Whether you see it at home or it happens when you drop them off at church or school, anxiety can result in tears and fights. I’ve seen many frustrated parents look at me with despair as they struggle to get their usually happy, joyful child to enter their classroom. It’s not just a drain on kids but on parents as well.
Thankfully, we know that anxiety is never something the Lord wants for us to deal with, and it definitely isn’t something He wants our kids to deal with! As adults, we have the ability to logically think through our situation, even when we allow negative thoughts to come in our heads. Children are building up their spirit man as they are simultaneously exploring the world and exposing themselves to new situations.
Therefore, it is the parent’s responsibility to protect their children’s peace and joy.
“After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children.” II Corinthians 12:14
While these words refer to providing food, shelter, and other physical provisions, the same is true for our child’s emotions. We do not rely on our child’s peace and joy to give us rest, but we provide a place of peace and joy for our child.
When something is wrong in a child, it’s important to take a look at our own lives--not out of condemnation--but out of a desire to address any areas in our own lives that may make our child more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. Depression and anxiety can be easily passed from one generation to the next. When you pray peace, joy, and protection over your child, but you allow anxiety, depression, fear, and worry into your own life, you are keeping the door open for the enemy to prey on your child again.
Your child will follow your lead when it comes to anxiety and depression. How you handle situations--with fear and anxiety or with the peace that passes all understanding--will dictate how your child responds to similar situations now and when they are grown.
If you find yourself responding with fear and anxiety, do not let conviction turn into condemnation! Every parent walks a path unique to them and their family. The Lord’s correction leads us to peace and prosperity, but condemnation will do the opposite. Instead, repent to the Lord and ask Him to lead you and guide you and give you His peace and joy. You are not a bad parent! Good parents are always evaluating their own lives to create a better future for their children. Anything else is a lie from the enemy!
Pray life and blessing over your child daily. The Bible has a lot to say about peace and joy, so find a verse (or several!) that speaks to you and your situation and declare them over your child! As you speak the Word consistently over your child, he or she will learn the verses as well and have them in his or her heart. You will be not only waging war in the spiritual realm for your child, you will equip them to resist the enemy as well!
The Bible says that we don’t wage against flesh and blood, but powers of darkness! (Ephesians 6:12) Praying in tongues is vital as it allows us to pray exactly what our Heavenly Father wants us to pray. We are able to pray into things that are outside our human understanding.
Later in Ephesians 6, where Paul describes the armor of God, he identifies the Spirit (Holy Spirit) as a sword, which is used in attacking the enemy! Do not let yourself and your family be on the defensive! As a child of God, you are to be constantly moving forward and taking ground for the Kingdom of God and your family!
As you continue to press in, trust that God will give you wisdom to clarify the situation with your child in the natural. Clear communication is key, and often times, when kids are facing anxiety, they struggle to express what they are thinking and feeling. Think of this the same way as you would a time when your child is whining. You can’t help them unless you understand the problem. I’ll often find myself saying, “I want to help you, but I need you to tell me what the problem is.”
Once your child has identified the problem, help them identify a solution. Make a plan that address their specific needs. In the case of separation anxiety at church, you might say, "I'm going to be back right after snack, and then we will get to go home and play a game together!" By helping your child work through feelings of anxiety, you will further develop your trust relationship, and your child will, in turn, learn to trust and find peace in their Heavenly Father!
There is no situation that is too big for God, so as you believe in faith for your child, continue to build up your faith by reading the Word, listening to preaching, talking through the situation with teacher or pastors, and praying. If your child is going through a time of anxiety, pray this prayer over them!
Thank you Jesus that you are our protector and our provider. Thank you that there is nothing you can’t do, for you formed the world with the words from your mouth. Jesus, I ask you to place a hedge of protection around my son/daughter just like you did with Job (Job 1:10). Protect their hearts and their minds from the attacks of the evil one with your peace (Philippians 4:6-7). Your Word says that no weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17), so I rebuke the attempts of the devourer against my life and my son/daughter’s life. I thank you for a renewed and refreshed mind in Jesus‘s name! I thank you that our answer is coming forth speedily (Luke 18:7-8) and that peace like a river will overflow from my entire family. Thank you for quickly working on my behalf and continuing to be faithful to me and my family. In Jesus name, Amen!