Have you been awakened from a deep (much needed!) slumber by a child crying out for you? Or maybe your kiddo is more like mine - hovering near the edge of the bed, staring until you bolt upright, heart-racing. The sad reality is, nightmares are not rare. They can be caused by the obvious: trauma, neglect, abuse. Or something as seemingly innocent as a visit to the zoo, favorite tv show with a new character, or the wonders of childhood imagination.
We have implemented a three step system to help our kids overcome fear and restlessness following a bad dream. All of our kids know the process, and the oldest have even used it on occasion, without needing to wake us up! Most times, they come and ask us to pray with them. But most importantly, they are learning the steps to restore peace and rest!
ask God to help.
The first thing our children should do following a nightmare, is to ask God to help them. He is faithful, and knows their needs. He can dispel fear, heal wounds, and bring peace. Teaching them to pray in moments when they feel afraid, is a valuable lesson that will not only assist them after nightmares, but establish the truth in their hearts that when we are afraid, we can run to God! Our Father loves our precious children even more than we do! His heart is towards His children, and we know He is close to the brokenhearted.
say Jesus' name.
The Name of Jesus is powerful. His is the Name above all names. It is important to teach our children to boldly declare His Name over a situation - including, but not limited to, a bad dream. As we strongly believe that dreams can come from either God, or Satan (our enemy), we have encouraged our children to say: "In the Name of Jesus, go away satan."
The beautiful thing is, again, we are teaching our children scriptural ways to address and deal with fear or spiritual attacks in other situations.
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think happy thoughts.
Most of us are familiar with the verses that speak about dwelling on the pure and lovely. The fact is, in order to get past frightening thoughts, we must replace them with something else. We typically talk about the goodness of God, what we are grateful for, and then some things we are looking forward to. Instead of putting the emphasis back on the bad dream, we shift their focus to the truth of God's word, and things that make them happy!
The Bible is clear that there is a very real enemy of our souls. Satan seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. It is our honor, privilege, and responsibility to instruct our children in Biblical ways to handle spiritual attacks - including fear. We can equip them with the truth of God's word and the ability to put it in to practice, even in their young age.
How do you help your children deal with nightmares? Were any of these steps something you've never tried before? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 7! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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