What Does the Bible Say about Disciplining Your Children?


The Bible has a lot to say about how we teach, train, and discipline our children. The subject of disciplining properly is found throughout scripture and primarily involves teaching, instructing and applying appropriate discipline. Our culture seems to embrace the concept that we should focus more on our children’s feelings and self-esteem than on character building. The irony is that this kind of approach does not create responsibility or positive mental and emotional health when they become adults, but rather makes it more difficult for them to be a mature, well-adjusted adult. Biblical discipline corrects a child, instructs him or her in the way to live, and provides the positive outcome of wisdom. The purpose of all discipline is to teach.  

A parent receives his or her moral authority from God. The best way to teach your children how to live is to begin with your relationship with God. What you believe about God and how you participate in the local church impacts them more than anything else you do. Scripture emphasizes teaching and instructing. You can discipline without instructing properly. We have all seen this happen. We teach our children with our own lives, by our own example, and by pointing them to a relationship with Christ. While you can’t force your children to have a relationship with Jesus, you can create a positive environment that makes a relationship with Him a normal part of life. Being faithful and completely involved in the life of the church is a critical component of teaching and instructing. It is impossible to impart to them something you don’t have yourself.

Consider the following verses about instruction and discipline:

Proverbs 1:8 My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. (NLT)

Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your children and they will give you happiness and peace of mind. (NLT)

 Proverbs 22:15 A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away. (NLT)

 Proverbs 13:24 If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don't love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them. (NLT)

Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your children while they are young enough to learn. If you don’t, you are helping them to destroy themselves. (GN)

 Proverbs 23:13-14 Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death. (NLT)

 Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. (NLT)


Here are a few biblical tips on discipline that will help you know what to do:

·      There is a wrong way and a right way to discipline. Never discipline in anger.

·      Discipline and instruction are biblically-mandated and go hand-in-hand.

·      The purpose of discipline is to produce responsibility.

·      Spiritual involvement bolsters discipline. The root word of discipline is disciple. You are to make disciples of Jesus.

·      Don’t ever compare your children to each other.

·      Prioritize the most important and build margin into your life and schedule.

·      Say yes whenever possible. Be positive. Affirm often.

·      Don’t be manipulated by your children’s attitudes. They are kids and you are the adult!

·      Draw clear lines and be consistent.

·      Praise character, hard work, responsibility, and accomplishment rather than beauty, talent, or ego.

·      Partner with the church.

·      Start early.

·      Foster respect and responsibility.

·      When it is over drop it.

·      Speak blessings over them. Your words matter and faith-filled words are essential.

·      Laugh as much as possible.

There are challenges involved with raising a child. Do not despair or lose hope about the culture in which we live. God has promised to be with you and help you. He has given an instruction manual – the Bible - that will guide you to the end of your journey and will empower you to raise champions for His glory.

If you would like to read more about discipline and find a helpful tool to assist you, then you can pick up a copy of my book entitled “Spoiled Rotten: Loving Your Kids Without Indulging Them” or “Marriage In The Nude: A Man’s Guide to Love and Grace.”