[Video at the End]
Parenting is not as complicated as some make it out to be. We don’t need to go chasing the latest parenting fad or so-called study into how we should raise our kids. We have everything we need in the Book God has given us-the Bible.
Now you might be thinking, “the Bible doesn’t say much about parenting,” and you’d be half right. The Bible gives little direct instruction on parenting, this is true. As a matter of fact, I can sum up all that the Bible directly teaches on parenting in just a few bullet points, which I will do in just a minute. However, the Bible is a book full of information on how we should treat people. And since our children are people too, we should treat them the same as we ought to treat anyone else, with a few exceptions, which I will explain. If we do that, along with following the Bible’s specific instructions on parenting, we have everything we need to know in order to raise good, godly children.
Now I do want to point out something very important. Your children are their own people. They are entrusted to your care for their childhood, but ultimately they are their own people who have to make their own choices. The way you raise them will make it either easier or more difficult for them in life, but ultimately they must make their own decisions. There are plenty of examples of wonderful parents who had children that made terrible choices, and, likewise, terrible parents who had children that made good choices. Just because a child makes bad decisions as they get older is no indication that the parent was a bad parent. When a person becomes an adult, they are responsible for their own choices, no matter what kind of upbringing they had.
With that being said, we, of course, want to provide the best upbringing we possibly can for our children. So let’s look at what the Bible teaches us regarding parenthood.
I can sum up everything the Bible teaches about raising children in four bullet points.
- Love your children
- Teach your children
- Spank your children
- Don’t provoke your children to anger
That’s it. If you can follow these four points, you’ll do fine as a parent.
Now, I do want to elaborate briefly on each of these points. So let’s look at the first one:
1 – Love your children
The Bible doesn’t specifically say to love your children, but it does say to love your neighbor as yourself. And since the word neighbor means a person near you, your children would certainly apply. However, it must be stated that the word ‘love’ here is not the word that means to have warm feelings or affection for someone. We don’t directly control our feelings and none of God’s commandments are a command to feel a certain way. Instead, the command to love another is to be understood as a command to care for the well-being of another. This is important to understand, because sometimes in life, the most loving thing to do is something that doesn’t feel the best. Spanking is a great example of this. No sane parent likes to spank their kids, nor does any sane child enjoy spankings. But we do it because we love the child and we know it’s the best thing for the child. Don’t be fooled by the world and their bogus studies. Spankings are important and the Bible warns us not to spare the rod.
“He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”– Proverbs 13:24
The second point is this:
2 – Teach your children.
We see this in both the New and Old Testaments. Eph 6:4 says this:
“Bring [your children] up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.”– Eph 6:4
And in Duet, Moses’ commanded the people to teach their children the commandments of the Lord diligently, saying, “You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. “Deut 11:19
If you desire to raise good and godly children, you will need to make it a priority to teach them the Word of God. You will also need to teach them many other things in life, like how to brush your teeth, clean between your toes, cook, clean, etc. . And many of the things your children will learn from your example, so it’s important that you not only teach but also personally practice all that you teach. In this way, your children will learn by instruction and by example.
You should regularly be reading the Word of God with them. You should regularly be speaking to them instruction, rebuke, and encouragement. the Bible seems to indicate throughout these verses that teaching should be a part of all that you do. This doesn’t mean that absolutely everything you do should be a learning experience, but it should be more so than not.
3 – Spank your children
Now, if you remember, I said at the beginning of this video that you are to treat your children just as you would anyone else, with a few exceptions. I want to talk about those exceptions and why they exist.
Sometimes I hear from critics regarding spankings that you shouldn’t spank a child because you wouldn’t spank someone else that you disagree with. And they are half right. If I disagree or disapprove of what a person on the street, or at work, or at church, or even another child, I wouldn’t think of spanking them. Why then is it ok to spank my own child?
It’s kind of sad that I have to explain this, but I will anyway: You are entrusted and obligated to exercise authority over your children. This is the unique relationship that you have with your children and with nobody else. With no one else are you required by God and law to feed and clothe and shelter and teach. Only your children. You don’t have the authority to tell other people to brush their teeth or to eat their vegetables or to take a bath. But you do have the God-given authority to tell your own children to do these things. And because you have the God-given authority to take care of your children, you also have the God-given authority and mandate to spank your children when necessary. As the Bible says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child, for if you beat him with the rod, he shall not die, you shall beat him with the rod and shall deliver his soul from hell.’ – Proverbs 23:13-14
And don’t let the world guilt trip you about this. The world is going to try to make you feel like a monster because you spank your kids. But the truth is, that if you are a reasonable person who loves their children, like most people are, then you’re not going to abuse your kids. You’re going to be careful to spank them in a way that is moderate, yet effective. (For more info on that, see my video, How to spank your kids the right way.) There are also people who are going to try to convince you that this study or that study shows that spankings are either harmful or ineffective. It’s all baloney. Parenting is more than just spanking or not spanking, and no study can take into account all the variables that occur in each household. All you have to use is common sense: If you are a parent that truly loves and cares for your children, then spankings are not going to do any harm. But if you’re a ridiculous, selfish, and angry person, then yes, your spankings will probably add to the pile of problems you inflict on your child. I know scores of people that were spanked as children and they are wonderful and successful people who have great relationships with their parents. But I also know a few people who had abusive parents. It’s not hard to tell the difference.
But the main reason I write about these things is because I see good people who love their kids and are frustrated because their children aren’t listening. Yet they are afraid to spank their kids because they think they are going to hurt them or break their spirits. This is not the case, and that will bring me to my next point:
4 – Don’t provoke your children to anger.
Besides teaching and spanking your children, there is only one other command that the Bible specifically gives to parents. And it is this: Do not provoke your children to anger.
We see this command in two places:
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”– Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they be discouraged.Colossians 3:21
This parental command is very important. We should not provoke our children to anger. Another way this is translated is that we should not exasperate our children. Why? Because the Bible says that they will be DISCOURAGED. Or this word can also be translated as broken in spirit.
The last thing in the world that we want to do is break a child’s spirit. This is why so many people are against spankings entirely. They think spankings will break a child’s spirit. They have a valid concern, but a misguided solution. By ceasing to spank entirely, they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They are driving from one ditch into another ditch on the other side of the road. The solution is not to go to another ditch, but to understand that there are extremes and evils in both direction and to be aware and cautious of this. We do this every day when we drive around with precious cargo in our automobiles, there’s no reason we cannot do this when it comes to raising children.
So how can we make sure that we don’t exasperate our children? I give good tips on how to do this in my video I made called, “How to spank your kids the right way.” Make sure you watch that video if you haven’t yet. But in a nutshell, we just need to be fair and sober minded when disciplining our kids. Don’t be overbearing. Don’t be a jerk. If you’re not sure about your actions towards your kids, ask you wife or husband, or ask a trusted friend or pastor.
So there you go, everything you need to know about being a parent. Does this mean you’ll do everything right? No. Does this mean you’ll never second guess yourself? No. Does this mean you’ll never have questions? No. But it absolutely is everything you need to guide you in your quest as a parent. With the Bible in your hand and the Holy Spirit in your heart, you can be confident that you are doing the right thing with your children.