Have you noticed kids who are as bold and fearless as lions? While other kids are as timid as a mouse? I often wonder what makes one child seem so fearless that they are almost a danger to themselves. But other children will barely look another person in the eye. Maybe it’s our parenting style. Is your style fear-based which might foster children who may not step out as much or faith-based which creates an environment where your children attack challenges boldly with little-to-no fear?
When it comes to parenting with fear or fear-based parenting, you are bordering on helicopter parenting for fear of your child getting hurt, something bad happening, or even what other people think about you or your child. Your words and your actions do more disabling than enabling your child. Making your first reaction no or don’t or be careful leads your child to believe there is constantly something to fear, even though that may not be your intention.
On the opposite end is parenting without fear or faith-based parenting. You allow your child to try new things; you allow them to venture out; and, you encourage them to try things. As a result, your kids feel you have confidence and trust in them, so they have more confidence and trust in themselves. They believe there are great things to explore and experience versus things they should fear. Here are four practical ways to develop a style of faith-based parenting—parenting without fear:
1. Lead by example.
Our kids follow more of what we do than what we say. Try something new yourself. Our kids follow more of what we do than what we say. So venture out and try something that pushes you out of your comfort zone and involves them, if possible.
2. Say yes more.
I must admit sometimes my first response to a request from one of my kids is no. Ashamedly, I sometimes do that without fully listening or thinking. We can’t say yes to everything, but we can say it more. Saying yes is more fun, it builds trust, and it creates a connection.
3. Encourage them in their mistakes.
We all mess up; we were born that way. Somewhere along the line, though, we begin to fear making those mistakes. Instead of teaching your kids to fear their mistakes, encourage them to try more things, make more of them and, when they do, help them find the lessons in those mistakes.
4. Be there for them.
If you and your 4-year-old child are taking a walk and a huge dog walks down the street, you are going to get in-between you and your child. You won’t let the dog run up, lick, bite, push over, or bite your child. Your child knows they can depend on you in tough situations. Be there for them, not just when physical danger is present but emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Your parenting style can lead your kids to be bold warriors: Taking stands for the important things in life. It can also help kids face challenges head-on and become the best they can be or it can do the opposite. I encourage you to practice parenting without fear and watch your kids thrive.
Sound off: What is parenting to you? How do you feel about parenting in fear or without fear?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What scares you?”