Dealing with the world's view of the supernatural: Facebook live
In a world full of witches, zombies, monsters, the paranormal and the supernatural, how do we help our kids navigate this stuff healthily? It's not a new problem - we see witches, demons, and all sorts of supernatural stuff in scripture - and we can learn good lessons from scripture in how to deal with it.
You can watch the videos below and we have added notes to guide you. You might also be interested in this post, Talking to our kids about the devil.
5 - 11s
Preteens and teens
Help them not be afraid
Under fives are afraid of a lot of things, often because they feel powerless. Some ideas to help them not be afraid.
- Distinguish between 'real' and 'not real' so they can know what is true.
- Help them see that God is really powerful
Be ready to respond
Under fives need someone to swoop in and rescue them when they are afraid so be prepared ahead of time.
Use the six stage circle
The six stage circle is simply a tool to help you think through showing children how you deal with things, explaining it and giving them opportunities to process and practise ideas.
Help them not be afraid
We may be tempted to wade in with theology, but kids also need reassurance and the help they need not to be afraid of this stuff.
- You will know your own kid and so can tailor how you frame your responses to their fear. Some may need explanations, some may be happy just to be reassured that God's in charge and so they don't need to be afraid.
- Ask curious questions (https://parentingforfaith.org/post/curious-questions) to help you get to the bottom of why they are scared and begin to process it.
Don't mess with it
Scripture is quite clear: don't mess with the supernatural. At this age, there are often games that play with the idea of pretend magic. Our kids need to know not to mess with things not because it's scary, but because it's not of God.
Be ready to respond
The supernatural - the stuff that's outside of God - can be very interesting and feel all-powerful and it is often presented as making us powerless in the face of it.
Give children the tools to deal with the supernatural so they see where their power is: so that they know what to do when they feel that something's going on that's not of God: if they sense something's not of God do they know what to do? Do they know how to find their peace, to find their God-centeredness, what to do when they are afraid, how to be confident to say 'no'. Share you stories of what you do and offer to practise what they could do, and figure out how you as a family respond.
Questions Rachel answered
For under 5s:
My daughter said to me not long ago that she woke up at night and had a nightmare and she prayed, but as she said "God didn't do anything to help me". And I didn't know what else to do apart praying loud for her not have those nightmares.
Halloween images, masks and decorations are everywhere. Do you suggest avoiding them as much as you can?
Our preschool are doing various halloween pumpkin activities over half term. Should I opt out on principle or is it harmless?
We are trying to avoid supermarkets at this time of year but my neighbourhood is going all out decorating their houses to make up for not being able to go trick and treating this year. I want to blindfold my kids as we drive around but we can't. Any tips for approaching this with a four year old?
For primary age
Our church primary school has introduced a dress up Halloween day this week for the first time. My Y5 daughter was shocked, 'Mum, we don't do Halloween, we do light!' Great response, but she and her sister don't want to miss the dress up so we're preparing 'good witches' costumes! Am I confusing them?!
In cartoons witches are portrayed as pretend. When I explained to my daughter they are real she became very frightened, even though I explained that God is bigger - I find the normality of witches in books and programmes can normalise it. How do you balance it all?
How do we act when our kids' friends say 'oh, it's just harmless fun'?
My 9 year daughter knows that we don't do Halloween but she reached the age where she thinks a bit of evil things are fun and she wants to be brave to explore a world of darkness. In the past I let her dress up as a witch she was so into the book worst witch as I thought it was a phase that she could explore but if I ban all these dark things around the Halloween she will get confused ... what shall I do?
I find it easy to explain to the children that we don't do the 'scary' bit of Halloween because we don't do fear. I find it harder to say no to the 'fun' part such as pumpkin carving, spider-shaped lollipops, trick or treat (not this year), apple bobbing etc. and I wonder where the line is? I have tried to sell it to them a an 'autumn celebration' but they're not buying it.