Here are 25 things the Bible says about raising children, discipline, and parenting.
The classic parenting verses are here, as well as a few unusual (not-often-quoted) portions that include direction and insight about how God sees children, parenting, and discipline.
One of the things I considered as I read through these verses is that a lot of modern controversy centers on spanking. People bandy back and forth about whether or not it means a literal rod, what age children it means, and whether or not spanking is effective and good, or terrible and abusive. And, ya know, that makes sense, since there are a number of passages about physical discipline here.
Reading these verses all together like this puts spanking, in the context of a guiding, loving relationship. It is described as a loving, deliberate, measured decision on the part of a parent to physically chasten a child who is foolish in order to teach wisdom. Ultimately, when done promptly, in faith, (not in anger, vindication, fury, retribution, annoyance) Scripture indicates that this loving action can “save his soul” from Sheol– Hell (the eternal destination for a fool who thinks there is no God and acknowledges no other authority in his life outside of himself).
However, this was more interesting to me as I looked at these verses– given the way modern parents talk about:
- being disrespected by their kids
- how their kids never want to be around them
- the way their kids’ peers wield greater influence in their lives than they do
I believe it could cause far more controversy if people thought through how seriously God takes the teaching of children, and the assumption of family togetherness and parental influence.
In America, tragically, it is now thought normative for parents to spend possibly as little as 8-15 hours in each other’s presence over the course of a school week. Moreover, much of that time is task-driven: getting homework finished, driving to practice, doing baths before bedtime, making meals, and the like, and almost all is dominated by the use of devices and screens.
Even in Christian homes, the culture is profoundly influencing our choices of how we spend our time.
But here, the parent-child relationship is one of overarching influence and time-intensive interaction– observing, teaching, correction, encouragement, loving care expressed through togetherness, affection, diligent discipline, and instruction.
That’s the thing that stuck out and encouraged me as I let these Scriptures wash over my heart today. As a mom, God has given me tremendous influence in the hearts and lives of our children and I don’t want to grow weary in these areas. What about you?
13 thoughts on “25 Things The Bible Says About Parenting”
I think one of the main things for our family was the time spent with our children, which was just about all the time. We homeschooled, did ministry together, and lived very closely together. We remodeled our house together while living in it, and we took the opportunities that came up to share our hearts with our kids. I believe time and involvement are two important keys to influencing children for God. Loved your post!
Good input, Lou Ann! Your encouragement really hits a good spot for me today. I’m tired. Talked out. Already a bit weary, and it’s only 8:36 AM.
It can be so tiring to feel like you’re always “on”… but this is life-on-life discipleship God means to happen in the close daily relationships of family. And it’s not just for them– it’s for ME… so that the changes He means to work in me are thoroughly changed in my heart, not just on the surface when everything is going along smoothly & the way I’d like.
Thanks for sharing on Pinterest, too. 🙂
I love that you posted all these Scriptures! It’s neat to see these parenting passages all together in one place so thank you. 🙂
I agree that what stands out is the parents’ opportunity to influence their children. Parents are to disciple their children and it’s a daily lifestyle. This includes discipline, nurturing, and teaching actual doctrine verbally and often and through how we ourselves live. In our culture it’s considered abnormal for children to be more homebound and not involved in all sorts of activities all the time but Biblically that sounds like the norm. I feel like everybody in the family is expected to be doing their own thing all the time but we can be involved in things together as a family. Sometimes when my dh is doing a side job fixing a computer, he shows the kids what he’s doing and lets them help a little or when he builds something. I have opportunity to teach kids to cook and eventually sewing and crocheting. Discipleship from being together is a huge reason we homeschool. :). And I love what you said in the previous comment about this lifestyle being not just for the kids but for us as well. Being with my kids so much forces me face to face with my spiritual shortcomings on a daily basis and it’s painful but necessary.
Glad to hear it was helpful for you, Dana.
Yes… the DAILYNESS of it is what’s so evident here.
And this is the absolute truth:
In our culture it’s considered abnormal for children to be more homebound and not involved in all sorts of activities all the time
Thanks for speaking up. As moms, we have the opportunity to see these problems in what our culture recommends, and intentionally choose something different for our family. It’s not easy to go against the grain… there is definitely the “FOMO” factor (fear of missing out… on activities, skills, scholarships, relationship-building, connections in community, etc.), but the biblical picture of family is not one of constant-activity that relentlessly consumes every moment without leaving room for rest and true connection.
Thanks for adding your thoughts!
p.s. togetherness is one of our primary reasons for homeschooling as well… I want to make the most of these years of influence.
these scriptures are a sure reminder of what i am doing right with my children. I don’t home school my children for my own personal reasons, but every opportunity I get, I try to make it a teachable moment. I feel that my kids ages 6, 8 and 13 continue to grow in their independency because of the way I parent them. As far as my husband goes, he more so is opposite of what I do with them and constantly wants to carry 2 out of the 3 children when it comes to looking for lost things or doing their chores or school work. A lot of times when we are home together they look to their father to “rescue” them. I always look like the bad guy and he the good dad. it’s hard because i know that i am not hurting them, but instead teaching them in offering my assistance or having them watch me preform a chore or something i have asked them to do, or we do it together. their father and i disagree on many things and it hurts our family, and sometimes i just don’t know what to do.
That’s tough, Gina. I know you’re wanting to do right by your children and not have things go poorly for them.
Getting on the same page with our husbands is more important, I believe, than the exact methods by which we parent. The longer it goes on, the more the divide grows and the more we are setting up our kids for poor habits in their own (future) marriages/relationships. By stepping in between our husbands’ leadership (and sometimes, lack thereof) and the consequences/results of the ways that they are trying to lead our family, we are actually declaring independence and pride in our own wisdom/ways. Now,
I’m NOT saying that our husbands are infallible. What I’m saying is that when we disallow their ideas to go forward, and get whatever consequences/results they would get, we’re actually messing up a primary way that our husbands could learn and grow in wisdom in how they lead our families. The other piece of this is that when we stop communicating to get on the same page with them, we are declaring that our independence and self-confidence in our own parenting supersedes our relationship and oneness with our husbands.
The biggest thing I would encourage you to do is to get on board with your husband. Work to communicate fully with him alone. Refuse to talk badly about him to the children, or imply that your way is “better.” Refuse to work separately from your husband. Do everything in your power to work together, in a unified way, with him. As much as you conscience can possibly do, work to support his ideas and go along with what he is saying… striving to communicate with him your wisdom/input on things where you feel there could be a better way.
I suspect what would happen, if you stopped stepping in to “correct/make up for” the weaknesses you see in the way your husband is moving, is that the kids could suffer in small/real ways, for a time, and he could begin to see the outplay of the consequences you fear will come from his way of doing things. But right now, by being in the middle of it all, I think you are preventing your husband from seeing the very things you want him to see. And by correcting the weaknesses, you’re teaching the kids that you don’t respect and are not unified with their father.
I’m sorry you’re in a tough spot, and not sure this input will hit the right “spot” or strike the right tone, but I did want to respond and offer this perspective as a potential method of working through these things, so that you could get on the same page with your husband.
Good stuff! Do you offer this in a printable? I’d love to put it in my daily binder as a reminder!!
I should. If I knew how to do it in a way that would be appealing to moms, I would do it. Maybe I need to learn…. 🙂
I too would prefer a printable. I am not great at reading anything of substance that is more than a few lines on the computer. I need a piece of paper.
I know this is an old post, but I just saw it on Pinterest. It is amazing to me that as a society we think it’s ok to be separated all day from a child as young as 6 weeks old. I know stay at home moms who put their kids in preschool at 18 months old so they could be “socialized”. Any homeschool parent knows that is unnecessary. I think whether kids go to school or are educated at home they need to have their parents’ attention and discipline. I also think they need plenty of unstructured time to figure out how to entertain themselves and work out disputes that arise. Shipping kids from school to after care to evening and weekend activities to holiday breaks with one screen or another available to entertain them in between is not doing our society any favors.
Great observations, Daphne. Especially this:
“whether kids go to school or are educated at home they need to have their parents’ attention and discipline.”
TOTALLY agree. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for your comments to “Gina”. I feel like I am in a similar situation as she is with the husband. You have given me a new way to look at what I consider to be short ings as a father /parent for my husband. I have always known that my struggles are Gods way of teaching me to be more like Him.
I don’t know why it never occurred to me that my husbands shortcomings are his struggles. Gods way of wanting to teach him. I have totally overlooked this simple fact. Time to start doing things a bit different. Thank you for sharing this insight!
Wonderful; glad it was a helpful idea for you!