Whitefield Academy Blog
How to Prepare Your Child for a Dangerous World
In first grade, I watched a video about fire safety. I vividly remember the entire movie: a kid is having a friend over to spend the night. They are playing with slot cars, and after they go to bed, the slot cars spark, starting a fire. The entire house is bathed in smoke. Luckily the family has a fire safety plan complete with extendable ladders on their windows and, I believe, whistles. Unfortunately, the kid spending the night doesn’t know the plan, and the firemen have to go in and pull him out, unconscious.
From that moment on, and I don’t mean to make a joke of it, my eyes were opened to so many potential dangers, and it has only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. Now that the last few months of national disasters have made it seem like the whole world is falling apart, I struggle as a parent to know how to keep my children innocent but still wise and informed.
Make Them Feel Safe
The most important thing we can do for our children is to make them feel safe. Whether it’s a false danger such as a nightmare or a real danger such as fires, tornadoes, or robbers, we must calm their fears. I’m constantly reminding my oldest of Jeremiah 9:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you…'” It’s crucial that they know, yes, Mom and Dad are going to do their best to keep everyone safe, but God ultimately has a plan for each of us, is in total control, and will work our lives out for good.
Be Honest but Age-Appropriate
When dealing with a difficult or scary situation, it is really easy to lie to our kids about it. “Everything is fine!” “That won’t happen to you!” But when a bad thing does happen, that makes us liars and our kids unprepared. I’ve found with my five and three-year-old that it’s important to be honest but also discerning. There are certain things they don’t need to know (like showing them a video of a tornado because they were asking questions about them…bad parenting move), and it’s okay for us to tell them that some information is for when they are older. But some things they can know and should learn from us. They can know that there are evil people in the world; they can know that bad things happen. They should also know that there is a good God whose “…hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1). They have a God bigger than any danger. You know your kids, and you know what information they can handle. Be honest but remember that you don’t have to share everything.
Have A Plan
One of the most comforting things, especially for kids with Type A personalities, is to have a plan. Keep things simple. In case of a fire: get out of the house and meet by a certain tree. In case of a tornado: get to the basement. If you get separated from Mom or Dad: look for another mom and ask for help. If someone is hurt: call 911 (might want to go over with how to use a smart phone if you’re like us and don’t have an actual house phone). Now I don’t recommend throwing all these plans on them in one afternoon family fun extravaganza, but slowly introduce them and quiz your kiddos every once in awhile.
Bathe Them in Prayer and Scripture
More important than any amount of preparation that we do is to be in constant prayer over our children. Pray that they would have “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and that they would “count it all joy…when [they] meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). As parents, we have to be realistic and know that we can’t protect our kids from every danger, but we can commit them to the Lord and prepare them as best we can with scripture on their lps and a plan in their back pocket.