Are you looking for wise practical parenting advice – something Divinely inspired? Do you want to equip your children to worship God and live fruitful lives for Him? Here are 12 tips and texts from the Old Testament book of Proverbs that will help you parent your child God’s way:
Start with God.
Your most important role as a parent is facilitating your child’s relationship with God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” Proverbs 1:7 (NIV).
Honour God’s Word.
It’s your responsibility (not a teacher or pastor) to equip your child to engage with God’s Word and develop a biblical worldview.
“Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded” Proverbs 13:13 (ESV).
Set a good example.
Your actions and attitudes speak louder than your words. Mirror God’s love for children. Be careful, considerate and consistent with what you say and do.
“The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them” Proverbs 20:7 (NIV).
Encourage upright behaviour.
Bad behaviour will not change if it’s not corrected diligently. Consistently reinforce a child’s good attitude and right actions.
“Young people eventually reveal by their actions if their motives are on the up and up” Proverbs 20:11 (MSG).
Discipline with love.
God-directed, biblically informed discipline is a symbol of love. Correct your child’s misbehaviour, and don’t delegate their discipline to others.
“If you don’t correct your children, you don’t love them. If you love them, you will be quick to discipline them” Proverbs 13:24 (ERV).
Sexual immorality, drug abuse, alcohol misuse, and other sins can extinguish a child’s love for the Lord. Clearly and unambiguously teach your child that licentious living is self-destructive and soul-destroying.
“He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself” Proverbs 6:32 (ESV).
Self-control is the act of postponing immediate desires or pleasures in favour of a more significant purpose. Help your child learn restraint and the discipline of saying “no” to things that are not good, right, true and pleasing to the Lord (Ephesians 5:5-14).
“Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich” Proverbs 21:17 (NLT).
Establish a good work ethic.
Teach your child how to seize the day – to use every opportunity to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.
“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense” Proverbs 12:11 (NLT).
Don’t be indulgent.
If you fail to guide your child in the right direction, the result could be disastrous. Don’t allow or tolerate a spirit of entitlement.
“Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them.” Proverbs 19:18 (MSG).
Respect and value people in the margins; treat everyone with dignity and grace. Display generosity and inspire your child to emulate your example.
“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honours him” Proverbs 14:31 (ESV).
Help them choose friends thoughtfully.
Advise your child about the importance and value of beneficial friendships. Help your child connect and foster relationships with Christians of all ages.
“Be friends with those who are wise, and you will become wise. Choose fools to be your friends, and you will have trouble” Proverbs 13:20 (ERV)
Dedicate your children to God.
Ultimately, God wants parents to set aside their children to love and live for Him. Do everything you can meaningfully do to get your children to collide with Jesus.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6 (NIV).
The book of Proverbs has much more to say about how parents should raise their children and run their homes. As you parent, aim to “walk with integrity” (Proverbs 20:7), “trust in the Lord with all your heart, not depend on your own understanding, seek his will in all you do” (Proverbs 3:5-6), and patiently and persistently correct your child when they stray, disobey or drift from God’s way (Proverbs 22:15).
What other proverbs provide parenting advice? Please add your suggestions in the comments.
© Scripture Union, 2023