You can help your children cope with change in their lives. As Christian parents, it’s our great blessing and responsibility to do so! God’s Word is the most important tool and will help you do this.

Here are seven tips to help you guide your children through changes in life and the stress that comes with it so they can come out on the other side with a stronger faith and see God’s purpose and love on display in their lives.

“Mom, is Grandma ever going to be able to visit us again?”

My six-year-old little boy came to me, fat tears brimming in his eyes. He was just beginning to process the news that his Grandma had cancer and that we would not be able to see her due to her treatment and the need to protect her health during that time. 

My mom’s presence in my children’s lives had been a daily occurrence, and often my parents would have them over on the weekends as well. But after our family moved a few hours away AND we heard the news of her diagnosis within a short period, our kids were faced with a dramatic change in what they’d come to expect in their daily lives.

Change can come upon us unexpectedly, turning our lives upside down.

A family member can get sick or pass away or a job loss can affect us financially. We may have to make difficult choices or big decisions FOR our children that we know will be very difficult for them to accept.

What we’ve become comfortable with and come to expect is flipped on its head and our life suddenly becomes almost unrecognizable from what it used to be.

Whether we realize it in the moment or not, we eventually start to feel the stress of those significant changes. 

Change can especially affect our children, who are still growing physically, developing emotionally, and learning how to process the world around them. 

So how can we help them navigate through change in a healthy way? As we’ve walked through a variety of changes in our lives with our own four children, we’ve learned some ways to help them handle it well and come out stronger on the other side.  

Let’s talk about seven steps that you as a Christian parent can take to help your child handle change, using Biblical principles and God’s Word to guide you. 

how to help child cope with change Christian biblical help

Helping Your Child Cope with Change {Tips for Christian Parents}

1) Teach your children that God does not change

Leading our kids to understand that God does not change is one of the foundations of our faith. It’s so important for them to stand on this truth because as they grow up, other things in their lives will change. But thankfully, God is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” as Hebrews 13:8 reminds us. God’s Word will never “pass away” and so we know that He remains the foundation of our faith, no matter what changes happen around us.

Take your children through some bible verses that will give them confidence in God and His unchanging nature: 

  • Hebrews 13:8
  • James 1:17
  • Isaiah 40:8
  • Matthew 24:35
  • Psalm 102:25-27

2) Talk about changes that are happening together

Sometimes, even a change as simple as growing older can be hard for our kids! When my now 14-year-old turned 8, he told me “I don’t want to grow up, because then I can’t play with my toys anymore”. 

It seemed odd to me that he struggled in that way because when I was little, I’d always been so eager to grow up! Because we all have different responses to various changes, it’s important to have a conversation with your kids about the changes that are happening to understand how they are really feeling. 

Let’s say you are moving to a different state. You could ask questions like:

  • How do you feel about moving? 
  • What questions can I answer for you about our move?
  • Let’s talk about our move. Is there anything you want to say about it?

Try not to ask them leading questions. For instance, try not to say “Are you scared of moving?” They may never have thought to be scared and so you want to be careful that you don’t lead them to assume they need to be afraid.

It’s important too, that if change is hard for your child that you allow them to process it without dismissing their concerns. Encourage them to write down how they feel in a journal if they’re older and don’t necessarily want to talk with you at the moment.

TIP: Take this opportunity to do a family Bible study. Read through a book of the Bible together like Exodus or the book of Ephesians. Talk about how God’s love helped people in the Bible through a hard time.

For kids who are feeling displaced or struggling with change, learning about God’s faithfulness to the Israelites in the desert or seeing Jesus’ purpose for them as they live as “aliens and strangers” in this world through the book of Ephesians can be an encouragement and draw them closer to God.

You can find Bible reading plans for kids in our shop (Ephesians is one of the plans!), that also include journaling pages if that’s something your children would enjoy.

3) Talk about the positives of change 

I’ve noticed that when something changes, my children find it hard to see the good in it. Let’s be honest–so do I! It’s easier to complain or be frustrated. If it’s a big shift in life as we know it, change can also be a sorrowful experience.

Try to gain your own perspective on the situation and talk with your kids about the positives that can come out of change. For instance, in spring of 2020 when we had to go to distance learning because of the pandemic, my kids were super frustrated about not being able to see their friends and teachers plus upset about the cancellation of all the spring events they were looking forward to.

Once we had adapted to our situation, we made a point to talk with the kids about how this time was teaching us to value family, motivating us to have a better devotional life and even helping us save money. 

Try taking a moment each night (or just when things come up in conversation) to talk about how the changes happening can bring us closer to Jesus and how He provides comfort and encouragement in the middle of the mess.

Certainly, there are downsides and disappointments that come with change, and as I said before, it’s important to face those also. But we know that Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.” This is a comfort for our children as Christians!

4) Pray with your kids about change

No matter what stage of life you’re reading this post, there are always reasons to pray continually over our circumstances.

Change can make us feel very uncertain and uncomfortable and that affects our children as well. Most of the time we aren’t in control and our own heart can be broken. But we can yield control to God through prayer (it’s okay if that takes a while, by the way, I’m still working on that skill!) ;)

We can pray both for our kids and with our kids when changes disrupt our lives.

When you pray about change for your kids, there are two important things you don’t want to forget to pray for:

  • Pray that God would help your child walk through change in faith and trust.
  • Pray that God would bring about change in our children’s hearts through the situation!

When you pray with your children, give them a chance to speak up and express their feelings to God. 

Use Scripture to pray. Open the Bible to a Psalm and read the words out loud in prayer. A few good ones to use that relate to change and hope for the future are:

  • Psalm 27
  • Psalm 33
  • Psalm 107
  • Psalm 121
  • Psalm 145

Help them walk through the ACTS method of prayer if they’re having a tough time knowing how to talk to God.

5) Connect with your children during difficult times of change

What if the change is not something you have any control over? The best thing you as a parent can do is be there for your child and find opportunities to connect and do something you both enjoy.

It doesn’t magically fix everything but setting aside time to give your child your undivided attention shows them that you want to walk WITH them through hardship. There are many good things to focus on and have fun doing together!

If it’s a change that your child is frustrated about or discouraged by, like a hard decision you had to make for the family, there may be times when a bad attitude takes hold. Your kids’ behavior may even get worse for a time as they struggle to adjust to change. This is to be expected.

Many experiences our children have are new to them, so even if we’ve been through something similar in our childhood, we can’t expect that our kids will respond the same way.

Times of change provide valuable lessons for our children that they can only learn through hardship. This is a great time to teach our children resilience, adaptability, and reliance on God.

TIP: A good Bible passage to read about surrendering to God’s ways is Philippians 2:5-8: Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

6) Seek out resources to help your child experience God’s presence and purpose in their own lives

Many times when I experience a dramatic change or difficult circumstance, I tend to forget that I cannot rely on my own strength. Our children can’t either, for that matter!

Thankfully, there are fantastic resources that can help each of us during any particular season of change:

Instruction of the Lord

God’s Word is our primary resource! If you have young children, get a good, solid children’s Bible (these are our favorites!) and read Bible stories of encouragement in hard times, like the story of Ruth and the account of Moses leading God’s people in the wilderness. Encourage your older children to develop their own quiet time so that their default response during future challenges is going to God’s Word.

Godly People as Examples

The apostle Paul went through persecution when he was on the mission field (read about part of his experience in 2 Corinthians 11: 23-30). Yet he still was about to proclaim to the Thessalonians to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He was an example of this in his own life: praying and praising God despite some of the most trying times you will read about in Scripture!

Friends and Family

It’s amazing how God brings people into our lives at just the right time to encourage us and give us hope when we are going through a hard time. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that many people walked alongside us with compassion when my mom was going through her cancer treatments. Help your child and your whole family seek out friends and family members who can offer advice, ideas for dealing with change, or simply a shoulder to cry on.

Professional Help

A counselor or therapist can play a vital role in helping young people (teens or younger children) cope with a major change. While we don’t always need this step in our adjustment process, it is a resource that we can tap into, provided it is with a counselor who is going to lead your child or you as a parent in a way that is consistent with Scriptural principles.

7) Pray for the Holy Spirit to come into your child’s life in a special way during times of change

This is similar to point four, but what I’m getting at here is praying privately for your child to experience a personal relationship with Jesus through their circumstance. While it may not seem like much from the outside, prayer is one of the best ways to have peace as you navigate times of transition or an incredibly difficult challenge with your child.

The Holy Spirit is the one who does the work in your child’s heart, through the word of God, to encourage them with the good news of the gospel and help them adapt to any big change that comes along. He will lead and guide them (and you!) every step of the way.

For us, we had to deal with some permanent change after my mom recovered from her cancer. She can’t come and visit us as often as before but we’re so very thankful for the chances we have to see her, the holiday celebrations, and the week each summer when my kids get to stay with Grandma and Grandpa.

God has shown His faithfulness, provided hope, and helped us navigate change in a way that gives us a stronger and more resolute faith. I pray the same can be true for you and your children as well!

Do you have a story of God’s faithfulness through change? I’d love to read it in the comments!

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