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Guiding Your Child Through Life’s Tough Moments

In this ever-evolving, imperfect world filled with both beauty and challenges, our kids are growing up in a reality that often feels vastly different from the one we knew. The internet, news outlets, and social media platforms bring a constant stream of information right into their lives, which can sometimes be overwhelming, even frightening. It’s during these times that our role as Caregivers becomes truly essential.

Navigating the Waves of Uncertainty

Amid mass shootings, natural disasters {like hurricanes and earthquakes}, and political turmoil, it’s only natural for our children to feel unease and fear. They might wonder why the world seems to be falling apart and question why it appears that God remains silent. How we respond to their feelings and concerns can be a defining moment. Let’s explore a few gentle ways to help our children process the world events they’re exposed to:

  1. Limit Graphic Exposure

First and foremost, consider limiting their exposure to graphic images. News channels tend to replay distressing events, bombarding young minds with intense visuals that can leave lasting impressions. While seeking different viewpoints is essential, the constant replay of such events isn’t helpful. If a distressing event is shown repeatedly, consider turning off the television. Shielding them from graphic photos is also crucial, as these images tend to impact children more profoundly than words.

  1. Explain with Compassion

When your child seeks to understand more about a destructive or horrific event, approach their curiosity with patience and compassion. Remember, children often perceive events as occurring nearby, so a gentle explanation is needed to provide context. If they see images of far-off places, help them grasp the geographical distance using maps. Empower them with the knowledge that the world is vast, and not every event unfolds in their immediate surroundings.

  1. Avoid Over-Explanation

While it’s essential to address their questions, avoid diving into overly detailed explanations, especially when it comes to distressing events. If they encounter images of wounded individuals, for instance, reassure them that those affected are receiving help and support without getting into unnecessary specifics. Sometimes, less is more, allowing them to process information at their own pace.

  1. Acknowledge Their Fears

Children’s behavior might shift during times of distress. From becoming talkative to growing quieter, their emotions are valid. Encourage open communication about the events they’ve witnessed. Pose open-ended questions to engage them in discussions. How did they feel about what they saw? What questions do they have? This approach enables them to express their thoughts without feeling overwhelmed by excessive information.

  1. Learn and Grow Together

Empower your child to take charge of their feelings by exploring the topics together. Researching world events or looking into the science behind natural disasters can transform abstract fears into a thirst for knowledge. Such curiosity can pave the way for coping strategies and newfound interests.

  1. Be a Beacon of Calm

As a comforting presence in their lives, your child will seek guidance during unsettling times. No matter how distressing the images on the screen may be, maintaining a sense of calm reassures them that stability persists. Acknowledge their emotions, address their fears, and emphasize their safety. “Though the images were unsettling, remember we’re safe here.”

  1. Maintain Routines and Stability

Maintaining a regular daily schedule can offer a sense of normalcy amidst chaos. If your child appears shaken by current events, sticking to the routine provides stability. This demonstrates that even when the world seems unpredictable, life goes on. If extra support is needed, don’t hesitate to offer it, whether through extra bedtime stories or additional comfort.

  1. Embrace the Joy of Play

For younger children, play can be a powerful outlet for their fears. Through imaginative play, they process emotions and understand complex situations in ways that make sense to them. Older children, too, need moments of positivity during challenging times. Encouraging them to find joy in everyday activities nurtures resilience and optimism.

  1. Highlight the Positive

In the aftermath of distressing events, it’s tempting to focus solely on the negative aspects. However, remember to highlight the positive forces at play. Discuss individuals and organizations providing aid and support. This shift in focus can foster hope and resilience within your child’s heart.

  1. Become Agents of Change

Encourage your child to actively contribute to solutions. Whether it’s aiding local causes or supporting those affected by global events, taking part in positive action instills a sense of agency. By engaging in small acts of kindness, your child learns that they can make a difference, even in the face of adversity.

  1. Pray Together

Teach your child the value of compassion and empathy through prayer. Encourage them to pray for the world events they witness. Guide them in acknowledging their fears and concerns, while also expressing gratitude for their safety. Prayer serves as a powerful reminder of stability, love, and the ability to find solace during trying times.

In the end, as parents and caregivers, we hold the power to guide our children through life’s tough moments. Our compassion, understanding, and willingness to explore the world alongside them shape their perspectives and resilience. Let’s ensure that even amidst challenges, they grow into individuals who find strength in unity, seek knowledge, and nurture a spirit of positivity.

This post was written from Pastor Amy Kendall’s video, “Guiding Kids Through Life’s Tough Moments | World Events” found on our YouTube Channel.


  • Chris Reed

    Chris married his beautiful bride, Tina, in 1990. They have three wonderful adult children, Jacob, Kaylee, and Macie Joy. Chris began pastoring at a church in Los Angeles in 1995 where he was the Children’s and Student Pastor. He was the Executive Pastor of Student Ministries at John Maxwell's church in South Florida before he came to Saddleback in 2008 as our Pastor to 20s/30s. He has since served as Singles Pastor, Small Groups Pastor, Marriages Pastor, and Parents Pastor. He is currently our Extensions Pastor, leading the charge for Saddleback Church start-ups across the US and world. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies and his Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.

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