Friday, December 30, 2011

The 'What If' Child

We have a child that is a deep thinker.  He is always asking a 'what if' question.  In the photo above, he asking himself what is really going to happen when he fights Darth Vader, will my parents find me in this crowd when I am done, will I use a real light saber  . . . .   Really, all kids get the worries from time to time and want to know 'what if.'  For a deep thinker, the world can be a never ending place of fear.  They think too much for their own good.  Their heighten awareness spawn one scenario after another.  Our children should know that worries and fears are normal, that everyone has them, and we need to show them what we do with worries.

Our children's 'what ifs' are a great chance to make clear to them basic Biblical wisdom.  It is easy to forget when our minds start spinning.  I tell my child, simply and bluntly that,

  • "You can handle anything that happens to you WITH GOD."  
  • "Life will keep you busy enough with real things that happen to you, don't waste your time with 'what ifs'."
  • "Don't keep 'what if'ing your self because they never end.  They will just go on and on."
  • "What ever happens, you will just deal with it.  God has a plan, there is no need to worry.  He won't give you anymore then you can handle WITH Him."
  • "You need to deal with what is happening right now, at this moment."  
  • "No matter what happens, stay calm and pray to God for wisdom.  He will show you what to do."
Another exercise that is good to do is to ask them, "What are you afraid of happening?"  Or, "What is the worse that could happen?"  For example, if the child says they are afraid of the house catching on fire, you would help them see that they would leave the house and the fire department would come and put the fire out.  This exercise may be too hard for a child who lacks the ability to reason, meaning a child on the spectrum or with delays.  The point of the exercise is to show, what ever happens, you will just deal with the situation.  

Death may come up in your 'what if' conversation, but you need to deal with it honestly, while only giving them simple information that they need to know.  It is best to be calm, steady and sure of yourself in your delivery.  If you don't believe it completely, your children will see that, and they won't believe either.  As Christians, we have no fear of death.  If your child is persistent, but not yet mature enough, I tell them they will learn more as they get older, but now is not the time.  They need to grow more.  

Having an environment where your child can come and talk to you about what is on their heart plays a major role in providing that teachable moment.  If we have our child's heart, if they feel loved and safe with us, they will let us into their most personal thoughts.  Our children need us to talk to.  They need to be reassured by us.  During these talks with my children, I always remind them that it is our (their mother and father's) job to take care of them and help them though any events that might happen.  Even when they are by themselves, God is ALWAYS with them, watching over them. No worries.  It is a good reminder to the us as well, because where do you think their deep thinking brain came from?  

1 comment:

  1. I would also like to add, if that deep thinker child has already been thought a scary trial, like a house fire or a seriously ill parent, they will be even harder to reassure. The combination of their questioning mind and shattering of their 'safe' world makes the 'what ifs' seem so much more possible to them. They know bad things really can happen to them. It is sad, and even frustrating as a parent, but this child will be so much stronger if we walk them through this. It may take repeating the words in the post a thousand times, but think how much better prepared they will be for life.