In the face of the fear of growing up, we can help to bring hope, excitement, and victory back into our kids’ lives. God’s word is full of wisdom, and we must not take it for granted.
Growing up is a part of life. It’s a progression and yet, kids find themselves afraid of the very thing they desire—freedom. I’ve asked adults and older kids what they fear the most about growing up. And I concluded there are two things we all have in common—the fear of failure and insecurities.
These days most kids I’ve talked to who are entering their senior year in high school are concerned because they don’t feel equipped for adulthood.
Furthermore, once they graduate high school, many don’t have a good direction of what they want in their lives. And it’s alarming that they stay in this mindset longer than they should.
Understanding the Fear of Growing Up
Since I didn’t go to college immediately after high school, I moved out when I was 18 years old and found a job. I couldn’t allow myself to stay at home comfortably while I figured out my life. So, I resisted the temptation to stay home. Little did I know that getting a job at a bank was going to turn into a career.
The expectation was to be independent and self‐sufficient—to be responsible was admirable and I wanted to prove to my family that I could take care of myself. I remember thinking that failure was not an option. Was I afraid of failing? Did I feel insecure? Absolutely! More times than I’m willing to admit.
However, I wanted to persevere and become self‐sufficient and independent. I wasn’t the only one who had this kind of mindset. My friends did the same thing. Either they went to college, or they moved out and got a full‐time job to support themselves.
I am certain they were afraid too, but the fear didn’t cripple us—it motivated us. Unfortunately, our kids today often struggle with motivation. Rather, they feel hopeless or defeated, and this fuels the fear of growing up.
What Fuels the Fear of Growing Up?
“Is it Worth It?”
My 22‐year‐old son is in college and works part‐time. One day he asked me, “Mom, what if my hard work doesn’t pay off and I fail?” Naturally, when things feel extremely tough and we want to give up because we are not seeing the immediate benefit of our hard work, doubt enters our mind. We begin to question if this is even worth it.
Fortunately, my son experienced challenges in his childhood. This allowed me to remind him of other times in his life when things were tough. He didn’t give up then, and he was able to experience victory. This motivated him to keep on going and to persevere.
If we make things too easy for our kids while they are young, we rob them of the opportunity to develop character and integrity. I’m reminded of Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap, if we do not give up.” Sometimes it takes a while for us to enjoy the fruit of our labor.
Fear of Being Alone
It’s interesting that as much as we are connected to people in different parts of the world, we are more afraid of being alone today. Our kids have so many friends and followers on their social media accounts, yet they feel lonely. Unfortunately, this contributes to their fear of growing up.
Could it be that our society has focused more on the quantity rather than the quality of our relationships? I believe it’s important to teach our kids authenticity and the difference between friends, family, and acquaintances. This allows them to effectively guard their hearts.
We need to ask God to give our kids discernment and wisdom. It is a good idea for us to ask God for the same things as well. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Kids frown upon being alone. In their minds, a sign of acceptance is having many friends or being in a dating relationship.
Instead, we know it is in our alone time that we learn about ourselves. Alone with God and meditating on His words allow us to connect with Him. We need to remind our kids of this and to explain this to them. Of course, the best way we can teach our kids this is to live it ourselves.
Preparing our Kids to Confront the Fear of Growing Up
Below are some of the ways we can prepare our kids for the path that God has in their lives, especially when they fear growing of up.
Suffering can be good. Allow our kids to suffer the consequences of their actions. We can’t always save them from the pain of bad choices. The consequences are smaller in their younger years. Over time they will learn that for every decision they make there is a consequence—good or bad.
As they grow up, they will learn to think before they act and hopefully make better choices or hopefully avoid negative consequences that last a lifetime. Romans 5:3‐4 says that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
Basic life skills. We need to teach our kids decision‐making, problem‐solving, and coping with stress. These are learned over time. These skills are critical because we know as adults that we use them daily. I can understand the fear if they don’t have these skill sets.
Practicality, this looks like allowing them to process their thoughts so they can learn how to solve a problem. We guide them through it and explain why this decision is better than the other. Next, we help them discern the difference between what they are feeling and what is the truth. Ultimately, we teach them how to have emotional intelligence.
It is equally important that we teach them how to manage their money and to give to others in need. Additionally, many people don’t have a budget; therefore, they don’t know what is coming in and how much is going out. Without a budget, we can find ourselves in a place we didn’t intend to be which can lead to unnecessary stress or the fear of growing up.
Remind our kids that they are created for God’s purpose. They’re not here to impress the world or others. Whatever you are doing, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23‐24). When we fully understand this passage, the burden of trying to meet everyone’s expectations is lifted, because we know we only need to please God.
In the face of the fear of growing up, we can help to bring hope, excitement, and victory back into our kids’ lives. God’s word is full of wisdom, and we must not take it for granted. It is there for us to share with our kids so they can see that the God we worship is bigger than our fears and challenges. We don’t walk alone in this world when we surrender our lives to Him—He is our guide when we belong to Him.
© 2022 Maria Miller, Used by Permission. All rights reserved
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