Ever Been Scared?

Categories: news and events,Youth Blog

Help Kids Overcome Fears

As young people head back to the classroom, some pretty significant fears are accompanying them. According to ad agency JWT, 78% of U.S. teenagers say they’re worried whether there will be good jobs after graduation, 69% are worried about doing well in school, and 67% are worried about which college will accept them. Combined with other top adolescent fears (see “The View”), that amounts to a lot of baggage to lug around.

To help relieve academic stress, experts recommend that parents take the following steps: Discuss your expectations; assure kids you’re proud of them when they try their best, no matter the outcome; stay involved, showing interest in their classes and activities; be available to help and talk when needed; and watch for sudden declines in academic performance, which may indicate a learning disorder or emotional distress.

Beyond the classroom, help teens conquer fears by offering these reminders:

  • FEAR can stand for False Evidence Appearing Real. Don’t let the devil conjure up “what ifs” that won’t come close to reality.
  • When you’re paralyzed by fear, you won’t be able to live up to your God-given potential.
  • Rely on God’s Word, which has the power to break through our fears and will show us how to handle them with wisdom and strength.

Here are more stats about U.S. teenagers’ top fears:

  • The condition of the planet left to their generation (64%)
  • How their parents are doing financially (63%)
  • Real-world bullying (57%)
  • How attractive they are toothers (52%)
  • Doing well in sports and extracurricular activities (50%)
  • How popular they are at school(46%)
  • Online bullying (43%)
  • How many friends they have(39%)
  • Keeping up with other kids their age (36%)



Deliciously Scared

scared-womanEver been scared? Think of late-night campfire stories that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. When we’re on high alert, we feel strangely alive—especially when we’re scaring ourselves.

First John 4:18 (NIV) says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” Some writers say that in the New Testament, the opposite of love isn’t hate but fear. When we relate out of fear, it’s hard to love because fear likes control but love doesn’t. When we parent out of fear, we try to control kids. During adolescence, fear takes root as teenagers understand more, see more, feel more, and want more. This is fertile soil for fear and battles over control.

In counseling, one form of manufactured fear is “awfulizing.” That’s when thoughts gravitate to the worst-case scenario. Like the young person with a sprained ankle who asks, “Doc, when do you have to amputate?” we jump to what we fear most so as not to be caught off-guard. That sounds foolish, but we all get caught up in some form of awfulizing at times.

Manufactured fear and awfulizing almost always take us toward control. And control takes us away from love. Confronting our fears is the first step back toward love—and toward the loving God who tells us to “fear not.”

Discuss these questions with your kids:

  • How does our culture (both secular and Christian) scare itself?
  • What are some ways you see people awfulizing? How do you do it?
  • In what ways is fear the opposite of love? How are fear and control connected, and what’s the result?
  • What are some ways you see people awfulizing? How do you do it?
  • In what ways is fear the opposite of love? How are fear and control connected, and what’s the result?