Four practices that will help your pre-teen overcome anxiety

I don’t have to tell you that because of COVID-19, our world has changed dramatically. 

Thanks to the vaccines, we’re beginning to get out into this new world to discover what comes next. And it’s a little scary. 

In our attempt to re-enter a more normal existence we shouldn’t forget that we’re not the only ones who are feeling intimidated and nervous—our children are experiencing anxiety too, and we need to provide them with reliable, accessible guidance for stressful days. 

Worry and joy

Worry is something we and our children can overcome. The Bible offers us this guidance, and we can help our pre-teens process their worries by pointing them to God’s faithfulness. 

The apostle Paul knew this. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wanted his friends to know they didn’t have to worry about their lives because God was taking care of them. 

Here’s what he says in Philippians 4:4-9: 

“Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy. Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. Do what you learned and received from me, what I told you, and what you saw me do. And the God who gives peace will be with you.” 

Practice these four things

To overcome anxiety and embrace God’s lasting peace by practice, Paul tells us to do four things in this Scripture. 

I like using the acronym C-A-L-M to help me remember his instructions. 

C—Celebrate God and his goodness. 

In verse 4, Paul says “Be full of joy in the Lord always.” When we remember who God is and what he has done, we can feel full of joy in a way that makes us want to celebrate him through our worship. 

A—Ask God for help. 

In verse 6, Paul says, “Pray and ask God for everything you need.” When we pray and ask God for help, we let God take our worries from us. We don’t have to carry them ourselves. 

L—Look on the bright side. 

Verse 6 also contains the phrase, “Always giving thanks.” Remembering to thank God for the good things in our lives helps us see our situations with more positivity. 

M—Meditate on good things. 

In verse 8, Paul says, “Think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.” When we meditate on good things, our brains and hearts feel more peaceful. 

A life full of joy

There is nothing wrong with being prepared for tomorrow. Nor is it wrong to have a healthy concern for tomorrow. 

But worrying goes beyond preparation and healthy concern. By discovering God’s tools for dealing with anxiety, you and your children will increase the odds of a happy and joy-filled life.

For powerful strategies to combat stress and anxiety in your tween, Christian Parenting recommends Anxious for Nothing (Young Readers Edition): Living Above Anxiety and Loneliness by Max Lucado and Andrea Lucado.

Looking for other related resources?

Making a toolbox for anxiety

Does dealing with anxiety make me a bad Christian?

13 ways to build resilience in your children

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