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?