topics bring up questions of God’s character and what happens after we die.  Remember that while we cannot always explain God, we know from Scripture that He is good and loving (1 Jn 4:8), that He allows us a free will and with that some people choose good and other choose evil (1 Pet. 4:1-8).  God is always with us and will not leave us alone (Josh. 1:9).  On day God will restore all things to Himself and to perfection (Rev. 21), and that because He conquered death, one day we too can receive life with Him in a heaven that He has prepared for us (Jn 14:1-6).
  • CCC has the below books to help you in your discussions about life, death, grieving, and heaven.  They are available to check out in the library;

Heaven is No a Crying Place by Joey O’Connor

Your Grieving Child by Bill Dodds

Someone I Love Died by Christine Tangvald

When You Lose Someone You Love by Richard Exley

 

Article by; Tru Ministry

Your Child’s Love Language

One thing that I want to clear up now is that I am not a bookworm.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to read.  It is a habit that I am getting better at, and I have read books that have changed the way I think and pray.  I tell you that because over the next few posts I will be giving you the “Jeff’s notes” version of one of those books, The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.  I will suggest that you do a couple of things that might help you have a better understanding of your children AND it might even help you in your parenting:

  1. Follow the link and take the short quiz on each of your children.  This will help you to begin to identify what love language they speak.  Click here to go to that site.
  2. Find the book and read at least the chapters on your children’s languages.
  3. If you like what you read, there is a study guide that you and/or your spouse can do.  It is also available for free.  On average there are 3-5 questions per chapter.  Click here to go to that site.

Alright, by a show of hands, who would say that they love their children?  Would you say you love them unconditionally?  Here is how Wikipedia would define it… ”Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations.  An example of this is a parent’s love for their child; no matter a test score, a life changing decision, an argument, or a strong belief, the amount of love that remains between this bond is seen as unchanging and unconditional.”

Here’s the catch:  no matter how much you know that you love your child, your child may not be feeling loved.  For a child to feel loved, we must learn to speak his or her unique love language.  Every child has a special way of perceiving love.  There are five primary ways people speak and understand emotional love.  They are:  physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service.  If you have several children, chances are they each speak different languages.  When I walk in the door from work, my youngest daughter, Madison, asks me for tickles while she is in the middle of hugging me with her legs wrapped around me.  My oldest, Rachel, loves to spend time doing things with me no matter what the activity.  If I tickled Rachel like I do Madison, she might wonder why I was hurting her.  While both ways are healthy examples of showing you love somebody, if you never speak the right language to them, they may never feel that they are completely loved.

By speaking your child’s own love language, you can fill his “emotional tank” with love.  When your child feels loved, he is much easier to discipline and train than when his “emotional tank” is running near empty.  When we are filling their tank with unconditional love, it can help them have the emotional strength to get through the challenging days of childhood and adolescence.  Just as cars are powered by reserves in the gas tank, our children are fueled from their emotional tanks.  Unconditional love is a full love that accepts and affirms a child for who he is, not for what he does or does not do.

You may find it helpful to frequently remind yourself of some rather obvious things about your children:

  1. They are children.
  2. They will tend to act like children.
  3. Much childish behavior is unpleasant.
  4. If I do my part as a parent to love them, despite their childish behavior, they will mature and give up their childish ways.
  5. If I love them unconditionally, they will feel comfortable about themselves and will be better able to control their anxiety and their behavior as they grow to adulthood.

Article by Jeff Neeley