Whether you’re looking for biblical advice on parenting or tips for raising Godly children, these 10 tips on parenting will help you care and nurture your children in a way pleasing to God.
When my parenting ‘wisdom’ didn’t work out the way I had in mind, and I had to acknowledge my complete lack of patience and inner peace, I felt desperate. There were times I cried: “O Lord, I just can’t raise this child. I’m not fitted for this job!”
But just as God didn’t make a mistake when He made her, He didn’t make a mistake when He made me her mom. And just as I had to decide to trust God with her present and future, I had to decide to trust Him with mine.
I had to believe that, since He has given me this special, wonderful girl, He would also give me the strength and wisdom to guide and help her, now and in the future.
And in this process of learning to trust God more every day, I also got a deeper understanding of how He parents me, as his child.
These are some of the lessons that changed my perspective on parenting:
10 Biblical Advice on Parenting
1. Don’t be afraid to make sacrifices (God is a loving and giving Father)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son…” John 3:16.
God sacrificed his only begotten Son, the One that was near to his heart because He loved the world so much. And his Son, Jesus Christ, volunteered in this plan of Salvation: He chose to lay down his life because He shared his Father’s love for the world.
What do I want to sacrifice for my children? Am I willing to sacrifice what is near to my heart out of love for my children? And do I, like Jesus, have this mindset to lay down my own life for the ones I love? This makes a world of difference in how I approach my children throughout the day!
Of course, I love my children – don’t we all love our families? But do I make sure they feel it? Not just because I care for them, I dress them, I feed them – but do I show it by sacrificing my time for them, letting go of the things I like or planned to do, and giving them my undivided attention instead, whenever possible? I sure can do this so more often!
2. Build good relationships (God wants a relationship with His children)
“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26.
The Lord searches for our hearts and wants not only to talk to us through his Word and the Holy Spirit, but He also wants us to talk back to Him in prayer throughout the day. He draws us near to Him, so we can walk with Him and listen to Him, and He hears all our prayers, even the slightest sigh.
He invites us, again and again, to spend time with Him, with His Word, so we get to know Him, just like He knows us. And when we are close to Him, He can show us the way He wants us to go – the only way that leads to true peace and joy.
Do I search for the hearts of my children? Do I talk to them, or also with them? And do I only do things for them, or do I also do things with them? By listening to them while doing things together, I can get to know their hearts. I want to create an atmosphere that encourages them to open up to me about what’s going on in their lives, about their inner thoughts, about things that happened at school… In that way, our relationship grows deeper and stronger, and they become more willing to accept my guidance.
3. Teach them to obey (God desires obedience from the heart)
Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome: “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” Romans 6:17.
What is true obedience? Do we obey because we have to; because we are afraid of the consequences? Or do we obey from the heart?
God is Almighty. He could easily make us obey, even against our will – just like a master could force a slave he owns to obey him.
But that’s not what God desires from people He wants a relationship with! He wants us to obey from the heart, voluntarily, not forced or out of fear for consequences, but out of love for Him.
How do I approach the issue of obedience when it comes to my children? Do I force them to obey me by threats of punishment? When I focus on rewarding good behavior, and punishing unwanted behavior, how easy it is to overlook the issues of the heart!
And when they are having a hard time obeying me – perhaps I haven’t shown my love for them enough lately? Maybe they need more attention from me? Because it’s so much easier to obey from the heart when you feel loved and cherished by the person who asks you to do something. That said, find a way that works for you that teaches them to obey.
4. Encourage trust (God is trustworthy and faithful)
“But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” Matthew 5:37.
What God says, He does. What He promises, He delivers. He is faithful to His words, He is unshakable and consistent. That’s why I can trust Him fully with my life! That’s why I want to obey Him, even though I don’t always understand Him. This I know: He always has the best for me in mind. I can trust Him!
This teaches me so much, as a parent. I know I’m not infallible like God is. I sometimes say things in a hurry or without much thought, and then I have to reconsider my words afterward. When my children didn’t cooperate I sometimes resorted to empty threats: “If you don’t get in the car right now, I am leaving without you!”
I want to practice being more intentional with my words. To be trustworthy I need to be very consistent and keep my word. Then my children hopefully will also listen to me when I advise against something that might harm them – just because they know they can trust me and I have the best for them in mind.
5. Set Boundaries (God sets boundaries to protect us)
“Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee…” Deuteronomy 4:40.
God gave Israel the law and promised them his protection and blessing if the Israelites kept his commandments. And now, in the time of the new covenant, God writes his laws in the hearts of the believers.
These commandments are not given to make life difficult for us – they are boundaries that protect us from all the ugly consequences that will follow when we live in sin. They are meant to keep us safe.
As parents we also set boundaries for our children, to protect them from harm, physically and spiritually.
But is safety always my main focus? Or do I sometimes just say ‘no’ – not because something might harm them, but because it means more work for me? Because it doesn’t suit me if my child wants to do something?
Am I sure I give them enough space to breathe, to grow, to explore – or do I narrow the boundaries unnecessarily because I am overly worried, or tired, or maybe a bit legalistic by nature? Many power struggles can be avoided when I say ‘yes’ more often – even though it might mean there is more mess to clean up afterward.
6. Don’t be afraid to disciple (God disciplines us because He delights in us)
“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord, or loathe His reproof, For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12 (NASB).
God disciplines and corrects us. When He does point out the things that need to be changed in our lives, it hurts. It means we have to let go of things that are dear to us, things that might compromise our relationship with Him! It’s hard to acknowledge this and humble ourselves under His mighty hand. It’s painful to feel His judgment over our sin.
But I know as long as I voluntarily let Him condemn my sinful inclinations, and I agree with this condemnation, He is only judging the sin in me, not me as his child. God delights in me, and wants to set me free from everything that hinders my growth in godliness! This comforts me because I know: He began a good work in me and will carry it on to completion.
When I have to correct my children, I want to pray for wisdom, so that they know I don’t condemn them as a person! I love them and just want to help them see they have a human nature with sinful inclinations, that’s why they so desperately need a Savior. But disciplining your kids is key.
7. Be patient (God is patient and full of grace)
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” Psalm 103:8
When my child doesn’t obey right away, I feel frustration bubbling up. But when I think about how patient God has been with me, it softens my heart.
Of course, it’s best – for my own sake – to obey right away. When we don’t obey we often have to suffer the natural consequences of our poor choices. But God never struck me with lightning because I needed time to surrender to His will. He kept speaking to my heart though!
When you read about the history of Israel, God’s incredible patience is evident. Moses, directly spoken to by God from the burning bush, hesitated to obey God’s command to go to Pharaoh – he talked back!
Moses didn’t believe he got what it takes to be a prophet; he wasn’t a great public speaker.
God didn’t punish him for talking back. Yes, He rebuked him with words, but He also provided help, in the form of an assistant: his brother Aaron.
And later on, when Israel wandered through the desert, God showed his patience over and over and over.
They grumbled, they complained and they doubted Him, but He still gave them manna, led them to water, defeated their enemies, and showed them the way to the promised land.
Yes – in the end, most of the Israelites weren’t allowed to enter the promised land, but this was after He had given them many, many chances to put their trust in Him.
I don’t write this to argue that it’s okay to not obey God right away. That’s certainly not okay! I want to be quick to surrender to His will! But when it comes to my children, I should extend them the same grace I have received many times. I will encourage them to obey quickly, and gently train them in obedience, because it’s in their best interest.
However, I shouldn’t resort to punishment, when all they need is a little help to accomplish their task, for example.
8. Each child is unique (God goes his way with every child)
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
We all have different circumstances. We all have different trials. But for those who love the Lord, all things will work together for good: in all this, we will be transformed into the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.
There is no one-size-fits-all in how God treats us. And there is no one-size-fits-all in parenting. It wouldn’t be fair to treat all children the same way, to follow some sort of pattern or formula, or stick to a plan of ‘8 steps to discipline a child’ – because each child has its unique needs, possibilities, talents, and character traits. As a result, I cannot rely on certain ‘parenting tactics’ without seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
9. Don’t be biased (God is a righteous judge)
“And the heavens declare His righteousness, For God, Himself is the judge.” Psalm 50:6 (NASB)
God is the only one who knows our deepest thoughts and motives, and who can judge us according to our consciences, whether our thoughts accuse us or defend us. He knows all sides of every situation, and therefore He can give a truly righteous judgment.
As a parent, I want to strive to be righteous when it comes to handling issues with or between my children. I shouldn’t just end a fight between the kids by sending one of them to his room, without investigating what was going on.
At the same time, I have to admit that, unlike God, I don’t know everything. I’m not always in the same room as they are – I don’t know all sides of a situation. I can probably sense what’s going on inside a child, but I can’t see the heart as God does. That’s why I have to be very careful!
With my limited knowledge, I can easily misjudge a situation and perhaps blame a child for something he didn’t do. If that happens, I have to humble myself and ask my child for forgiveness.
10. Have hope for the future (God has plans to give us a future and a hope)
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)
These were God’s words for the Israelites who were exiled to Babylon. That was a dark time for Israel! But God spoke to them about a bright future. He gave them hope!
This verse tells me so much about God’s heart for his people, for the ones He loves. His heart is filled with plans to give his children a future and hope. Because He is full of hope for the future!
I want to always carry this hope in my heart. Even when my children misbehave, when they are going through hard times – even if they would stray away from the path of life. Someone once said to me: “If a mother doesn’t have hope for her child anymore – then who on earth does?”
No matter how dark the situation may seem, how many questions that may arise about their future (about her future, for example), I want to train myself in thinking hopeful thoughts about my children and their lives.
And – just as important – I want to speak these thoughts to my children, as prophetic words they can cling to: “It will go well with you! God loves you. He has begun a work in you. Stay close to Him and He will fill your life with peace and joy and happiness!”
Yes, I believe God has a plan for my children, a good plan, full of blessing, and an eternity filled with joy! And I am incredibly thankful He placed them in my life, to make me a witness of his plan with them, while He is still fulfilling his plans for my life. And I will surrender to Him, wholeheartedly, because I love Him and trust Him as my Father.