Skip to Content

How to Talk to Your Kids About Hard Things




From early on in our parenting journey, my husband and I have chosen to view life with our children as one long ongoing conversation where many topics are discussed repeatedly throughout life.

The language changes as they mature and become capable of more information regarding a particular topic, but the goal remains the same – to help them see all of life anchored in Scripture and Jesus Christ. 

Many conversations come with ease, while others can feel a bit daunting. Like how to talk to your kids about hard things. Inevitably, life will expose our children to difficult seasons and topics of discussion. Whether they experience it firsthand or see it in the lives of those around them, they are bound to bump up against hard stuff in life.

With that being true, how do we help our children understand the reality of hard things and use every opportunity to prepare, encourage, and equip them? Here are ten things to keep in mind: 


  1. Pray! Ask God regularly for the wisdom needed to teach and guide your children. If we lack wisdom, He says ask and He’ll give generously! (James 4)
  2. You don’t have to wait for the hard thing to happen to begin to deposit truths that can give your children wisdom and a leg up in life. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
  3. Listen well and ask questions to bring understanding and help create a safe space for kids to talk and share what’s on their hearts. Open mouth, open heart. No topic is off-limits! 
  4. Be mindful of how you respond to what a child shares. Stay calm, hear them out, and ask more questions. This keeps the space safe and open for ongoing discussion. Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry. (James 1:19-20)
  5. If you don’t have a response, be honest about that. Commit to coming back with some thoughts another time. Pray, research, or talk to others who can help bring clarity to the topic and be sure to follow up with your child.
  6. Not every conversation needs to lead to a “fixed it” moment. Sometimes our kids just need to be heard along with some comfort and reassurance. We can go deeper another time.
  7. Be careful not to shield your children extensively from hard things—especially as they enter their teen years and become more aware of what’s happening in the world around them. It is okay for them to know that life is full of good, but there is also evil in our world. Draw from Genesis 3 and Ephesians 6:10-20 to bring clarity to the reality of an adversary along with a perfect blueprint for how to withstand evil, and remain standing, even in hard situations. They have everything they need in Jesus to stand firm. In that truth, there is wisdom to be gained, potential for growth, and room for character development. The right knowledge can be power in the form of protection. 
  8. Weave biblical stories and truths that directly relate to the discussion into conversation, prayers, or moments around the dinner table. God promises that His Word will go out and not return void. (Isaiah 55:11) So even as you speak it in prayer and incorporate truth into your responses – it’s still the Word of God and it will do as God intends. Let the seeds fall and the Holy Spirit will take it from there! 
  9. Avoid trying to convince your kids that they must agree with what you’re saying at that moment. This is a journey. If they have questions or doubts, give space for that. Encourage your children to take it upon themselves to pray, journal, search Scripture, or talk to a trusted mentor, that is not mom and dad, but who shares your beliefs. And keep checking in from time to time to revisit anything left open-ended. 
  10. Pray with your children about the things that are on their hearts and minds.


Keep in mind that there is not always a neat bow to tie on every story or every conversation. This is where we anchor our hope in a faithful, trustworthy Savior who will redeem all things in the end. He is victorious over death and sin and promises to enable us to walk as overcomers in this life. There is good to be gleaned from the hard things in life and we can always count on Jesus to come through for us.

Without question, our children will receive information from somewhere or someone. What an incredible privilege and responsibility as a parent to be the voice that is continually speaking, guiding, and inspiring our children as to Who to look to for all seasons of life. Reassuring our kids that we are always there for them, but continually pointing them to God as the ultimate source of understanding, wisdom, and comfort helps set them up with strength and courage in the present and the future. From the time they are little – into their teen years and beyond – we have ample opportunity to do just that! 

Wherever you are in the journey, just begin or keep going! To help our children gain wisdom and understanding through Scripture for all of life’s moments is one of the greatest gifts and legacies we can give them. 

Share Article

Article Topics

Scripture References

  • James 4
  • Deuteronomy 6:4-9
  • James 1:19-20
  • Genesis 3
  • Ephesians 6:10-20
  • Isaiah 55:11
Susan Marks Susan Marks is on staff at Passion City Church and serves as the Ministry Lead for Flourish, a mentoring program for women rooted in Scripture. Susan is married to Kevin and together have four adult children. Susan and Kevin can often be found adventuring in the mountains, and always love sharing a great meal with friends!